The West Village is the center of the brunch universe, with oodles of charming brunch spots to dine, see, and be seen. And, it’s often hard to get a reservation last minute, or for a group. Enter: Society Cafe, a charming American restaurant located in the Walker Hotel in Greenwich Village. The large restaurant lies partially hidden inside the dark, cozy, 1920s style hotel. Weave your way through the hotel’s entryway, with velvet carpets, dark wood paneling, and art decor, to the back of the space, where Society Cafe lies — be sure to request a table near the back, under the sunlit atrium.
With plenty of seating, a robust menu of new American fare, and a thorough menu of brunch cocktails, Society Cafe is an excellent option for a group brunch. The cocktail menu includes classics like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Aperol spritzes, and also a Bloody Maria with tequila and a “boogie woogie” with bourbon, Aperol, prosecco, grapefruit, and honey. Better yet, there are carafes of mimosas, Bellinis, and Kir Royales for $35 for groups. We tried the classics and found our Bloody Mary to be spicy, smooth, and easy to drink. The Aperol spritz was perfectly composed and massive.
There are plenty of hearty, shareable appetizers — we ordered the chickpea fries, the shishito peppers, and burrata. The chickpea fries, served with a celery tzatziki, and the peppers, served in a soy glaze, were fairly bland — easy to nosh on, but not the stars of the meal. The burrata, which is adjusted seasonally, was exceptional, served with roasted Brussels sprouts and a butternut squash purée. Come summer, it’s adjusted to an English pea purée with fava beans and asparagus.
The bread basket is the star of the meal: an enormous basket of fresh, fluffy pastries from Balthazar bakery. With scones, fresh croissants, and chocolate croissants, Society Cafe’s bread basket was so beautiful, it almost made this brunch blogger shed a tear of joy. The classic croissants were impeccable, but the splurge-worthy pastry was absolutely the caramel pecan roll, with perfectly caramelized sugar, crunchy pecans, and buttery, fluffy croissant breading.
By the time our entrées arrived, we were nearly full on pastries and appetizers. The entrée portions were substantial, so much so that we hardly made a dent. The avocado toast, served topped with a poached egg, side salad, and a large helping of potatoes, is a solid brunch option.
The Eggs Florentine is a classic rendition, served on an English muffin, with correctly poached eggs, a classic Hollandaise, and sautéed spinach. It was also served with a heaping helping of potatoes.
The avocado toast was a similarly hearty yet healthy brunch option — served open-faced on whole grain toast with a poached egg and a fiery red pepper and cucumber topping. The dish came with Society Cafe’s roasted potatoes and side salad, which had far too much dressing.
The must-order entrée for the hungry brunch babes is certainly the brunch burger. The thick, beef patty was served on a fluffy, toasted brioche bun and done up to the nines with applewood-smoked bacon, roasted tomato, a fried egg, melted Raclette cheese, and a creamy, aioli-style sauce. It was huge — the type of burger you can’t fit in your mouth, and that you’re daunted to tackle. It was messy, but oh-so-worth it.
The Bitches say: 4 Champagne flutes
A reliable brunch spot with classic, American fare in a convenient location. Society Cafe will be a go-to for when you have a big group for brunch or friends in town and can’t snag a reservation at somewhere more buzzy.
Society Cafe serves brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.