On the corner of 14th Street and 1st Avenue, where we once reviewed the short-lived Meatball Factory, there now sits a welcome addition to this trending East Village neighborhood: Bait & Hook Seafood Shack. Specializing in seafood favorites and American comfort food, Bait & Hook flaunts a warm, intimate interior and minimalist nautical décor that includes authentic, re-purposed lobster traps suspended from the ceiling and ship’s wheels adorning the walls.
Ah, weekend Brunch in NYC. It’s a continuously evolving hot topic that keeps all of the Yelp reviewers on their toes! We love the funky East Village brunch scene, but sometimes we like to put on our fancy shoes and check out what’s going on a little further uptown. This past summer, we enjoyed a magical rooftop evening of unique and hearty appetizers, tall cool cocktails and stunning city views at the Penthouse level restaurant, Upstairs at the top of the Kimberly Hotel. As luck would have it, we heard that they also host a killer Brunch.
On a recent, unseasonably warm Saturday we checked into Upstairs with a mind to investigate their Custom Bloody Mary Cocktail Cart. More about that later. First: Look at all this food! If you’ve brought along your serious appetite, you can begin your meal with the Upstairs Parfait made with Yogurt, Granola and Blood Orange Marmalade ($11), the Fresh Fruit Plate with Honey Crème Fraiche ($12) or something a bit more decadent in the form of an individual Pastry Basket stuffed with a Pain au Chocolate, a Muffin and a Fruit Danish ($14). Maybe you would want to share that pastry basket with a friend…maybe not.
Egg dishes include the light and flavorful California Spinach Quiche ($13) and a fresh-from-the-farm Goat Cheese & Ratatouille Omelet ($14). Traditional Eggs Benedict is served three ways, with your choice of Canadian Bacon ($16), Smoked Salmon ($18) or Lobster ($24). There’s also a wildly indulgent Truffled Duck Egg Toast with Duck Prosciutto & Gruyere Cheese ($24). All Egg dishes are served with a mixed greens salad and Upstairs’ signature French fries, which are dipped in a light buttermilk/flour mixture before being fried to a golden crisp. Dishes priced at or over $14 include your choice of a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Brunch!
A Breakfast Sweet Tooth can be sated with an order of Whole-wheat Blueberry Pancakes ($14), Brioche French Toast with Blackberry Salad ($14) or an amazing Buttermilk Waffle with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Mixed Berries ($14).
If you’re feeling more like Lunch than Breakfast, nobody does the Kobe Beef Burger (with White Cheddar, Avocado and Grilled Red Onions, $18) quite like Upstairs, and the Lobster Roll ($18) might hit the spot as well.
And now let’s talk about those Bloody Marys, shall we? While Upstairs has a full bar during Brunch, where a perfectly acceptable Bloody Mary will set you back $10, you might want to consider going for the mixed-to-order version for an extra fiver. These premium Bloody Marys, which are gigantic and meant to be sipped slowly, are prepared and served tableside by a handsome and knowledgeable mixologist named Albert, who mans the cart with great skill. Start off right with your choice of three premium vodkas – Grey Goose, Ketel One or Absolut – then choose your desired level of heat – from one to ten – and tiny scoops of prepared horseradish are added accordingly. Additional add-in seasonings and spices available to suit your taste include crushed red pepper, ground black pepper, mustard seed, cayenne pepper, chili pepper and Old Bay seasoning – which you can add into the Vodka and tomato juice mixture or have applied to the rim of the glass. Fresh extras include slivers of crisp red bell peppers, jalapenos, lemon wedge and the traditional tall stalk of celery garnish. Holy cow, that is one potent Bloody Mary: well worth the 15 Bucks!
Upstairs is located at the Kimberly Hotel, Penthouse Level, 145 East 50th Street (East of Lexington) in New York City (Take the 6 Train to Lexington and 51st Street). For reservations please phone 212-888-1220. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM-3:30 PM. Proper Attire is Required.
Back in the day, major labels used to host big deal press parties all the time, where hacks like me could get completely sloshed on free booze and engorge ourselves on sumptuous snacks. Good times. Those days are generally considered to be gone with the dot com boon, but last night Columbia Records hosted a party for the band Train at an art gallery located in a westside neighborhood formerly known for its population of transvestite hookers. I think most people came to hear Train perform songs from its new CD For Me, It’s You, but what everybody in the loft was really buzzing about was how awesome the food was.
The first edible delight I was offered after checking my coat was a BLT sandwich on a tiny roll that was so delicious, you could just die. It didn’t really look like this picture so you will just have to use your imagination.
Here are a few other visual approximations of foods served at the Train party, some of which I ate and some of which I did not eat.
Anyway, it was a really fun party and if you like bands that sound like Paul McCartney check out Train’s new CD. One of the songs even has an accordion on it!