PB&J pain perdu at Recette
Panettone French toast at Saint Austere
Sourdough French toast with roasted cinnamon-apple butter at North End Grill
Chef Jesse Schenker tinkers with the classic for his PB&J pain perdu. His pillowy treat features a three-inch-thick wedge of Sullivan Street brioche stuffed with a swirl of creamy peanut butter and grape jam. He serves the fried confection in a pool of sweetened condensed milk laced with Earl Grey tea, plus a cluster of sugar-dusted berries arranged on top. $12.
Certain hard-line brunchers will tell you that challah is as essential to French toast as rye bread is to a pastrami sandwich. Skeptics may be persuaded by the version at Kutsher’s. Hefty slices of light and eggy challah arrive topped with a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream. Amp up the sweetness with the maple syrup and tangy berry compote that’s served alongside. $16.
Swapping out traditional bread for a hunk of panettone—a sweet Italian loaf studded with candied citrus peel and raisins, usually served at Christmas—gives this adaptation a cottony, ethereal texture. Chef Gary Comstock rounds out the sugary toast with a few savory touches: cayenne-spiced pecan butter and crunchy bits of fried prosciutto. $10.
A two-inch-thick piece of Sullivan Street sourdough is the humble canvas for this simple and satisfying French toast revision. Chef Floyd Cardoz advances the classic with the addition of his house-made roasted cinnamon-apple butter—a rich and fragrant spread stuffed into the center of each golden slice. $17.
Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano
Over the past few years, New York City has indulged its obsession with ‘old-style’ Italian red-sauce joints trying hard to look like they sprung fully-formed out of central casting. Although it only opened October 2015, Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano meets the mark effortlessly. The foyer of this 140-seat restaurant features photos of the big man with his celebrity friends, including Cher, Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, and Billy Crystal. Tables are filled with businessmen tired of the steakhouse, bridge-and-tunnel families, and ‘wise guys’ enjoying dinner over a few laughs. The dark wood walls absorb the din, and low lighting tempers the conspiratorial mood. In addition to a full bar, they offer a very civilized collection of Classic Cocktails, several featuring Palminteri’s own BiVi Sicilian Vodka. A Classic Manhattan ($13.95), with Michter’s Straight Rye, Italian Sweet Vermouth and Angostura bitters, was mixed by an expert hand. They also offer a 250-bottle wine list, with an impressive roster of by-the-glass options. Palminteri takes pains to feature dishes from his native Sicily, especially seafood. An appetizer of Calamari Fritti ($12.95) showcased lightly-battered rings of squid with zesty marinara, and a special appetizer of creamy Burrata ($13.95) was a riff on the classic Insalata Caprese. A hearty selection of risotto and pasta dishes includes Linguini Nero (MP), lobster and mixed seafood over al dente black linguini. A Bronx Tail ($49.95) —a mammoth 16 oz
Venue says: “Upscale Italian eatery featuring classic Italian meat, seafood and pasta dishes, as well as antipasto and traditional Italian desserts.”