Start your perfect Saturday or Sunday in leisurely fashion at one of Tribeca’s best brunch places. Whether you’re looking for a bargain brunch at a popular neighborhood diner or something more upscale, there are plenty of options for pancakes, egg dishes and brunch cocktails.
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The name means “grandma” in Yiddish, but to celebs, punksters and stroller-pushers who wait all morning for a table, it means brunch. The sun-blasted restaurant, originally a pie kitchen, has morphed into an all-day gourmet picnic; at the front, insulated from the pram parking lot, is the bar. The fluorescent dessert cases and gaudy floral wallpaper will fade after one of the signature “loco” cocktails (the Slow Comfortable Screw blends Southern Comfort, champagne and OJ). Top off your buzz with Bubby’s mile-high apple pie. Then, stick a fork in it you’re done for the day.
Robert De Niro is no restaurant-biz neophyte. It’s true that Ago, the train-wreck trattoria he opened last year in Tribeca, was savaged by critics. But like a savvy restaurateur, instead of tweaking the place into the ground, the impresario-actor simply scuttled the project and started over from scratch.
Authentic is not synonymous with serious. Check out the drawings of Tintin at this charming minichain that draws its name from another Continental cartoon favorite, the Little Bee. Locals keep coming back for fresh mussels and the three-course prix fixe, offered weekdays from 5 to 6:30pm. Try the vol-au-vent, a chicken stew covered with a puff-pastry lid, or the croque-monsieur, made with ham and Gruyère. At brunch, golden waffles topped with strawberries are authentic, serious fun.
This neighborhood veteran, set in a converted warehouse, achieves coziness on a grand scale—an antique wooden bar anchors the huge room, and paintings of Robert De Niro Sr. (the famous Jr. is one of the owners, along with restaurateur Drew Nieporent) hang on the brick walls. The food is classic and competent, if not groundbreaking: Seared sea scallops bear a caramelized crust, and king salmon is served with a pristine salad of Asian pear, fennel and celery root. Flag down one of the skilled, apron-clad servers to help you negotiate the epic wine list, which offers more than 300 Châteauneuf du Papes alone.