Aside from Williamsburg and Park Slope, there is one more area in Brooklyn that is culturally interesting when it comes to brunch, restaurants, and other tasty eats. Greenpoint is close to the ‘burg but not quite as hipsterized and studentized as its pricier neighbor. It also has a chiller vibe to offer and lots of Polish culture. That’s right, little Poland used to be here (compare it to Brighton Beach, which hosts former Russian natives). Don’t ask how exactly this speck of New York turned into a Polish neighborhood but you can still see much of its cultural influence when you walk around and visit the small delis with Polish bread, water ( I am guessing Polish water is MUCH different from American one…), wine and more.
This post focuses more on the restaurant side of this quaint part of town. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to try out a Polish eat but other joints are just as good (if not even better). Brunch spots are blooming throughout this neighborhood, starting with the one and only…
Enid’s is right next to McCarren Park and hosts indoor and outdoor seating (great for the warm spring months to come). Occasionally, you will encounter a wait when you show up for brunch hours (which are around 1 to 2 PM), but I have never encountered a wait for longer than 10 minutes until we were shown a table. A unique part about Enid’s is their Frozen Harrison – a sweet-sour Tequila-based drink, which I have yet to try out. Aside from this, their Bloody’s rock (which are a consistent part of New York brunch culture).
For brunch, their pancakes come highly recommended. A great option for vegetarians is also the toad in the hole, offered here occasionally.
I like Enid’s not only for their sweet stuff but also for their dinner. Their home-made veggie burgers are so delicious that we often just grab it as take-out if we are in the area (I therefore deem it best veggie burger in this area!).
Across the street from Enid’s you will find a bar called Matchless. This one has a grungy feel and often hosts rock shows at night. It’s heavily populated with an evening crowd and has drink specials at a decent price.
During the day, it turns into a pretty decent food spot. For brunch you will find the usual options: Eggs, pancakes, Huevos Rancheros. I once tried their Nutella pancakes, which consist of buttermilk pancakes topped with whipped crème fraiche and Nutella powder. Yes, Nutella powder! Melted over the still warm pancakes they make out for a sweet sugar rush almost nothing can top! Beware that you won’t need the maple syrup right next to it, unless you are aiming towards diabetes in your 40ies…
Matchless offers all of these wonderful brunch specials at a low price, which makes it even more appealing. Eggs any style for 7 bucks? Heck yes!
3) Five Leaves
It must have shown up in tourist books and guides by now, as the lines for this place are exorbitant long! I am not exaggerating when a normal wait for brunch could take up to 45 minutes during their busiest hours. And evenings? About as bad, if you don’t know the wait staff. What could be the reason for this high interest? Their food is amazingly delicious! Heath Ledger was planning on owning it and opening it up. Unfortunately, he died before it was finished and the plan was on hook. After a short waiting period, the family decided to add the necessary funds from his legacy and the bar was opened in September 2008. The current owners add an additional flair of Australian glamour to this speck of earth. So if you are into the movie “A Knight’s Tale” and want to find out what the actor invested in, go stop by here. If you are into fabulous food, go stop by here, as well.
Of courses pancakes are a must, come breakfast. Five Leaves offers a banana version: Ricotta pancakes topped with fresh fruit and sweet butter. Heavy, filling, and sweet. I once even managed to eat the entire plate by myself. Only once, though. Beware, it is a HUGE portion. Then of course there are other options on the menu. Such as a smaller plate of mushroom toast, about as equally fantastic (but not as sweet). Oh, and drinks? Try their horse radish bloody mary! Spicy and well-mixed!
Last but not least, we return to Mexican Food. Or rather: Solid Tex-Mex. Calexico is a gem, albeit not hidden anymore (the last time I was here, I walked right into an elderly German couple trying to order food. “Who is giving these places away to outsiders?” I wondered.).
Calexico started out as a street cart (remember my street food post almost 1 1/2 years ago? Read more here!) and a while back the restaurant version opened. And although I wasn’t too thrilled by their street food, I am now one of their biggest fans when it comes to sitting food. My absolute favorite is their huge portion of nachos. Disregard that crappy picture I have, they look much better than that in reality. Followed by quesadillas and their Mexican corn (which is grilled corn with Mexican cheese and spices).
Whenever the big craving overwhelms me, I have to go and get some take-out here. In case you want to stay and sit down, try out their drinks, which are tasty and strong. For example their different versions of house margaritas. Since indoor seating is rather sparse (especially during restaurant rush hour) they have a tent-like structure in their backyard, which is heated in the winter. Still good enough, especially with the prospect of devouring some awesome food!
[For posts on brunch in other spots go to:
Restaurant Review: Williamsburg Chique and Not-so Chique!
Tasty Eats in Brooklyn: North Slope
Tasty Eats in Brooklyn: South Slope
Mouth-watering pictures guaranteed!]