No matter how much furniture or home stuff you have, moving always means you need a bit more—a cabinet to store this, a plant to go there, new pots and pans just because.
So while you might get away with a Penske truck and some beer for friends during the move, West Elm and the Container Store are almost always the real winners afterwards.
This time, I vowed, would be different.
When moving to New York City, why go for the big box shops? The city has a charming thrift store, consignment store, or antique store on nearly every single corner. And those hidden gems are chock full of amazing stuff never to be found in the likes of a Crate & Barrel.
So my weekends since moving here have been filled with antiquing and thrift store hopping. And man, have I found some treasures. Like the set of six gold-rimmed champagne coups from a church’s basement thrift shop. They were covered in dust, unloved or appreciated, but now sit sparkling on my bar cart.
I wanted to venture off the island to do a bit of Brooklyn antiquing, and my friend Elizabeth and her hubby Sam offered to be my shopping guides in their ‘hood. But first, brunch. Elizabeth suggested Dover, a lovely little restaurant in Carroll Gardens.
The place was empty when I arrived, but was refreshingly airy and filled with light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. I warmed up with a coffee and some sun while I waited for the pair to join me. They had been to Dover for dinner once before, and loved it, they said.
The coffee arrived in a charmingly tiny French press and was poured for us. Also immediately after coffee, a plate of warm tiny doughnut holes arrived, covered in powdered sugar. It was a sweet, comforting way to start the brunch.
We ordered Bloody Marys. The cocktail list is fantastic, almost bigger than the actual brunch menu, offering lovely concoctions like a St. Elder, gin and jam, or even a Hot Banana Today (whiskey, buttered banana, and nutmeg). The Bloody Mary was spicy, ice cold, and simple, with just a lemon wedge.
The brunch menu itself is quite small, but offers a nice selection of dishes. The other refreshing thing about Dover is that the portions are not huge. The menu offers a selection from cinnamon buns to oysters to a full Irish breakfast (or their take of it, at least).
I went for the fried chicken option, which was actually a really small piece of fried chicken, but was so expertly cooked and seasoned that it was just enough to taste. It was served with a soft boiled egg on a bed of delicious kimchi. Asian fried brunch chicken? It melded perfectly.
Elizabeth had the brunch special, a salmon toast that seemed very European. It was a thin slice of sourdough bread with lox and onions on top. Underneath, a lovely cream cheese spread. On the side, delicious crispy fingerling potatoes with aioli and parmesan.
Sam got the largest of the dishes, the biscuits, which were served in a bed of sausage gravy with two sunny side eggs on top. It eventually turned into a bowl of mush, but Sam still cleaned the plate, owing to its flavor. We ordered the grilled bacon as a side, and it was fantastic. Thick slices covered in a maple sherry glaze.
After brunch, we nipped into the adorable antique store that is caddy corner to the restaurant. I was on the hunt for barstools, and while that shop didn’t deliver, Horseman Antiques in Brooklyn definitely did. It was four floors of mid-century furniture heaven.
Because, after all, who needs West Elm, or a chain restaurant, for that matter, when you’ve got slices of New York treasures like Dover and its surrounding shops.
The Bitches say: Five champagne flutes. A sophisticated, but no-frills Brooklyn brunch.
412 Court Street
Dover serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.