Despite the grey morning, our adventurous spirit was intact as we headed to brunch in the East Village. Today, we tried Double Crown, the sister restaurant of our perennial favorite, Public. Double Crown is nestled on the Bowery, just a few steps away from another favorite, Peels, and only a few blocks away from Public.
Upon entering, the first thing we noticed was how wide open Double Crown is, which is contrary to the twists and turns of Public’s space. Double Crown is a massive dining room, filled with Edison bulb chandeliers, rich teak wood, and neon lights, for good measure. The restaurant, in its British-Indio-Asian glory, was designed by AvroKO, the same design team behind S&R favorites Public and Quality Meats.
The lush design continues downstairs. When you descend, you’re greeted by a tranquil sitting room at the bottom of the stairs, complete with flowers floating in a vessel and a comfy red leather chair. There is also a large private dining room downstairs. The hallway leading to the restrooms is truly captivating, as it is covered, floor-to-ceiling, with the most intricately carved wood.
The food served by Chef Brad Farmerie—a wild fusion of British and southeast Asian cuisine—is every bit as good as the space itself.
We both started out with a bowl of mixed fruit salad which included blueberries, clementines, grapefruit, mangos, and pomelos, top with pickled watermelon. The fruit, served in a decorative bowl, was market-fresh and the perfect blend of sweet and sour.
For our main courses, we had the crispy pork belly, served on steamed rice with chili-caramel, mint and a fried egg, and the New York Strip steak burger, served with massive fries of daikon radish, cut into flawless rectangular prisms and stacked like Lincoln Logs.
The pork belly was fork-tender and set off perfectly by the chili’s spice, the caramel’s sweetness and the pungent mint. The burger was a tender, meaty puck, served on a bun that would put the most elaborate “everything” bagel to shame.
For drinks, we had the Scented Grapefruit Collins and the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. If you can’t already tell, we are big fans of the Pimm’s Cup—this one, accented with strawberries, did not disappoint. The Collins had Belvedere pink grapefruit vodka, Campari, Earl Grey syrup, mint and lemon, topped with soda.
We also had a Bottlerocket, which was the favorite of the trio we sampled. Pernod Absinthe, layered with pineapple, white cranberry, maple-grenadine, and topped with sparkling wine—a really stellar combination.
Lastly, we took a shot at their famous do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar, which greets you as you first enter the restaurant. They provide you with a glass of vodka and you proceed to add as much tomato juice, lemon juice, coriander, grated ginger, piccalilli, caper berries, celery salt, Chinese black vinegar, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, pink peppercorns, and star anise as you can pile into your glass. Did you get all that? (And that’s not even a complete list.)
We came away with a concoction that wasn’t so spicy that we had to sweat through it for half an hour, but still had some decent heat in it. It was entertaining to watch other patrons try to make exactly what they wanted, given such an overwhelming ingredient list.
Double Crown’s food and attentive service will absolutely be worth checking out again, and the space is worth the price of admission alone. Although it may not replace the sentimental spot that Public has in our hearts, we would definitely be interested in moving in permanently should a room ever open up.
– Ryan and Laura
In the interest of full disclosure, Double Crown kindly invited us to dine on them today. However, our food and service was still top-notch and we recommend them whole-heartedly, without reservations.