Upstairs was hard to find. We arrived at the Kimberly Hotel after being invited to come in for brunch and didn’t see any signs pointing us in the right direction, so we ended up having to consult the front desk. Turns out, there was a specific elevator in the hallway designated specifically for Upstairs – good thing we asked, because I probably wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise.
Once we arrived on the Penthouse level, we were greeted by a room brightly lit with natural sunlight. Gaudy, gothic furniture graced the black and white tiles, with bulb lights strung across the ceiling. In the pictures on their website, Upstairs looked like an open-air restaurant with a retractable roof, but unfortunately, their roof wasn’t open and the windows were closed. I was somewhat disappointed, as it was a gorgeous and warm day and I was looking forward to dining al fresco.
After we were seated, we were greeted by an incredibly attentive and helpful server. She informed us that everyone would receive a complimentary Bloody Mary or Mimosa with the order of a brunch entree. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I never say no to a Bloody Mary, so I went with the first option, while my brunch partner Fields took the Mimosa route.
The Bloody Mary definitely passed my test; you could see the horseradish in the glass, and the cocktail had the kick that I look for in my Bloodys. The Mimosa was average. But all Mimosas are, in my opinion.
I had gone out the night prior, so when I saw that Upstairs had a brunch entree dubbed “The Hangover Remedy,” I thought it would be just what I needed. It consisted of toasted ciabatta bread, topped with smashed avocado, bacon, a fried egg, and sundried tomatoes. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed. The dish was really hard to cut and underseasoned. I was also disappointed that the entree was served with a soggy, over-dressed salad and undercooked fries. I would have preferred a more typical brunch side, like hash browns. However, I did appreciate that the smashed avocado was more like a guac than simply avocado. Every few bites, I got a taste of cilantro and garlic.
Just when I thought I was leaning towards not liking Upstairs, I tasted Fields’ entree. He ordered the Eggs Norwegian: lemon pepper smoked salmon served on rosemary focaccia and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. It was fantastic! The salmon was really fresh, but not overpoweringly fishy like salmon occasionally is. The eggs were perfectly cooked, and the rosemary focaccia added a flavorful spin to the dish. I should have listened to our server when we ordered, as she had exclaimed this was her favorite dish on the brunch menu.
Fields didn’t share my opinion on the salad & fries (except to agree that home fries would be more than welcome), and thought while they were nothing outstanding, they weren’t bad.
We hadn’t quite got our fill once we were done with our entrees, so we decided to split another brunch dish. I’ve had a sweet tooth lately, so the lemon ricotta pancakes with lemon curd, blueberries, and vanilla whipped cream sounded like perfection. The pancakes themselves were light and fluffy, but didn’t have much flavor on their own. Once we topped them with the lemon curd and vanilla whipped cream, it was an explosion of flavors. I realized why the pancakes themselves weren’t overwhelmingly flavorful – they were just meant to be a vessel that delivered the sweetness of the vanilla whipped cream and the tartness of the lemon curd to your tastebuds.
We ended our meal with two of Upstairs’ specialty cocktails, per our server’s recommendation. I was in the mood for something refreshing so I opted for the Electrolyte, which was a vodka-based cocktail with watermelon and pineapple juice, served with a fresh watermelon slice. It definitely curbed my craving for something light and fresh and was perfect for a summer day.
Fields was feeling a bit adventurous, so he tried the Cilantro Sol. This was a tequila-based cocktail, mixed with a medley of cilantro, pineapple, ginger, chili pepper, and fresh lime. Ironically, while I love Bloody Marys, I’m not a fan of cocktails spiced with chilis, so this wasn’t up my alley. But Fields loved it and said, while it could have used a shot of agave or other sweetener, the flavors meshed really well together.
The Bitches Say: B-. While I may not have loved my entree, our other brunch selections were good and the cocktails were very tasty and unique. I only wish Upstairs’ had an open-roof policy on days as beautiful as this so we could have enjoyed dining outdoors, 30 floors up!
Upstairs at The Kimberly Hotel
145 E 50th St
New York, NY
Upstairs serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, from 12 – 4 p.m.