We all have individuals who inspire us. Those people we look up to and hope to one day accomplish a fraction of their greatness. For me, that individual is my grandma.
Independent with just the right amount of sass, my grandma is what I consider a Power Bitch in all positive senses of the title. A mother, career-woman, world traveler, and philanthropist, she has always been a go-getter, making her own opportunities and tackling challenges with poise and well-applied lipstick.
This past Saturday, we agreed to meet for brunch at Monument Lane in the West Village to catch up. She had just returned from an escapade sailing the coast of Italy, and wanted to share with me her travel tales, and hear my latest life gossip.
We both arrived promptly at noon. I had in part chosen the locale because of its outdoor seating, but with the heat, my grandma insisted that “the sun causes wrinkles” and that we sit indoors. Seniority rules.
Walking in, I realized trading the hot sun for the country-inspired interior might not be the worst situation in the world. While the people watching was perhaps not as good, the darling rustic decor made for a pleasant atmosphere, complete with distressed furniture, vintage art, and mason jars filled with asparagus spears.
We were provided with menus and complimentary sparkling water. However, we quickly moved on to ordering more beverages. Self-identifying with Snooki when it comes to pickles, I settled on the ‘bacon bourbon’, swayed by the skewer of pickles and bacon it was served with. These additions added a nice salty touch without being overpowering, and I also noted the welcome addition of capers. Overall, it was the perfect balance of spice and flavors.
My grandma selected the orange egg cream from the ‘Mocktail’ menu. While not suited to my taste, she found it to be delightful, both sweet and tangy.
Per our waiter’s suggestion, we also sampled the Zucchhini bread from the bread basket assortment. Simple and sweet, the bread was tasty but reminiscent more of a pound cake due to a lack of zucchini presence. Later in our meal, a server emerged with a trio of spreads: creamy butter, whipped honey, and a red raspberry jam, which all paired nicely with the remainder of the sweet treat.
As we settled into our drinks, my grandma began inquiring about the latest millennial trends. Today’s discussion was about selfies, the resurgence of Birkenstocks, and most interesting to her, the dating app, Tinder. I’m a believer in ‘Show, Not Tell’, so rather than try and explain, I handed over my phone to give it a go. Entertained by the game of swiping, my grandma thought this was a “complete hoot”. After a few minutes I had to cut her off to avoid a repeat of her introduction to Candy Cush, which would steal her attention the rest of the meal.
As we were going through this Tinder 101, our waiter also checked in periodically, ready to take our order and address any needs. Having worked up an appetite from all the swiping, my grandma was first to order the Black Bean Tostada. Comparable to a layer cake, the tostada consisted of scrambled eggs, black beans, chili sauce, and escarole, all layered between fried tortillas and topped with a dollop of homemade Mexican crema. The eggs were light and fluffy, and complimented nicely by the crunchy tortilla and fresh escarole. While my grandma remarked she wished there was more salsa, it was satisfactory overall.
A sucker for anything involving mushrooms, I selected the frittata with baby portabellas, American grana, and chimichurri sauce. The frittata was a little lack luster, coming out looking somewhat limp and deflated, but the flavors were nice and the organic green salad was a welcome change from a typical side of heavy hash or home fries. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing extreme plate envy, looking at the eggs Benedict and ricotta pancakes at the tables next to me.
Luckily, we had also selected one more indulgent dish to split, the chicken and waffles. The soft waffles were nice paired with the bourbon maple syrup and wedges of blood orange, but it was the chicken that stole the show. Succulent, flavorful, and not overly greasy, the chicken was prepared and seasoned perfectly. This was easily the best part of the meal.
As we wrapped up, the waiter brought over our bill in a small notebook. Inside, other customers had written notes about their dining experience inside; a cute added touch. Overall, between the attentive service, charming interior and fresh menu offerings, my grandma and I both left feeling satisfied.
The Bitches say: B-. Charming both inside and out, with great service. Farm-to-table food offerings are fresh, though they don’t necessarily stand out from others in the city.
103 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY 10014
Monument Lane serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.