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Photograph: Sion Fullana

Which takes longer...

Waiting for a table at an LES hot spot or trekking to deep Queens for a hidden gem? Our reporters race to find out.


RECOMMENDED: All our listings for the best brunch in NYC


Julia heads to Clinton Street Baking Company &
4 Clinton St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (646-602-6263,

GETTING THERE (11–11:55am):
Leave my apartment in central Park Slope. Reduced weekend service on the D line extends the journey to an excruciating 55 minutes.

WAITING (noon1pm):
Arrive at Clinton Street Baking Company, survey the horrifying mass of hungry, whiny people and check in with the hostess. She estimates a one-hour wait for a table for two. I give her my name and buy a muffin to nibble on.

STILL WAITING (11:20pm):
The hostess comes out bearing a plate of plain pancakes cut into bite-size pieces. We dip into the maple-butter syrup and she tells us it should be "any minute."

EATING (1:202:10pm):
Starving, we overorder: coffee ($3), fresh-squeezed orange juice ($3.50), a plate of blueberry pancakes ($13), a country breakfast ($13) and a side of bacon ($4). The eggs are light and fluffy. We pile them on the soft, warm biscuit with a few bites of ham and experience savory nirvana. The experience is topped by the pancakes, which we soak in the creamy and rich maple-butter sauce. Only the bacon—passable but ordinary—disappoints.

After another 50 minutes on the train, I'm in my apartment, ready for some late-afternoon digestion in front of the TV.

4 hours


Drew heads to Just Like Mother's
110-60 Queens Blvd between Ascan Ave and 73rd Rd, Forest Hills, Queens (718-544-3294)

GETTING THERE (11amnoon):
Tangle with the disjointed weekend L service or hike over to the Broadway G stop? Neither option looks promising, but ultimately we give it up to Big Baby G-sus and then the F.

WAITING (noon):
We emerge in Queens at Just Like Mother's, a welcoming destination with about a dozen tables and a reputation for delicious brunch staples and Polish cheese-blintzy treats ($5.75). No lines, no people offering to trade their firstborn for a four-top, no hungover NYU students talking about how wasted they got last night, bro. The place is half full, and we wait exactly zero minutes for a seat.

EATING (12:0112:40pm):
Once we have coffee, we order a country omelette filled with tomato, green onion and pepper ($6.95), blueberry pancakes ($6.50), cheese blintzes ($6.75) and the silver-dollar potato pancakes ($7.50). I dig into the blueberry pancakes first, and am in no way disappointed. But my girlfriend and I agree that the potato pancakes, with just a hint of onion and topped with sour cream, are perfection in both form and function and the highlights of an excellent meal.

Knowing I've already won this competition, I could draw out my triumph and head to the Meadow Lake Promenade (which is only a few minutes' walk from the restaurant). But we're full and tired, so we trek back to Brooklyn and decide not to eat again for a while.

2 hours, 30 minutes

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