Start Your Day On a Sweet Note With These Morning Meals
Who said New York’s splashiest meals are reserved for after dark? These breakfast and brunch dishes are decadent ways to get up on the sugar-high side of bed, giving lox-and-a-bagel a run for its money as the best way to start a day in the city.
Empellón Taqueria (230 W. 4th St.)
On a sunny weekend morning, the quiet, leafy streets of the West Village are about as relaxing a place to start a day as one is wont to nd in the city. There are co ee shops and Parisian-style cafés galore, but one of the neighborhood’s mainstays is not to be overlooked despite its reputation for being more of an after-dark spot. This is Empellón Taqueria, a polished gem of a Mexican restaurant founded by former wd~50 chef Alex Stupak.
Here, Stupak applies his culinary expertise not only to perfectly executed ceviches and gourmet tacos, but also to a well-curated brunch menu that boasts egg-driven versions of classic south-of-the-border dishes (think scrambled egg fundido, steak and eggs with mole). Among the selections is a single sweet option that arguably outshines the rest: churro French toast. A generous portion of the beloved fried dough confection is served dusted with powdered sugar and smoked maple syrup, giving challah some competition. Try it paired with the Breakfast Michelada that adds orange and soy to the usual mix of lager and spice.
Good Enough to Eat (520 Columbus Ave.)
Some 80 streets north of the West Village on the Upper West Side, the down-home dining room of Good Enough to Eat boasts one of the most mouthwatering breakfast and brunch menus in the borough, served seven days a week. Priding itself on its all-American comfort fare, Good Enough to Eat is a place to come for a most indulgent start to a day. This is arguably best achieved with the Peter Paul Pancakes: three hearty oatmeal pancakes doused in Belgian chocolate and coconut, making for a plate of pure decadence. (This restaurant is not the place to visit if you’re on a diet.)
Other sweet options include pumpkin-bread French toast with cranberry sauce and a giant pancake filled with apples and topped with sour cream and cinnamon sugar. Savory options are no better for the arteries—take, for instance, the Deep South, a dish of biscuits and gravy topped with three scrambled eggs—but none can deny that it’s all quite good for the soul.
Sweets by CHLOE (185 Bleeker St.)
Since opening in 2015, By Chloe has given vegan cuisine an entirely new image, beloved by the strictest vegans and the voracious carnivores alike. This is because, unlike most plant-based restaurants in the city, By Chloe doesn’t throw its philosophy in the face of its diners. There are no nutrition facts, no farm names (though many ingredients are locally sourced)— just imaginative fare that sounds so delicious that one won’t even notice the lack of animal products on the menus.
Portobello meatballs topped with pesto and almond parmesan, anyone? Or kale and artichoke dip? The concept has been so successful that By Chloe has not only expanded into locations in Soho, Flatiron, and L.A., but it’s also added an expansion to its original agship on Bleeker Street: Sweets by Chloe, which bakes vegan confections like maple-“bacon” cupcakes and matcha chocolate babka daily.
In fact, chef Chloe Coscarelli got her big break on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars as the rst-ever vegan chef to take the prize. Su ice to say, Sweets by Chloe is a favorite neighborhood grab-and- go spot during the early hours for its breakfast pastries—the cinnamon rolls in particular. Made with almond milk and vegan butter, the rolls are gooey, chewy, smothered in frosting, and bound to change conceptions of what vegan baking can achieve.
Petite Abeille (401 East 20th St.; 44 West 17th St.)Living up to its name, “little bee,” Petite Abeille is nothing if not a darling spot for the whole family. It’s one of those rare New York City eateries that is spacious, affordable, and lacking even an ounce of pretense. With locations in the northern end of the East Village as well as in Chelsea, Petite Abeille has stood the test of time thanks to its no-frills, well-executed menu of Belgian fare. This, of course, includes must- haves like moules marinière, steak frites, and an extensive menu of Belgian beers. But the restaurant buzzes most around brunch time on weekends when sugar-cravers flock in for the unbeatable Belgian waffles.
Light and fluffy, the doughy treats come in seven iterations ranging from simple toppings of sugar and strawberries to saccharine mountains of Oreos; dulce de leche and bananas; or, in the case of the Brazilian, coffee ice cream, caramel, caramelized nuts, and whipped cream. Matched with a mimosa—or a lambic, for the ambitious— this sugar rush is sure to start a day on a high note.