There are a pair of pineapples sitting in the window of Cafe el Presidente (30 West 24th Street, 212-242-3491), Tacombi’s new outpost in the Flatiron, and their spiny visages are an invitation to the breakfast service recently rolled out. It is a pleasant spot to be early morning, when sunlight pours in through the windows on 24th Street. The space is cloaked in the olfactory allure of coffee from Chiapas and Veracruz being ground for cafe con leche, and salsas simmer on the stove.
Chef Jason DeBriere presents a succinct breakfast menu. There are juices ($4.95) that buzz up pineapple with celery, kale, apple, lime, and mint into a “Verde;” “Purpura” contains beets, strawberries, ginger, and orange. Pastries, like empanadas filled with fruit and roasted jalapeño and cotija biscuits, are served warm. Cuernitos ($4.95), Mexican-style croissants, are not flaky viennoiserie pastries but yeasted rolls in coronet shapes served with jam and clotted cream that has a little peach preserves folded in.
Huevos rancheros ($10.49) is a huge platter swimming with roasted tomatillo salsa, sunny-side up eggs, cheese, and beans. Eggs Tinga ($13.95) has chicken turned scarlet, braised with achiote and chipotle, clobbered with crema, avocado, and cotija to cool the burn. For those who reject capsaicin before noon, there is yogurt and granola, sweetened with agave, or steel-cut oatmeal simmered with cinnamon, and hot cakes served with cajeta crema.
The breakfast tacos ($6.95-$8.49), on corn or flour tortillas, trounce all other versions in the city. Austin residents may wince at the price but will agree wholeheartedly that the flour tortillas are the proper jacket for buttery eggs, shavings of al pastor pork, queso fresco, and a splash of dried chile salsa.