Sunday, June 17
101 St. Marks Place between First Ave and Avenue A, New York City.
Poached eggs with Moroccan seasonings (cumin, sesame)
Chopped salad (tomato, parsley, cucumber, onion, lemon, pepper)
variations on a theme of eggs benedict
Not far from First Avenue in a residential neighborhood, this small place has sidewalk dining. Stepping down into the ground floor rooms of a Grammercy brownstone, the building felt solid and old. There are several aspects of the place that are attractive. Small, uneven bricks painted many times over, currently a soft, butter yellow. Huge, old posts. Low ceiling. Plenty of tables, happily crowded.
The Moroccan lunch menu wasn't to be on for another hour. Sadly, I was not able to try bastello with chicken, almond, and lemon. The lamb tagine with apricots and prunes would have to wait for another day. What is charmoulla? Will I ever taste merguez? What is Mogador's cous cous like? Would the preserved lemons be worth the trip?
Instead, the brunch menu offered six or seven variations on a theme of eggs benedict. Veering toward the Moroccan, I opted for a nice couple of poached eggs with dry-seasoned pita, hummus presented in a well for very nice olive oil and dressed with smoked paprika, weakly flavored tabouli (a bit soggy), and a fresh, but lackluster chopped salad. The orange juice was tiny -- 2 oz? -- and only adequate, not better. Other diners were satisfied with their benedicts and home fries, but raved about the coffees. Service was informed, attentive, and unobtrusive.
$14 per person.
Brunch with John Calvi, Rich Stout, Audrey, Laura.