It was a sideways-rain day in Manhattan, with a damp, penetrating cold that seemed to seep through everything. Sometimes I love waking up with an excuse to embrace the gloom outside. This usually involves lighting all of the candles in my apartment, playing Hozier, and making progress on my book club book.
This particular morning I decided it was worth enduring the weather. I had family in for the marathon who have come to expect a good brunch out of me in each visit. The weather made it important to seek a cozy, warm atmosphere that would replicate the comfort of my apartment routine. The difficult part was narrowing it down!
I settled on Buvette, having fallen in love with the French bistro after a recent dinner experience that involved a bubbling, incredibly rich chicken pot pie and a perfect coq au vin. Needless to say, I had high expectations.
Buvette’s no-reservation policy and tiny accommodations makes brunch for groups next to impossible. This restaurant is designed for intimate gatherings, not raucous brunchers. We added our name to the wait list scrawled on chalkboard in the front and posted up in one of the many wonderful nooks. You have to be okay with this kind of brunch experience and be armed with patience to enjoy yourself.
While we were waiting, the hostess came over and asked us if we wanted a beverage to help pass the time. I thought this was a wonderful way to subsidize the thirty minute wait, and it was a nice touch to welcome us to Buvette. The rain poured down outside while we savored our lattes in the corner we’d claimed, and we felt completely at home.
We were sat at the bar not long after we’d finished. Our stools were very close quarters, but I loved having a front row seat to the brunch action. Much of the dishes are assembled behind the bar, which made the flurry of activity very entertaining. After eyeing several plates of croissants being whisked away from under our noses, we decided to go with the same.
Our jovial waiter/bartender felt like a fourth friend at brunch. He was one step ahead of us, serving the warm croissants we ordered with extra spoons of thick, creamy French butter and jam. I would normally steer clear of decadent carbs topped with more decadent butter, but these were impossible to resist.
I ordered the brunch special as my main course, which consisted of two pieces of thick multigrain bread served with heaping portions of avocado. This avocado toast was anything but ordinary, containing surprising bites of fresh cucumber and garnished with parsley. This dish was light and refreshing but filling at the same time, and I wish it was a regular on the brunch menu so all of you could try it immediately.
My sister Rebecca ordered the chèvre; scrambled eggs with goat cheese and sun dried cherry tomatoes. Rebecca typically avoids egg dishes because of how heavy in cheese they can be, but this was a pleasant, delicious surprise that didn’t make her feel like she needed to immediately lie down.
Rebecca’s friend ordered the Croque Madame with prosciutto, Gruyere, and a sunny side egg. This spin on the classic French ham and cheese sandwich was presented beautifully, with melted cheese oozing between two pieces of toasted bread and covered with a generously sized egg and a mouthwatering portion of extra thinly sliced prosciutto. Talk about a breakfast sandwich.
The Bitches say: A. The menu was much like the restaurant: petite, artfully curated, and well executed. Buvette is the kind of place you aspire to be known as a regular in, a feat we may achieve after such a delightful brunch experience.
42 Grove St
Buvette serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.