Monica P. asks: Brunch is by far my favorite meal, but I always seem to end up at restaurants that have the same brunch menu, like eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, buttermilk pancakes, and mimosas. I’m looking for an awesome brunch spot that offers something different. Any ideas?
Dear Monica: When I got this query, I knew I wanted to save it for the week that my Maharlika review came out, because if a Filipino brunch spot isn’t a refreshing change from the standard eggs-and-waffles eats, I don’t know what is. And lucky for you, I’ve got a couple other spots for you to try. They might still serve eggs, but at least they’re eggs with attitude.
As I wrote in my review of Maharlika, you’d be wise to try the eggs Imelda, a riff on Benedicts, but served with calamansi (a citrus fruit similar to a lime-tangerine cross) hollandaise and head-on shrimp. Also noteworthy for morning bites is Sa Aming Nayon, where you can load up on soft and cheesy pandesal bread, plus other Filipino morning faves, like sotanghon (noodle) soup and cornsilog (corned beef and eggs).
I’m also a big fan of dim sum for brunch because what’s more fun than gorging yourself on dumplings? Nothing, that’s what. Recently I’ve been going to the Nom Wah Tea Parlor because I get such a kick out of the faux 1960s diner décor and the bright red-and-white tablecloths always put me in such a good mood. The shrimp rice rolls are probably my favorite dish, but most items are winning in general there.
I also like Balaboosta a lot for brunch. The Mediterrenean menu offers a standard selection of pancakes, eggs, and sandwiches, but my personal favorite is the shakshuka, a dish of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. It’s a dish of North African origin and wildly popular as a brunch food in Israel. Taste it and you’ll find out why.
Finally, I might suggest Tea & Sympathy, the long-standing West Village eatery devoted to all things British. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the weekends, the restaurant does a full-on English breakfast, meaning eggs, bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes, and a side of baked beans. Come lunchtime, you can also find other Brit specialties like the bacon sandwich (how can you resist?) or the steak and kidney pie, which should sate you into a hazy lull, the cure for which is most certainly only an afternoon nap.