10/27/16 Update from the Bitches: This restaurant is now closed.
Since moving to New York, I’ve made an effort to get out and explore the city as much as possible. It’s easy to settle into a routine with so many brunch locales right in the neighborhood. This is why I was thrilled to venture up to Washington Heights when Rusty Mackerel invited us for brunch on the house.
The farthest north I’ve been in New York was a disastrous trip to return my U-Haul in the Bronx and a more rewarding trip to stuff my face at the legendary Dinosaur Bar-B-Que location in Harlem. This was my first time in Washington Heights and I was impressed with the quaint neighborhood feel. The quiet streets and family-friendly atmosphere made me forget that I was in Manhattan.
We moseyed out of the 181st Street subway and headed up the Hill, a short walk to Rusty Mackerel. We were greeted by a friendly server and immediately ushered to a cozy table right next to the floor to ceiling windows. The ambiance was warm and inviting, and we were instantly relaxed by the mellow James Taylor playlist. The rounds of tart grapefruit mimosas didn’t hurt either.
The restaurant was small, but filled up quickly with jovial locals wielding strollers. We were quickly served coffee, which was bottomless and included almond milk—points in my book!
Rusty Mackerel’s brunch menu features a variety of New American menu items, so Andrea and I picked a few to share. First up was the Scotch egg. The presentation was simple, tasteful, and equally delicious. The egg was served with fluffy pita and a zippy tomato sauce, which gave the perfect amount of spice to the entrée.
Per our server’s recommendation, we moved on to the steak and eggs. This dish was straightforward and classic. We appreciated the pre-cut steak, which made it easier to split between two gals, but our one qualm was the fattiness of the steak.
We concluded our meal with the polenta pancakes served with whipped Mascarpone, strawberries, and fresh basil. The generous dollop of Mascarpone kept the pancakes moist; there’s nothing worse than a dry dessert. This successfully satisfied my ever-present sweet tooth and we cleaned the plate.
We lingered at Rusty Mackerel for another round of grapefruit mimosas and had the opportunity to chat with Chef James “Mac” Moran. Mac was passionate about his unique culinary point of view and is excited to bring his concept to the neighborhood that he grew up in. In fact, Rusty Mackerel is located a mere 100 feet away from where he began his career in the restaurant industry.
The Bitches say: A-. We felt right at home at this neighborhood spot with warm service and satisfying dishes.
209 Pinehurst Ave.
New York, NY 10033
Rusty Mackerel serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.