As part of my “welcome back” tour to New York after a few months in Asia, I’ve been plowing through my local restaurant hit list while catching up with friends. I planned a much-needed gab session with my friend Austen, a sorority sister and my beloved cohort while living in D.C. post-college, and her boyfriend Mike nearby their apartment in Williamsburg.
It was one of the first sunny days of spring in the city so my boyfriend Robert and I enjoyed a workout at syncstudio and a leisurely outdoor coffee nearby at Lion’s Milk before meeting them at Roebling Tea Room. I was immediately impressed by the restaurant’s rustic accents, expansive windows, and inviting wooden tables. The eatery’s décor was well curated, but not overdone, giving it a laid-back, neighborhood feel.
We forwent the option to dine outdoors in the covered back patio since the interior was livelier, but we made mental notes to return for cocktails out back during the summer months.
Back when Austen and I were roommates in D.C., cocktails during brunch were mandatory and a cheap bottomless deal was the most important criteria so we had a laugh at our newfound “adultness” when she stuck to coffee and I went with water. Robert and Michael followed suit.
Throughout the meal, service was prompt and friendly. Robert and I are embarking on a one-month vegetarian, alcohol free detox post-Asia so we appreciated our server’s honest menu recommendations as a fellow vegetarian. She spoke highly of the veggie burger, but ultimately we landed on the power bowl and the beets & eggs.
The power bowl immediately caught my eye on the menu so I happily stole a few bites from Robert. The bowl was chock-full of vegetarian goodness with a superfood ingredient buzzlist including kale, asparagus, barley, and alfalfa sprouts. Unfortunately, the dish I was most excited to try was the biggest let down. Despite the combination of many of my favorite veggies, the compiled dish was a bit bland and disappointing. We heightened the flavor with some hot sauce, but I was hoping that the all-star ingredients in this dish would stand alone.
Luckily, my main dish was more on par with my high expectations. My eggs were cooked perfectly and the yolks oozed onto the generous serving of diced crispy potatoes, beets, and goat cheese. Everything is better with goat cheese. I loved the unexpected element of beets, a rarity on a brunch menu, especially its natural sweet addition to this savory entrée.
Mike enjoyed his bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a sourdough bun. The portion was hearty and satisfying, but he found the apple slices served alongside the sammy a bit odd. We joked that it reminded us all of the “healthy choice” Happy Meal at McDonald’s … all he was missing was a carton of milk. To their credit, the apple slices were crisp and refreshing, it just seemed slightly out of place and may have been better served with some home fries or hash browns.
I was glad that Austen ordered the baked cheddar eggs so I could try this dish too. She remarked that her eggs were cooked perfectly, and she loved the gooey, warm cheese, but the most memorable part of this dish was the sides. She easily polished off the ramekin of grits and loved the thick-cut raisin fennel toast with apple butter, an inventive take on the typical side of toast.
We leisurely finished our meals and coffee as we caught up on the last few months’ worth of news. Our friendly servers made us feel comfortable to linger, which we took full advantage of until we meandered back towards the East River.
The Bitches say: B+. We loved the warm, homey vibe at Roebling Tea Room and its equally comforting American fare. We appreciated unique, relatively healthy menu choices, but thought some dishes could have used a touch more flavor.
Roebling Tea Room serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 10 a.m.