“People who like to eat are always the best people.” Julia Childs perfectly summarizes one the reasons I have a blast with Molly, one of my best gals here in NYC. I’ve previously described some of the gastronomic adventures that we’ve embarked on together and now that her boyfriend Marshall resides in Williamsburg, we have a whole new geography of bucket list eats.
We had planned a double date in Billyburg and immediately starting researching brunch locales. Rye was included in most of the must-try lists and had a reservation available at noon, on Easter Sunday no less, so we were sold.
Andrew and I were a little tardy to the party (blame the weekend L service!), but Molly and Marshall were already seated and reviewing the menu over iced coffees. The quaint, rustic restaurant was surprisingly empty, but filled with large parties dressed in their Sunday best throughout the course of our meal.
Like practically anywhere “cool” in Williamsburg, the ambiance had a neighborhood feel with a hint of old-time nostalgia, perhaps drawing inspiration from the Prohibition era. Dapper waiters and craft cocktails with obscure ingredients like absinthe rinses and house-made celery bitters enhanced the vibe.
We were all feeling a little bit rough from the weekend so we eagerly accepted our friendly server’s offer of a brunch cocktail round. Molly sampled the classic Bloody Mary, the guys tried the Michelada, and I aggressively dove into the Corpse Reviver, which I found similar to a French 75. The drinks were refreshing, but nothing really special.
Our stomachs were growling and our mouths drooling as we watched a steaming plate of doughnuts placed onto the table next to us. Ordering this starter was a no-brainer. Plus, I had to follow Cori Sue’s cardinal rule that doughnuts must be ordered if on the menu. If not for this rule, it would have been tough to pick between other tempting appetizers such as buttermilk biscuits, Scotch eggs, or the Maine crab croquette.
The house made cake doughnuts were as delicious as they were visually appealing. They were light yet substantive and served with a creamy frosting dip. I loved that we could customize our sugar binge and I of course dunked my doughnut right into the white glaze. This tasty carb creation started our meal on a great note.
The majority of Rye’s brunch menu contains some preparation of eggs with the exception of more lunch-like offerings such as the mac-n-cheese, fish and chips, or meatloaf. Actually, even the meatloaf is served with two fresh eggs! Consequently, we all went the savory route and ordered a smattering of egg-centric entrees.
I was fueling up for an afternoon of baseball at Citifield so I selected the Croque Madam. My plate was stacked high with country ham, Gruyere and Vermont white cheddar cheese, and a sunny-side up egg atop two pieces of fresh bread. This filling dish was traditional and similar to Croque Madams of brunches past.
Andrew can’t turn down pork belly on a brunch menu and ordered the Rye Benedict. He loved that his Benny was served on a biscuit, but found that the rich hollandaise drowned out much of his beloved pork belly flavors.
Molly had recently learned to poach her own eggs in her SoHo kitchen and was on a poached egg kick. A fried tomato, ham, spinach, and a potato hash brown accompanied the poached eggs at Rye. She cleaned her plate, but declared that the hash brown was the star of the show. Overall, she thought that her main was “good but not great” and that she could replicate this at home.
Marshall, our resident roadrunner of the group, had already logged at least five miles before brunch and earned his calories for the Rye Slam entrée. This dish contained a smorgasbord of treats including Challah French toast, two eggs, a choice of meat, and Molly’s acclaimed hash brown. He agreed with his girlfriend that the potatoes were a standout and equally enjoyed his sweet French toast. However, the eggs and bacon were simply eggs and bacon with no frills.
We departed brunch all smiles and ready for a Sunday Funday in our respective boroughs. Molly and I were satisfied to check another restaurant off our ever-growing To-Eat list and already started to plot our next venture.
The Bitches say B. A cute neighborhood spot with solid brunch options. Our entrees were well executed, but left something to be desired from all of the hype.
247 S. 1st St.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211
Rye serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.