Brunch is a booming business in Brooklyn. There are so many great restaurants serving such a broad variety of dishes, it's hard to pick "the best." Here are some ideas to whet your appetite. But first, think about what neighborhood you want to be in for brunch, and whether you're bringing children, how much you want to spend, and if you want to get dressed up or have a laid-back weekend morning.
For the most elegant in brunch in Brooklyn, there is only one choice: the River Cafe, with its stunning views of Lower Manhattan and the East River. The French culinary guide Gault Millau named it one of the five best restaurants in New York. If you are out for one of the most memorable brunches of your life, this is definitely the place to choose. It serves brunch on Sunday only, but what a brunch it is: Starters include scallop ceviche, oysters, smoked salmon, and striped bass. Main courses include lobster, filet mignon, duck breast, and waffle eggs Benedict. It's a prix fixe menu; check before you go for the most recent prices. It has a dress code, too. Check the website to be sure you show up in appropriate garb.
Prime Meats (Carroll Gardens)
As the name suggests, Prime Meats is the place to go for a brunch menu heavy on beef, sausage, and bacon. On the menu: eggs, cheese, and sausage sandwich; hash and eggs; biscuits and gravy with bacon and eggs; or dry-aged beef with eggs and fries. For those who don't want meat, pancakes, crepes, and brioche are yummy choices. Espresso, cappuccino, latte, and cold brew offer a range of coffee choices, and several kinds of tea are also on the menu, hot or cold.
Buttermilk Channel, named for the strait between Brooklyn and Governor's Island, serves up brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Choose from pecan pie French toast, made with bourbon, molasses, and toasted pecans; a house-cured lox platter; or eggs Huntington, among many other options. You'll also have your pick of three varieties of bloody marys, mimosas, and bellinis.
Vinegar Hill House, in the tiny Vinegar Hill section of Brooklyn near DUMBO, has a casual and cozy ambiance complete with a garden. The brunch menu offers a pressed egg sandwich, shrimp and grits, cheddar grits, and a seasonal fruit sourdough pancake, along with more usual choices. And for drinks, you can pick from several craft cocktails.
This restaurant in a converted warehouse with an open kitchen gives its Sunday brunch an interesting twist. Its seasonal menus change daily, but some past menus offered banana blueberry bread, huevos rancheros, chicken or steak enchilada, pancakes, and fish tacos.
This French-style bistro is a neighborhood place known for its brunch and outside seating. It's got a reputation for killer pancakes, so be sure to try them if you stop in on a Sunday. Be warned, there is often a wait at this favorite Brooklyn brunch spot, and it doesn't take plastic. So have plenty of cash on hand.
Five Leaves exudes a hipster vibe, but a hipster with an Australian accent. Its casual interior and outside seating make a welcoming backdrop for breakfast, which it serves daily. Try peach ginger jam and clotted cream on whole wheat or raisin walnut toast; steel cut oats with banana, walnut, and brown butter currants; avocado toast; ricotta pancakes with banana, blueberries, and strawberries; or the quiche of the day.
If it's Southern cooking you crave, head on over to Egg, a casual eatery that serves breakfast all day, every day. Check out the biscuits and gravy, grits and eggs, cheddar cheese omelet with broiled tomatoes, country ham with biscuits and grits, duck hash, French toast made with brioche, or pancakes.