Is there a meal more closely associated with New York than brunch? And is there a neighborhood more lovely than the West Village? Put the two together and you have the makings of a wonderful day. Below are our favorite spots for brunch in the West Village. By Jessica Allen.
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The centerpiece of Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen is an oven, a restored 135-year-old brick oven, to be precise. From its fiery depths emerge all sorts of goodness, including over-the-top delicious breads. Speaking of breads, regulars line up for the challah French toast, served with maple syrup butter from Vermont. The deluxe includes berries and whipped cream. You can also get poached eggs with such sides as shrimp and bacon hash, chorizo hash and onions, and smoked salmon, among other offerings.
Buvette Gastrotheque is utterly transporting. Modeled after the platonic ideal of a European cafe, this restaurant pays as much attention to aesthetics as to food. Here’s where we come when we can’t afford a ticket to Paris (i.e., here’s where we’ll be most weekends). We’ll nurse a café au lait or a freshly squeezed OJ beneath the custom-made chandelier or near one of the windows, read the paper, and fill our souls with such dishes as Nutella crepes, Belgian waffle, or walnut-cranberry tartine served with bee pollen and honey butter.
It’s not really an apt comparison, since Joseph Leonard isn’t primarily a bar, or located in Boston, but there’s something about this fun, funky restaurant that always makes us think of Cheers. It just feels like the kind of place where everybody could get to know your name, the kind of place you’d like to go to just about every day. As for the brunch, it’s awesome. Yes, you’ll wait (after all, this place doesn’t have all that many tables), but then you’ll sink your teeth into monkey bread or shrimp and grits or some other yummy fare, and all will be well.
For more than 20 years, Tartine has offered hungry folks a chance to sate their hunger and slake their thirst in a cozy, neighborhoody atmosphere. Owner chef Thierry Rochard seeks to bring a bit of France to the West Village, and he succeeds, drawing crowds anytime of the day in search of an almond croissant or pain au raisin. At brunch, try a croque-monsieur (ham and Swiss cheese on a house-baked brioche), apple pancakes, or Scottish salmon with a warm potato pancake, red onion, fromage blanc, lemon, and capers.
Simplicity reigns at Westville. The food might not be artfully arranged, but that doesn’t make it any less Instagram- or belly-worthy. The focus here is on freshness and quality, on the idea that eating well helps one live well, and doesn’t have to cost a ton. For brunch, you can go savory with a grilled cheese or plate of so-called market sides, including zucchini with mozzarella and tomatoes and artichokes with Parmesan, or sweet, with homemade granola or French toast made with baked challah.