Start your perfect Saturday or Sunday in leisurely fashion at one of the best brunch places in the West Village. Among the highlights: Joseph Leonard for eclectic omelette combinations or brioche French toast, inventive variations on eggs Benedict and hash at Blue Ribbon Bakery, and classic scrambles, salads and burgers at comfort-food joint Westville.
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The century-old oven downstairs produces beautiful, crusty breads, but the real magnet at this window-walled, congenially noisy spot is the lengthy something-for-everyone menu. Cross-cultural nibbles are grouped into categories: vegetables, cheeses, cold cuts and salads. Soups, sandwiches and entrées (including lots of bistro basics like leeks in mustard vinaigrette and marrow bones in red wine sauce) are all expertly prepared. The wine list offers somewhat expensive selections by the glass. Big groups can request one of the semiprivate, brick-lined alcoves downstairs.Read more
Gabriel Stulman has become a victim of his own success. The cult restaurateur built a breathless following running the front of the house at the Little Owl and Market Table. At both venues, he helped create an atmosphere so warm and inviting, the dining rooms seemed like extensions of his own apartment. The casual clubhouse vibe—supplemented by the easy, accessible food from partners Joey Campanaro and Mike Price, respectively (he’s since split from the former)—was hampered only by the perennial long waits for a table. Though Joseph Leonard, Stulman’s first solo outing, is his most humble venture to date, it’s also the most overrun.Read more
The once eccentric Shopsins space in the Village now sports a “barnyard chic” look—wooden tables, wide windows and a huge yellow awning. Chef-owner Mike Price (the Mermaid Inn) delivers locally sourced American fare, and excels, particularly with seafood: Scallops are beautifully seared and served with blood orange, hearts of palm and basil. Desserts—notably an apple cake with rum-raisin gelato—go easy on the sugar. Very chic indeed.Read our full review of Market Table.Read more
Brittany-born owner Thierry Rochard’s prototypical Gallic café still draws lines after 18 years. The inevitable wait and tight space are worth enduring for the crisp, salty frites; the BYOB policy with no corkage fee adds to the bohemian allure. Staples like an earthy steak au poivre and cheesy, decadent croque-monsieur dominate the short menu. An entrée of “spicy chicken” smothered in a white wine sauce deviates from the Franco format, but the tude from the couldn’t-be-bothered servers doesn’t.Read more
We sometimes want to relive our childhoods through food, but we now have adult taste buds to please. Owner-cook Jay Strauss resolves the conflict with his brand of designer school-cafeteria food. Westville makes a great hot dog; the juicy, beefy Niman Ranch wiener comes on a bun that’s got body. Indulgent favorites (crab-packed crab cakes, BLTs with thick bacon) share menu space with satisfying salads (often made with organic greens). A blackboard heralds the day’s fresh vegetable sides—$12 will get you four. Friendly-but-harried servers might mix up your order, but they’ll also let you linger over mind-blowing butterscotch pudding.Read more