Les Halles

Les Halles NYC

Photo by Les Halles

Address: 411 Park Ave. S. (28th & 29th St.)

*Also located in FiDi

Link: http://leshalles.net/

Review: Between the two of us we’ve had the pleasure of eating both the dinner and brunch at the two different locations.  Your standard brunch fare at the Park Ave. location does not disappoint.  Friendly service makes up for the outdated decor and cavernous space, which feels a little cold and impersonal.  The food was good, though not very memorable.  Solidly good eggs benedict and sweet dessert crepes hit the mark on a cold rainy morning.  The BF had dinner downtown at the FiDi location which is much smaller and cozier.  It’s a great place to meet up and catch up with some old friends.  The steak frites were a mixed success…amazing fries, average steak.  But yet again the dessert was the game saver – bananas flambee cooked tableside was a great way to leave on a high note.  Bourdain’s Les Halles is an old New York standby and you get that feeling while there, if only he was back in the kitchen.

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Peels

Peels NYC

Photo by Peels

Address: 325 Bowery (2nd St. & Bleecker St.)

Link: http://peelsnyc.com/

Review: Located in the East Village/NoHo area, this is a terrific spot for a cozy date with some delicious food as well.  The decor is stylish but comfortable.  The booths upstairs are a favorite and work well for a quiet conversation or can even accommodate a double date with some of your pals.  They do a good job of executing some old comfort food standbys – fried chicken, burgers, and shrimp and grits.  With prices that won’t break the bank, Peels is a good spot for a cozy date on a cold winter night to sip on some hot cocktails and fill up on some home style cooking. (They have a great brunch too!)

Wilfie & Nell

Wilfie & Nell

Photo by NYCHDR

Address: 228 W. 4th St. (7th Ave. S. & W. 10th St.)

Link: http://wilfieandnell.com/

Review: Wilfie & Nell is a great local bar in the West Village.  It’s got that old tavern look and feel which attracts hipsters and suits alike.  It’s a great spot to meet a date or grab some drinks with your pals after work or on the weekends.  They have a good selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails to choose from.  We have yet to try the food here, which consists of somewhat upscale pub fare, but definitely want to make a trip back for their brunch ($5 bloody mary’s!) It can get pretty crowded/loud on weekends so only take a date here for drinks during the week if you want to be able to hear what they’re saying!

Bakehouse

Address: 113 Horatio St. (West St. & Washington St.)

Link:  http://bakehousenyc.com/

Review: We made the trip over to Bakehouse for French Restaurant Week and were glad we did! It’s a little bit out of the way over on the West Side Highway but the view, food, ambiance and service make it worth your while.  The large windows along the front allow for an amazing view of the sunset over the Hudson River.  They’re also working on getting their outdoor liquor license to add dining tables outside.  As part of their French RW deal we got the artisanal charcuterie plate, croquet madame (an upscale French twist on grilled ham and cheese an egg on top) and 2 glasses of wine for a great price.  We also ordered the seared sea scallops with celery root puree and basil ginger oil.  Everything was absolutely delicious and we’re already planning to go back to try out some of the entrees and their brunch.  They also have a pretty solid selection of European beers, the boyfriend was ecstatic to find a great Belgian beer he hasn’t seen since his trip over there.  The rustic decor and romantic setting make it great for a date night with your beau, and the several long wooden tables make it a good spot to come with a group of friends as well. The service was also delightful and super helpful, Molly recommended a great glass of wine and the scallops for us.  We’re definitely fans of Bakehouse!

Friend of a Farmer

Photo by Friend of a Farmer

Address: 77 Irving Pl. (18th & 19th St.)

Link:  http://friendofafarmerny.com/

Review: Friend of a Farmer is a GREAT brunch spot! With it’s trendy atmosphere and classier decor than most brunch spots, Friend of a Farmer is a good place for a casual, cozy brunch with your beau or somewhere to bring the parents of someone special.  They have a delicious and fresh farm to table type menu with tons of omelette options and tasty pancakes.  We’ve never tried the dinner here but it looks like a pretty decent menu of classic american comfort food.  There’s generally a wait during brunch so try to get there early since it’s first come first serve (you can make reservations for dinner though).  Friend of a Farmer is always showing up on the top brunch spot lists for a reason!

Mason Jar

Photo by Mason Jar

Address: 45 E. 30th St. (Madison Ave. & Park Ave.)

Link: http://www.masonjarny.com/

Review: The Mason Jar falls flat on the brunch front.  We came here to have some brunch while catching the football playoffs.  The menu has your standard brunch items, some with a little southern flair.  The food wasn’t terrible but it was nothing memorable.  Also, the service was insanely slow for there only being 4 other tables occupied in the whole place.  The Mason Jar is definitely better served as a sports bar, solely a spot to grab some beers, bourbon and wings with your bros while watching the game.

Penelope

Photo by Penelope

Address: 159 Lexington Ave. (at 30th St.)

Link: http://www.penelopenyc.com/

Review: Penelope has an AMAZING brunch, as you can probably tell by the line out the door on weekends.  Everything on the menu is delicious from the nutella french toast to the egg dishes to the chicken apple sausage to the cinnamon buns. They also do a little bit of a different spin on their brunch cocktails and they’re fantastic.  You can also order for pick up to skip the wait, and this is usually a better bet unless you have a Saturday morning/afternoon to sit around waiting.  All in all, Penelope is a cute, trendy brunch date spot that you’ll be craving every time Saturday morning rolls around.

Lallisse

Photo by Ellen D.

Address: 161 Lexington Ave. (30th & 31st St.)

Link:    http://lallisse.com/

Review: Lallisse is a Mediterranean take on brunch, but not in a good way.  We came here because the line at Penelope’s (across the street) was too long.  The nice cozy rustic decor seemed really promising until the food came.  The menu is very limited and overpriced and the service was super slow.  The eggs benedict and the Mediterranean omelette were bland and tasteless, and a little on the cold side.  Even the strawberry mimosa was subpar, I guess they were going for a “fresh fruit” thing but it was really just mashed up strawberries floating in champagne. You’re WAY better off waiting it out at Penelope’s or just going elsewhere.

Rodeo Bar

Photo by Rodeo Bar

Address: 375 3rd Ave. (at 27th St.)

Link:  http://www.rodeobar.com/

Review: If you’re in the mood to booze and eat bar food Rodeo Bar is a solid choice in Murray Hill.  Good for a cheap margarita or beer and some  nachos, quesadillas or cowboy kisses (shrimp and jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon).  They also have a surprisingly decent brunch and usually have live music in the back room.  Rodeo Bar is a throw your peanuts on the floor type of place so not an ideal spot to impress a date but a good spot to get drunk and pig out with a group of buddies.

The Smith

Photo by The Smith

Address: 55 Third Ave. (10th & 11th St.)

*Location also in Midtown East

Link:  http://www.thesmithnyc.com/

Review: The Smith is a fun, trendy, somewhat sceney spot in the East Village to grab some brunch or a group dinner with friends before heading out.  They have a solid brunch menu and you MUST try the candied bacon…it’s amazing.  Great bloody mary’s and mimosas as well.  And brunch is til 4pm so you can sleep in!  We’ve only been for brunch but it always looks pretty packed for dinner and the menu is large with something for everyone.  Good spot to go in the spring/summer when they open the doors out to 3rd Ave.  The Smith works for anything from a hungover brunch to a casual date spot to a group night out.