Nestled on a beautiful side street in SoHo lies a cozy oasis of coffee and some of the best breakfast dishes (vegetarian or otherwise) at West~bourne, a restaurant inspired by Los Angeles and dedicated to bringing out the best in vegetables. You’ll find the restaurant by the large potted plants framing its front window—and by the line of people out the door. The early bird gets the best breakfast at Westbourne, so go early, on a weekday, or better yet, both.
You order at the counter at West~bourne, with coffees and food available to go and to stay. If you eat in, you’ll do so on the simple yet eye-catching pottery brought to your table, and the rather expensive mugs are also available for purchase. The restaurant is a gratuity-free establishment, with hospitality built in to its pricing. And, better yet, West~bourne supports the local community youth through hospitality training. Many trainees go on to work at the restaurant.
Like many restaurants as of late, Westbourne offers gluten-free and dairy-free options for its coffee and culinary options. For coffee service, there’s a charming milk bar around the corner with every type of creamer (dairy and non) available for you to portion as you see fit. The charming details were not lost on us. We ordered cold brews, which is local Grady’s Cold Brew on tap. For drip, decaf, lattes, and otherwise, the coffee beans come from Counter Culture. There are also half a dozen types of tea, including Dona Chai matcha and golden turmeric lattes. Two types of kombucha — “pink lady” from HealthAde and a house-made celery kombucha — are available on tap. If you’re overwhelmed by the healthy beverages, there’s also an impressive selection of intriguing wines; red, and white, plus one rosé by the can.
There’s a variety of veggie dishes, fruit salads, yogurts, as well as heartier veg-centric dishes like a mushroom reuben and potato hash tacos. We recommend going with a friend or two and sharing everything—as there are so many delicious offerings you won’t want to narrow it down.
The “Center Your Chia” is an excellent starter, with coconut chia pudding topped with a toasted almond crumble, raspberries, mint, and a rose halva. The flavors of coconut, almond, and raspberries were beautiful, but the addition of rose and mint really elevated a simple breakfast dish that’s easy to make at home.
The must-order savory dishes are the “Mushreuben” and the sweet potato hash, which are both packed with interesting, memorable flavors. The Mushreuben is dedicated to New York’s signature sandwich: a reuben, but crafted with roasted maitake mushrooms in place of pastrami. The thick, bright, and gooey sandwich comes with a healthy layer of roasted mushrooms with sauerkraut, peppadew peppers, special sauce, and Swiss cheese on toasted Caraway Eye. I was never much crazy about reubens, but I was made for this one—it was absolutely delicious, and I didn’t even miss the meat. Plus, this is a major win for vegetarians, who are usually relegated to grilled cheese and PB&J when it comes to sandwiches.
The sweet potato smash looked simple enough, but in reality was anything but. The large chunks of roasted sweet potatoes were served over an herb salad and topped with crispy shallots and a brown miso butter. The miso butter added a rich and complex flavor that made the dish and had us continually reaching for more. This would be my go-to breakfast order if I lived in the area.
Westbourne’s signature dish, “Over the Rainbowl,” is so iconic it has its own Instagram story GIF. The bright, colorful bowl is simple, clean, and beautiful—an analogy for the restaurant itself. The base of the bowl is packed with heartier grains: brown basmati rice and lentil falafel, then topped with tri-colored cauliflower, kale, cucumber, radishes, pickled carrots, and topped with a flavorful, spicy, and thick jalapeño tahini.
We eschewed the “sweet nothings” on the menu, though they did sound healthfully tempting: a chocolate cashew pudding, made with dates, cacao, and dark chocolate topped with cacao corn nut crumble, and an avocado vanilla coffee.
The Bitches say: 5 flutes for an incredible brunch packed with flavorful, healthful, and colorful plates of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
West~bourne serves breakfast daily to go or to stay starting at 8 a.m. (347) 534-3050