Rise. Shine. Eat.
Brunches worth waking up for
(page 3 of 4)
Craving a hearty serving of atmosphere spiced with a pinch of romance? Set in a cozy boîte with a Parisian accent, Le Jardin du Roi (95 King St, Chappaqua 914-238-1368) breakfast served from 8 am to 4 pm) features a soothing respite from a stressful week. It’s the kind of place that beckons you with big bowls of café au lait and a menu so ooh la la you might find yourself attempting your high school French when you order. Opt for croissants aux jambon et fromage” (ham-and-cheese croissant with fresh fruit salad); céréales avec lait ou yaourt (Swiss muesli with milk or yogurt and topped with fresh fruit); or the Américain (eggs any style served with bacon and home fries). We also like the le croque madame (a traditional French open-face ham-and-cheese sandwich served with an egg sunny-side up and fries) and la saumon fumée (smoked salmon with hard-boiled egg and tomato on a baguette with pesto and homemade mayonnaise, served with a side salad). Handmade crêpes are also a must, with daily specials both as main courses and desserts. (Kids, especially, will like the crêpe spread with Nutella.) Breakfast is served all day and, if you’re lucky, you might have a Clinton or Vanessa Williams sighting; they live nearby.
The Olde Stone Mill (2 Scarsdale Rd, Tuckahoe 914-771-7661) brunch Saturdays 12 pm to 3 pm and Sundays 11 am to 3 pm) touts itself as “a new beginning to an historical landmark,” and it’s true. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine George Washington and his troops downing a beer and filling their stomachs with warm stews before heading back in the cold winter night to cross the Hudson. Actually, George didn’t sleep here—or stop here—but thanks to the dark varnished woods and finished copper of the tavern bar, the 200-year-old timber posts and beams of the main dining room and the original stone hearth, it feels like he easily could have. Built in the early 1800s as a cotton mill on the west bank of the Bronx River, it’s had many reincarnations over the years. The history envelops you, though the food and service are the big draws. The brunch menu is an even mixture of lunch and breakfast items, so you can opt for the classic smoked salmon platter and a toasted bagel or an 6-oz steak topped with sunny-side-up eggs. For the kids (or the kid in you), there’s apple-stuffed French toast, challah bread stuffed with caramelized apples and served with bacon and warm maple syrup. What’s nice about dining here is that the menu is set up for sharing. If you order a combo platter for two, you can get a variety of items: the French toast, the chef’s quiche, and eggs Florentine or another option. It’s an entertaining way to get a little taste of everything.
Lunch items are fine for brunch, but breakfast is king at Underhill’s Crossing (74.5 Pondfield Ave, Bronxville 914-337-1200) Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11 am to 3 pm), where the most popular dish on the menu is eggs in all its incarnations. That means spiced-up huevos rancheros with diced tomatoes, polbano peppers, and spiced herb sausage, along with corned beef hash fritters (eggs over easy with roasted tomato hollandaise); egg-dipped challah French toast (in a batter that also includes Grand Marnier), salmon frittata, and Norwegian salmon with scallion-scented eggs, beefsteak tomato, capers, diced onions, and a grilled bagel; and grilled Angus sirloin with farm-fresh eggs.
How can you not love a place where breakfast is served all day? Wobble Café (21 Campwoods Rd, Ossining 914-762-3459) feels like “home.” This is the kind of neighborhood eatery every town wishes it had: a ’50s luncheonette so low-key and inviting that it feels like a hurricane deposited it from rural Vermont. Owned and operated by husband and wife Rich Foshay and Beylka Krupp, it boasts a comfortable living room vibe, complete with kids’ coloring area and sofa where families can hang with a cuppa joe (there’s no liquor license here, but you’re free to bring in Champagne to add to your OJ). The bohemian ease extends to its creative menu where you’ll find dishes divided into “egg-centric,” “home fry add in’s,” “flat top” (meaning pancakes and French toast), “sammi’s” (hamburger, PB&J, grilled cheese and the like), paninis, and salads. Some of my family’s faves: the pain perdu—a big fat slice of baguette stuffed with fruit and cheese, dipped in egg and friend golden brown, served with butter and real maple syrup, or the breakfast strudel—an egg-stravaganza baked in puff pastry, with onion, pepper, tomato and cheddar. Most dishes cater to vegetarians, as well as kids, and have interesting names, fun presentations, and a sense of whimsy. The “Toad in a Hole” is perfect for little bites, one egg fried in the center of a slice of bread and served with home fries. There’s even “green eggs” (two eggs gently poached in creamed arugula), and we haven’t even discussed the lunch options (my weakness: the Vermonster panini with apples, arugula, and cheddar with maple garlic aioli. I add chicken to it for some extra protein). And for a bruncher who enjoys a pick-me-up, there needs to be a few words of homage here to the coffee—so rich and served piping hot that I often buy a pound to take home (they sell it to go). The only downside is actually turned into a positive here. It gets so busy on Sundays that the restaurant has a policy: call and give them your cellphone number and they’ll let you know when your table is close to ready.
Le Château (Rte 35 near Rte 123, South Salem 914-533-6631) brunch is served 12 to 3 pm Sundays; three courses, one Champagne or mimosa included, at $38 for adults, $17 for children under 12), the century-old Tudor-style manor house, is quiet and very French, with a hostess that often greets you with a hearty “bonjour.” The menu is substantial with items like crispy crêpe of shiitake mushrooms with leeks and Champagne truffle, hanger steak au Poivre, and a quiche of the day. There are also plenty of American options like homemade waffles served with rich maple syrup and berries compote, “create your own omelet,” and the classic poached eggs Benedict. Come on a sunny Sunday and enjoy the panoramic views of the Hudson Valley from the generously proportioned windows. For a brief shining moment, it’s easy to feel you’re a Rockefeller invited to dine at your friend’s estate.
It doesn’t serve sophisticated fare, but Antun’s of Westchester (35 Valley Ave, Elmsford 914-592-5260) brunch served Sundays from 11:30 am to 3 pm.; $23.95 adults, $16.95 4 to l0) is economical. For $23.95, you can sit here all day with a bunch of friends, drink unlimited Champagne, gab away the day, and go up to a food station as many times as you like. The cuisine is familiar: salad, melon, and strawberries, cheese (in cubes with toothpicks), beef (with lots of gravy), omelets, crêpes, and a variety of pound cakes and rolls (with condiment size jellies and butters on the side). There are also scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ziti, chicken, rice, and ham, among other options. The dessert table, with red velvet cake, white coconut, and a variety of chocolate offerings, is the best part. The ambience? It’s busy, boisterous, and filled with parties of six, eight, and more (we sat next to one of 20), with the majority celebrating birthdays, bridal showers, and anniversaries. Expect lots of cameras flashing. Call first. On days they’re hosting large events, brunch may not be available.