The past few times I've gone to brunch in New York City, my original plans have been foiled and I had to think quickly on my feet to come up with a Brunch Plan B. The scenario is always the same: My friends and I don’t plan ahead, we go somewhere that doesn’t take reservations and we're quoted an hour, or sometimes even a two-hour, wait. Yes, I’m looking at you, Bubby’s in Tribeca and Freemans in the East Village.
I don’t know about you, but I don't do lines and I don’t wait for brunch when I’ve got Bloody Marys and Belgian waffles on the mind. If waiting isn't your scene, no matter how good the pancakes, you've got to seek out those under-the-radar spots where a good meal and a seat are almost always guaranteed.
The last few times we were diverted from our original destinations because of wait times, we found a refuge in the places below. They had a table and a delicious brunch, which on a lazy Sunday, is really all you want and need.
The National Being right next to Freemans, this place gets a lot of that residual downtown traffic. Like Freemans, it has a rustic, laid-back vibe. Unlike Freemans, you don’t have to wait an hour-and-a-half for a table. 8 Rivington Street, near Thompson LES New York City
Café Gitane A neighborhood spot where you used to be able to catch a glimpse of an Olsen, the draw is the simple and decently priced dishes. Favorites include the avocado on toast spread and the salad with toasted goat cheese croutons. 242 Mott Street, near the Crosby Street Hotel New York City
Café Cluny I would move to the West Village just so I could eat at Café Cluny regularly. Diners are packed in closely together, though there always seems to be room for everyone. The place has a charming Parisian feel to it without the kitsch. Go with either the brioche French toast or a fail-safe Eggs Benedict. 284 W 12th Street, near The Jane Hotel New York City
–Adrien Field of The Field Notes
[Photo Credit: Flickr/cherrypatter]