by Julie Besonen, 08/14/2012
(From left) Minetta Tavern, photo by Malcolm Brown • Chicken and waffles from Buttermilk Channel, photo by Phil Shipman
There are boilerplate brunches, and then there are some that wake you up. Actually, you have to wake up pretty early to be the first in line at eternally popular weekend spots like Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant on the Lower East Side and Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side. Sometimes the herd mentality gets it right. If you're wandering around Greenwich Village, dip into Minetta Tavern for the incredible latkes with smoked salmon, poached eggs and dill hollandaise. In the East Village, Cafe Mogador is a sweet spot, with low-priced Middle Eastern specialties best enjoyed at a sidewalk table. Walking the High Line? The can't-miss brunch nearby is at Cookshop, a New American bistro with fantastic seasonal dishes from Marc Meyer, who wrote the book on brunch. His first restaurant, Five Points, is also a must for wood-oven roasted farm eggs and chocolate French toast with crème anglaise and black raspberry jam. Brooklyn has a wide range of great brunch options, too, such as Colonie in beautiful Brooklyn Heights and Buttermilk Channel in Carroll Gardens, where it's agony to decide between pecan pie French toast with bourbon and molasses or the fried pork chop with cheddar waffles and maple syrup. To see which brunch spots made the cut for our top five, read on.