Manhattan doesn’t just do brunch. It IS brunch. From 11 am – 2 pm, New Yorkers all over the island can be seen dining and drinking with friends. It’s a civic duty and obsession.
By now I’ve been here over 9 months. In that time, I’ve tried dozens of brunch spots. The food has ranged from good to great, but they have all severely lacked at one area.
The bloody marys…are terrible. Uniformly. I can’t even sugar coat it. But the funny thing is…everyone still drinks them! And loves them!
You’d think in New York, one of the culinary capitals of the world, we’d see some ‘wow-factor’ when it came to these breakfast beverages. But no.
Maybe my expectations are way too high. In Milwaukee, bloody marys are a religion. In New York, they are an after thought.
For Milwaukee, its not just a bloody mary…its an appetizer…sometimes even a meal (with a side of blood mary). You shouldn’t just expect a drink with celery, olives and a pickle. You need to brace yourself for the works: beef jerky, cheese, stuffed olives, bacon, shrimp, and of course a beer chaser. The list of toppings is endless, and growing, as brunch spots in Milwaukee try to out-do each other.
So you can at least somewhat understand the reason for my high standards.
I remember the first bloody mary I ordered in New York…it was heavy on the horseradish and topped with one measly lime. What is it?!? I didn’t even bother to ask if I was getting a beer chaser. I knew that answer.
I’ve been sorely disappointed ever since…at least until now.
The first signs of life in this bloody mary drought came from Hundred Acres, a gorgeous restaurant with beautiful french doors that opened on to MacDougal Street in SoHo. The place was packed with Manhattan brunch-goers, who had filled the restaurant’s three dining areas. Each dining area has its own aesthetic appeal. The front has the french doors, that open into the fresh air. The middle section has a beautiful center table featuring seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers. The back section, my favorite, is a lovely garden room that has the feel of an enclosed back patio.
Classic Bloody Mary
Creole Mary – with whole grain mustard
Hampton Shore Mary – ketel one citroen vodka, clam juice and shucked oyster
Red Snapper – classic with farmer’s organic gin
South of the Border Mary – absolut peppar and pickled radish
Okay, so this was definitely an improvement! No bacon, beef jerky or beer chase…but at least it wasn’t boring.
We tried the South of the Border, and Creole Mary. The South of the Boarder had a strong kick to it (if you don’t like spicy…I would pass)…and the mustard in the Creole Mary packed enough punch to wake you up, but wasn’t overpowering. Overall, the bloodies proved to be the best I’ve had on the island so far (not that this is some sort of feat). But the food, too, was out of this world.
We did not leave a crumb on our plates or a drop in our glasses. To me, that’s a sign of a successful brunch. In Milwaukee or New York.
Hundred Acres restored my faith in Manhattan’s bloody mary potential, while serving up some of the best brunch food in the city.
But the rest of this city isn’t off the hook. They still have a long way to go in the bloody mary department…
Come on New York…I’m still not impressed!! (and neither is McKayla Maroney)
via Funny or Die