Some of the bros in my life are adverse to brunch. They find it girly and wouldn’t touch a crepe with a ten foot pole. I’m lucky that my boyfriend doesn’t fall into this category and is a good sport for morning bubbly and beignets. But, all good relationships come with compromise so it’s always great to find a guy-friendly brunch dive.
With more than 400 beers available, classic rock blaring, and adventurous cuts of meat hanging from the ceiling, The Cannibal caters to the alpha male demographic and is perfect for Paleo.
Unfortunately, it was not perfect for those craving traditional breakfast fare. The online brunch menu touts delicious sounding offerings such as country biscuits with sausage gravy, and a scrambled egg, pecorino and spicy sopressata sandwich. But upon entering the establishment at noon on a Sunday, this said brunch menu was nowhere to be found. Only one small plate remotely resembled a brunch dish, which I promptly ordered because I personally wasn’t up for half of a pig’s head at that hour. Or any hour, for that matter.
The dining room was packed, so we saddled up to the bar to dine. We barely had any interaction with our server, but to be fair he was working double duty as our server and as bartender. The menu had some intriguing options such as the pig’s head Reuben and MLT (Mutton, Lettuce, and Tomato), but I was craving breakfast food, and Andrew went simple by ordering the grilled cheese. We also put in an order for the salumi platter with a selection of cured meats to chase down our IPAs.
I’m a sucker for any dish with mushrooms, and this plate included mushrooms of the Chanterelle variety, a soft scrambled egg, and country ham gremolata. I was happy we ordered the salumi platter because this dish barely constituted a full meal. They weren’t kidding when they called it a small plate! Unfortunately the eggs were lukewarm and the entrée was extremely salty so I stole nibbles from Andrew’s grilled cheese.
As a stark contrast to my lukewarm egg dish, Andrew’s grilled cheese came out piping hot. Cheddar, gruyere, and bacon were sandwiched between two pieces of crispy, garlicky bread. The dish did not come with any sides, but the bacon added substance to the lone sammie. The sandwich was straightforward, but satisfying. As spicy food lovers, we were both disappointed that our multiple requests for hot sauce and ketchup were left unanswered and finished our dishes sans condiments.
Oddly, the salumi plate arrived after our entrees although it was ordered as a starter. The plate contained cuts of spicy sopressata, bresaola, and finocchiona, and we were provided with generous portions. I admittedly do not eat red meat frequently so am certainly not a connoisseur, but the selection was tasty—especially on top of the fresh bread served on the side.
Bottom line: When in Murray Hill, take your girlfriends to Penelope and take your guy friends to The Cannibal. For lunch, not brunch.
113 E. 29th St.
(Between Park and Lexington)
New York, NY 10016
The Cannibal serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.