Best Brunch

These four restaurants are the perfect spot for that in-between meal we all craveNormas Chocolate Decadence French Toast

Brunch in Manhattan isn’t your usual mid-morning fare. Restaurants throughout the borough see it as the perfect opportunity to show off their chops in the kitchen and get a little playful, inventing new, gussied-up versions of the classic eggs, pancakes, and waffles and slathering them in New York spirit. A tipple or two of bubbly or the bloody makes it all the more delicious. Indeed, in New York City, brunch isn’t merely a meal; it’s a communion. Start with these four favorite brunch spots to discover for yourself…

Norma’s

Blueberry PancakesWalking through the Renaissance palazzo-style foyer at the Le Parker Meridien gives you a good idea of quality of cuisine and clientele to expect at Norma’s. Hop up a short flight of a stairs through another Romanesque arch, and the restaurant opens up into a shiny and sleek space worthy of a fashion shoot. The wood paneling and porthole-style lighting on the back wall makes it feel like the insides of a super luxury yacht. In that context, the $1,000 lobster frittata with Sevruga Caviar on the brunch menu fits, but happily the rest stays in the two figures, but still with a significant amount of richness, particularly in the Hollandaise sauce on the seven kinds of eggs benedict (Upstream is the staff favorite), the warm caramel sauce on the crunchy French toast, and Devonshire cream on the berry-heaped Belgian Waffle. (56th St. nr. Sixth Ave.)

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The Southern-style cooking on the day menus at the Upper West Side hotspot Jacob’s Pickles spills into the brunch as well, in biscuit breakfast sandwiches (made with Tennessee flour), chicken and pancakes, and shrimp and bacon grits, not to mention the signature pickled vegetable plates, from beets to green tomatoes.There’s even a jalapeño pickled egg perched, along with bacon, on the Bloody Mary. Add in the downhome charm of the dining area’s reclaimed wood tables and flooring, red brick walls, vintage signage, and mason jars, and you’ll understand the up-to two-hour waits on the weekends. (Amsterdam Ave. at 85th St.)

Friend of a Farmer

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Return to grandma’s New England kitchen at Friend of a Farmer, which not only appears out of place in Manhattan, but out of time. Fruit and vegetable wallpaper, two fireplaces, vintage farm equipment, baskets of fruit, and rooster portraits spread across two floors adding a simple life comfort that extends to the brunch menu as well. Choose from six kinds of omelets (served in hot iron skillets), five egg Benedicts, and all the buttermilk pancakes from the griddle—blueberry, apple, or pumpkin—you can handle. Pork fans ought not to overlook a side of thick hickory smoked bacon. Indeed, the farm seems ever closer with each bite. (Irving Pl., btwn. 18th and 19th Sts.)

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12795378_957997254297258_7775862304853147549_nThe signature restaurant of the Refinery Hotel, Parker & Quinn matches the luxury of the accommodations in both dish and design. Aim for one of the raised leather booths along the wall for the best view of the room that draws primarily from early-to-mid 20th century New York spirit, with vintage photography in gilt frames, gold damask wallpaper, gas lamp lighting fixtures, dark wood tables, and mosaic flooring. The brunch menu brings a lot more color, beginning with the ingenious Bubbly Board, which comes with a line of test tubes with elderflower liqueur and peach and blood orange purées to augment the bottle of Prosecco. Follow with a delicious grilled shrimp tartine before moving on to the spicy, saucy “eggs in hell,” a dippers delight, especially with the toasted focaccia. (39th St. nr. Sixth Ave.)