I love surrounding myself with healthy friends, like running buddies, but that will also sometimes do not so healthy things with you. As was such during a recent brunch with my friend and colleague Elizabeth. We’re both training for a half marathon and made ambitious plans for a long morning run followed by a decadent brunch.
I had the best intentions of meeting her for a loop along the Brooklyn Bridge, but Saturday night got the best of me and I had to cancel. However, we were both still up for chowing down at Mezetto, a cute open-air Mediterranean spot that I’ve walked past a million times on Houston.
We sat right by the open windows, which was basically like sitting outside and provided us with excellent people watching in the Lower East Side. The restaurant is small, clean, and decorated with bright ethnic accents.
First things first, we grabbed plenty of water and coffees. Elizabeth’s iced coffee was refreshing and my cappuccino hit the spot after one too many proseccos on the Acme dance floor the night prior.
Mezetto has a great bottomless deal with all-you-can-drink mimosas for $16 with the purchase of a food item. This brunch was on the house, but I noted the affordable boozy deal for future group gatherings. Best of all, you can pick between a variety of flavors beyond the standard orange.
Elizabeth and I actually opted for the red sangria, which wasn’t too sweet and had plenty of fruit, just how I like it. It tasted great on a warm summer day and was the perfect sipper while we caught up on girl talk.
Mezetto has a pretty extensive brunch menu with many tapas-style small plates of the breakfast and lunch variety. We decided to split a few options and our amiable server also brought out some house favorites that we had to try.
First up was the Mezetto trio, which contained a hummus, smoked eggplant, and spicy feta spread. All of the spreads were delicious. I liked the subtle sweetness of the eggplant spread and I ended up putting the spicy feta spread on all of my other dishes, it was that good. The trio is served with warm bread, but we also requested a side of sliced veggies to watch our carbs.
We also split the tuna tartar, which was a light and savory start to our meal. I appreciated that they gave us a hearty serving of fish and it was well-seasoned with cilantro, harissa, and cucumber dill.
Also from the appetizer portion of the menu were the falafel buns, a must-try. This dish stood out because the falafel was served on a fluffy steamed bun rather than pita, which was an innovative twist.
At this point, we started to hit a wall, but the food kept on coming. You can’t go to Mediterranean brunch without ordering shakshuka so we tried the standard dish served with spicy tomato sauce, kale, and cauliflower. We enjoyed the veggies integrated into the dish, but found that the thick tomato sauce overpowered the other flavors.
Our server informed us that the shawarma steak hash was another popular item and it fit right into Elizabeth’s Paleo lifestyle minus the feta cheese. This dish was filling and decadent featuring steak, a fried egg, patatas bravas, roasted red pepper, feta, and harissa sauce. It had a little bit of everything in the bowl.
Just when we thought we were going to explode, out came a few surprise desserts. The halva parfait was a unique dessert unlike anything we’d ever tried before. Ice cream was topped with shredded halva, a crumbly Mediterranean confection, and a toffee-coffee sauce with chopped pistachios.
We also sampled the mini baklava doughnuts, which melted in our mouths. They were warm out of the oven and tasted a bit like churros especially when dipped in the chocolate sauce. They were the perfect sweet treats to close out our tapas feast.
The Bitches say: B+. Unique Mediterranean brunch fare and a great bottomless deal in a great Lower East Side location.
161 E Houston St.
New York, NY
(Lower East Side)
Mezetto serves brunch daily at 10 a.m.