Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Prune (New York City, NY)

I first heard about Prune via a post on Keith Law's blog The Dish about Gabrielle Hamilton's memoir Blood, Bones & Butter, which he raved about.  His description, and several quotes from the book, made me want to immediately drive down to New York City and go to Prune.  Hamilton's philosophy is simple:  good, unpretentious, fresh food, and this ethos won Hamilton a James Beard Award in 2001 and 2011, as well as multiple additional nominations as Best Chef in New York City.  While getting a reservation for dinner can supposedly be difficult, brunch--served on weekends from 11:00am to 3:00pm--is first come, first served.  Luckily, less than two weeks after reading Keith's post, I was on my way to NYC to see a friend, and she very nicely agreed to accompany me to brunch.

We arrived a little before noon, and were told it would be an hour wait, so we decided to wander around the area a bit, returning after about 35 or 40 minutes, only to find that they had already called for us.  However, we were put right back on the list, and within the next few minutes were being seated at the bar.  The restaurant is tiny, with tables for maybe three dozen people, packed in pretty tightly, plus another ten or so at the small bar, which has bright magenta stools that goes with the rather eclectic look of the whole place.  The menu doesn't look like anything special, with mostly old favorites like the Monte Cristo sandwich, steak and eggs, and even huevos rancheros.  There are also some more creative and non-traditional options, such as spicy stewed chickpeas, egg "en cocotte," coddled egg with chicken, and even spaghetti a la carbonara and a sausage and oysters dish.  The drink menu includes a number of traditional and non-traditional brunch drinks, such as a variety of Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and the bizarre Chicago Matchbox, which includes homemade lemon vodka (I presume that means they take regular vodka and add the lemon flavor in house, rather than actually distilling the vodka), pickled Brussel's sprouts, baby white turnips, caperberries, green beans, and radishes, and is served with a chaser of my personal guilty pleasure beer, Red Stripe.  It sounded interesting, but not quite interesting enough to get one.

I went simple, with the Classic Eggs Benedict, my all time favorite breakfast dish, which was served with "potatoes rosti," which was really just a giant potato latke, albeit a very good one.  My friend

Eggs Benedict, Potatoes Rosti, and Mimosa, with pickled veggies in the background
ordered the Soft Scrambled Eggs, served "on the wet side" according to the menu, with fresh chopped parsley, bacon, potatoes rosti, and a toasted, buttered English muffin.  Since she is gluten intolerant, I was the happy recipient of her English muffin.  We also both ordered Mimosas, because...well, does that really need an explanation?

My Eggs Benedict was perfect; the Canadian bacon was not chewy, a common problem with it, and the eggs were perfectly cooked, spilling the runny yolk all over as soon as I cut into it, giving me something to dip the potatoes and my extra English muffin in, which was exactly what I was hoping for.  The hollandaise was light, but very tasty, and definitely homemade.  The potatoes rosti were crisp on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside, and delicious, though if I had to make a complaint it would be that they were a little under-seasoned; Julie added salt and pepper, but I just used the egg yolk to add flavor.  With a bit more salt, however, it would have been just about perfect, reminding me of eating latkes during Hanukkah as a child.  Julie was also very happy with her food, saying that though the eggs were cooked rather less than she was used to, she really enjoyed them.  The Mimosas were the perfect accompaniment, with good, though slightly pulpy (I hate pulp) orange juice and actually decent champagne.

At just under $47 for our meals, drinks, and a good tip (the bartender was fantastic) this was an exceptionally reasonable meal, especially by New York City standards.  The service was great, the restaurant beautiful, and the food was superb; I cannot recommend it enough.  It is also very vegetarian friendly if that's your thing.


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1 comment:

  1. Hooray! Veggie friendly! Now i kind of want a mimosa. Although i am more than ok with a little pulp.