Tag Archives: east village

Sunday Brunch at Peels

Peels Restaurant on the Bowery

During our recent visit to the Hester Street Fair Summer Picnic, we thoroughly enjoyed a s’mores cupcake from Peels on the Bowery.

This tiny little ball of decadence was all the reminder we needed that we still hadn’t stopped by for brunch, even though we’ve enjoyed dinner there.

Peels is the sister restaurant to another perennial brunch favorite, Freemans, known for simple, rustic American cuisine and atmosphere. Luckily for us, Peels doesn’t stray too far from this winning formula.

Inside, the space gives off a country farmhouse feel, with its white pressed tin ceiling and communal tables. Large windows on both floors flood the interior with natural light.

We were seated at the end of the downstairs bar, a long beautifully crafted wooden countertop overlooking a galley kitchen where chefs buzzed around, taking freshly-made biscuits of the oven and preparing milkshakes and other treats.

The menu is full of the same kind of down-home charm as the restaurant—it mostly features Southern-inspired comfort food.

Fried Chicken Sandwich from Peels

Buttermilk Flapjacks from Peels

Laura had a fried chicken sandwich with honey mustard and fries—she says Peels serves the best fried chicken she’s ever had.

I had the buttermilk flap jacks served with blackberry compote on top. The pancakes were perfectly crispy around the edges while the compote provided a sharp contrast to their buttery texture.

Gypsy Rose at Peels

Laura completed the Southern theme with a Gypsy Rose cocktail—sloe gin, cherry heering, topped with champagne—which was refreshing and had a nice sanguine tint.

Rather than my usual coffee and brunch cocktail I instead opted for one of Peels’ leaded milkshakes. The Coffee Rum Affogato was a creamy blend of rum, espresso, and ice cream served in a charming little milk bottle.

Leaded Milkshake at Peels

We were already big fans of Momofuku Milk Bar’s adult milkshakes, but thought this one tasted creamier and packed more of a punch.

Since we enjoyed the aforementioned s’mores cupcake so much, we decided to try another one of pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon’s creations.

(It’s worth noting that Shuna, in addition to being a kick-ass chef, is also a great blogger and photographer herself.)

Blackberry Eton Mess Fool at Peels

We opted for the blackberry Eton mess fool—an old British standby, made with fresh blackberries, meringues and cream, only Shuna’s version was topped with an almost-effervescent mint ice cream. Incredibly refreshing and palate-cleansing.

We can’t wait to return on a hot day for another leaded milkshake, perfect for enjoying at the bar as sunlight and laughter fills the dining room. Now if only they’d install a porch swing out front…

– Ryan

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Drink, Food, New York

A Taste of Portland

A few weeks ago, we read about The Beagle, a new restaurant in the East Village.

The menu and concept (is it a restaurant with great cocktails or a cocktail bar with good food?) were immediately appealing to us, but we were especially intrigued when we learned that The Beagle’s owner, Matt Piacentini, is the co-owner of Clyde Common, the restaurant in Portland, Oregon’s Ace Hotel.

Additionally, The Beagle’s chef, Garrett Eagleton, has worked at Portland favorites Le Pigeon and Lincoln. (And he’s also a Texan, so we automatically love him.)

We love the Ace and Portland has been on our trip radar for awhile now, so we headed over to The Beagle to see what we have to look forward to when we make it out West again.

The space is really well-done, without feeling precious or overly kitschy like so many new restaurants in the city are. The walls are a deep, lush blue, paired with crisp white paneling and European-styled light fixtures and dining tables. The Beagle is small, but not at all cramped—in fact, it’s one of the few restaurants of its kind where you could easily take more than four people.

Since they really tout their cocktails, we spent entirely too much time poring over their very thorough and creative drink menu.

We eventually settled, but it wasn’t without great debate. Ryan got the Queimada Swizzle—a take on our favorite, the Queen’s Park Swizzle—made with Rhum Agricole, lime juice, orgeat and pineapple, and I had the Daisy de Santiago, a refreshing, tart blend of white rum, lime juice, yellow Chartreuse, and chilled seltzer (served from one of those great antique bottles).

A final drink, the Prince of Wales, combined rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, champagne, pineapple and angostura bitters.

While the drinks themselves hinted at the impending summer, the blue-and-white striped paper straws gave me an immediate rush of sandy beaches, salty hair, and scorching sun.

Our first “tidbit” plate continued my summer flashback: mini-corns, skewered, and slathered with mayonnaise, lime and cilantro. There isn’t too much to say about that plate, because, really, what could possibly be wrong with that combination?

The next dish was equally successful. Bitter radicchio came together with rich blue cheese, thick-cut bacon, briny Castelvetrano olives and the nutty crunch of farro.

We shared another small plate—the squid. The tender squid packed a punch, as they were served with green chilies and prosciutto, atop a bed of crisp frisee. Squid is one of those things that is so easily overcooked, so it’s always nice when it melts in your mouth.

My favorite course of the evening (Ryan’s, too!) was the confit pork cheek, a large plate that we also shared. The pork cheek was served with braised pork belly, applesauce and a pork reduction.

The cheek was beyond juicy and fork-tender—it’s easily one of the top five best things I’ve eaten this year. The pork reduction was tangy and the applesauce mellowed everything out with its mild sweetness.

I’ve also neglected to mention the broccolini it was served with. I’ve been enjoying the beautiful yellow-budded broccolini at the greenmarket recently and The Beagle did it full justice—the tops and stalks were crisp and the yellow flowers added some great floral notes.

For dessert, we shared the chocolate custard with grapefruit and crispy cornflakes. This was also fantastic—the grapefruit was fresh and tart, the cornflakes were indeed crispy, and the chocolate was rich without being too sweet. It was almost like eating a chilled ganache, which I’ve admittedly done in my own kitchen on more than one occasion.

The Beagle impressed us every level—our server was attentive and friendly, the space feels excellent and the food matches up.

If you find yourself in the East Village, or are simply in need of somewhere new to try, head over to Avenue A. (And be sure to report back and tell us what you think!)

– Laura

The Beagle on Urbanspoon

2 Comments

Filed under Drink, Food, New York

Sunday Brunch At Double Crown

DIY Bloody Mary Bar

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.

The Bar at Double Crown

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.

Downstairs at Double Crown

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.

Wood Carved Walls

Sitting Room at Double Crown

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.

Flowers And Coffee

Double Crown Fruit Salad

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.

Pork Belly With Fried Egg

Burger And Bottlerocket

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.

Scented Grapefruit Collins and Pimm's No. 1 Cup

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.

DIY Bloody Mary

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.

Double Crown on Urbanspoon

4 Comments

Filed under Drink, Food, New York