In my now two+ years as a New Yorker, I have only lived on the East Side of the island and admittedly am a little biased. I make a conscious effort to not get stuck in my ways and love a good excuse to head towards the Hudson.
My friends Jen and Mike live together in Chelsea so a lazy Sunday brunch was as good of an excuse as ever to journey west. Ofrenda is one of Jen’s go-to’s for great margaritas and guac, especially in the warmer months when you can enjoy the patio seating, so we figured we would give it a shot for brunch.
Ofrenda is ideally located in the heart of the West Village right on Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street. The eatery conveniently takes reservations although we didn’t have to jockey for a table during brunch; at around noon the restaurant was about half full.
I had previously been to Ofrenda for cocktails, but still took a few moments to soak in the rustic, inviting ambiance. There are plenty of well-worn wooden accents, Day of the Dead motifs, and a fully stocked bar with an impressive tequila selection.
I love a good margarita, especially if it’s spicy, but somehow we had the willpower to forgo tempting cocktails such as “The Man with the Thick Accent” and “The Devil in Oaxaca” and stuck with coffee.
We came to brunch with an appetite and immediately dug into the guacamole rojo, prepared traditionally with mashed avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, chipotle, onion, and topped with a generous handful of queso fresco. We ate every last bite of the dip and had to go back for seconds on the warm chips. We especially liked the zippy flavor of the guac and the dusting of cheese.
Ofrenda’s brunch menu features a variety of Mexican classics with a breakfast spin such as gorditas stuffed with scrambled eggs and a veggie omelette with regional cheeses, housemade salsa, and avocado. Jen and I broke one of the cardinal Bitches Who Brunch rules and both ordered the Ofrenda enchiladas. I normally do not gravitate towards enchiladas on the menu, but something about the description really seemed to hit the spot.
This entree was served beautifully and looked very refined for a more casual Mexican restaurant. The corn tortillas were filled with braised chicken, creamy serrano salsa, Chihuahua cheese, refried beans, and finished with avocado. The dish was decadently rich and flavorful, but unfortunately the poultry was a bit dry for my liking.
Mike went a classic route and ordered the huevos rancheros, which contained sunny-side up eggs over crispy corn tortillas, black beans, roasted tomato, jalapeno salsa, queso fresco, and crema. The entree was hearty and tasty, but we all agreed that it could have been more inventive.
Our meals were served with beans and rice, as is typical for many Mexican restaurants. We only nibbled at these sides, which were slightly overkill since our main courses were so large. No red flags here, but nothing to write home about.
The Bitches say: Four Champagne flutes. Solid Mexican food and a low-key vibe in the West Village. The food was well-executed, but we thought the brunch menu could benefit from more creativity, as exemplified in its inventive cocktail program.
Ofrenda serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.