I had visited The Wren just a few days prior to our brunch excursion. It was a completely different vibe on a Sunday evening. It was dark and more of a traditional pub feel. The drinks were great though and the live music was even better. I was pleasantly surprised to discover The Wren offers brunch and an outdoor patio is available. Ann Louise and I met for brunch and managed to snag a table near the window which conveniently opens up to the patio.
Most of us have our preferred cocktails; you know, the ones we always kick off a brunch with. For Ann Louise, that’s a Bloody Mary. So she opted for The Weekender, The Wren’s spin on this classic brunch cocktail. Made with Tito’s Vodka, tomato juice, McClure’s pickle brine, horseradish, and Valentina’s hot sauce, this iteration was absolutely delicious. The pickle brine and healthy dose of horseradish and hot sauce helped this Bloody stand out, without deviating too much from the classic cocktail we’ve come to know and love.
I started with a Raspberry Beret, the bright red cocktail was served beautifully in a coup. The brunch beverage includes sparkling wine, strawberry, raspberry liqueur, and bitters among other things. It was just what I wanted and certainly not made for a lightweight.
Ann Louise is a big fan of mushrooms, so as soon as she saw the mushroom duxelle soft scramble on the menu, she knew she had to order it. This dish was seriously a dream. The eggs were perfectly fluffy and impeccably seasoned, and the chef was heavy-handed with the mushrooms and the parmesan, which made for a cheesy, Earthy delight.
I never met an avocado toast I didn’t like. Just kidding, there are many instances of this. I’m happy to report that the avocado toast at The Wren is a solid choice. Charred toast was topped creamy avocado and crushed pistachio. A bed of greens with a poached egg accompanies the toast. We also split a side of the rosemary home fries. The potatoes were seasoned to perfection and were fairly filling.
With one drink down and a few dishes polished off, we both agreed we were in need of another round of cocktails. Ann Louise was feeling adventurous and opted for the La Pina Verde. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal was mixed with mint, cilantro, jalapeno, and pineapple and served with a chile salt rim. This may not be your typical brunch cocktail–and it may have been a little early in the day to start sipping mezcal–but this smoky concoction was well-balanced and refreshing.
I was intrigued to try the Breakfast Bramble. Gin is generally a good idea for me. The sweet cocktail was served on the rocks and had a hint of clove and citrus. For a unique twist, the drink calls for Blackberry jam and cane sugar. I clearly didn’t drink fast enough, as the ice was beginning to dilute the cocktail.
While I may steer clear of smoked fish, Ann Louise is a big fan and opted to try the Smoked Salmon Toast. The fish itself was on-point, and the bread was just the right amount of crispy with a healthy helping of cream cheese smeared on top. The fresh dill and crispy capers offered a boost of flavor and some additional texture that made this toast a must-order.
With a table full of delectable items and boozy cocktails, coffees were in order. We ordered iced coffees to pair with the churros and French toast. The bourbon churros were covered in cinnamon sugar, which I generally like. Ann Louise liked the churros. I personally did not care for them. The churros came with a gluttonous brown butter caramel for dipping. I made the mistake of trying the butter caramel. It was easily a decision I regretted.
Last but not least, we dug into the French toast. The brown buttered baked French toast was incredible. If you’re a fan of Apple pie, the toast is a must try. The golden flakey toast calls for sautéed granny smith apples and a cream cheese frosting for added flavor. Ann Louise couldn’t get enough of it. I couldn’t blame her. If my stomach had any more space, I would have done the same.
We were impressed with how quickly everything came out and how delicious everything was. For a place that’s generally known as a bar, brunch was surprisingly incredible.
The Bitches Say: A for a spectacular brunch in the heart of Bowery. The brunch cocktails are unique and the plates are satisfying to the say least.
New York, NY 10012
The Wren serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.