Rue 57

60 W 57th St. New York, NY 10019 • (212) 307-5656 rue57.com

 

In midtown most of the options for a nice, sit-down breakfast/brunch are either crazy expensive or Ess-a-bagel. Fortunately, Rue fills this void rather nicely, otherwise you’d have to hop in cab to get your brunch on. Unless you consider Starbucks, Le Pain Quotidien or Paris Baguette as nice… or sit down.

I know a lot of people find the service to be rude and pretentious, but I’m just going to chalk that up to them being tourists. It is NYC after all. I have eaten here several times and don’t find the wait staff to be anything out of the norm for the city. And speaking of tourists, this place kinda begs for that clientele, being that it’s the size of most places that typically scream tourist trap, but even so, I personally find that they manage to keep the bistro vibe well in tact.

On the food front, while it is certainly nothing to run down 57th Street singing about, neither is Pastis (RIP) or Balthazar IMO. If you want transcendent morning grub try Norma’s, Clinton Street Baking Co., Cookshop or Upland. Rue, on the other hand, is solid, middle of the road eating. Same goes for lunch. Never been for dinner. So, if you are in the hood and can’t get in to some of the other brunch legends down the street, or simply don’t feel like paying over 50 bucks a person for breakfast, then Rue 57 is your place. The burger is nice and the fries are very good. The eggs dishes are all box checkers and so is the sweeter fare like pancakes and French Toast. The shocker of the menu, however, would be the sushi. Yes, this French named and styled bistro is actually Asian at its roots, so if you should happen to be craving a little raw fish in the wee hours, well, Rue has you covered there too.

3 teeth

Petite Abeille

44 W 17th St. New York, NY 10011(212) 727-2989petiteabeille.com

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For breakfast on a weekday, great options around the city drop off fast. Fortunately Petite Abeille picks up some of that slack. It’s cute, quaint, good and best of all, not too pricey.

It’s Belgian in case you’ve never been, so about 40% of the menu is devoted to waffle based dishes (which most people get). That said, unless you are nuts about waffles, I’d say skip ’em. I’ve had better at places that don’t specialize in waffles and that aren’t Belgian.

That said, the goat cheese omelet is great and the eggs come with a leek and potato mash that is out of this world! Up there with the likes of Cookshop or Clinton Street Baking Co.

3 teeth

Jack’s Wife Freda

224 Lafayette St. New York, NY 10012(212) 510-8550jackswifefreda.com

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If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, than Jack’s Wife Freda just might be the most important restaurant in NYC. Okay, so that’s a colossal abuse of the colloquialism, but it’s fair to say that you’d be hard-pressed to find a better breakfast. Not taking anything away from Cookshop or Clinton Street Bakery. I love them both. But Clinton is impossible to get into and one can only eat at Cookshop so many times before one gets CFS (Cookshop Fatigue Syndrome).

Not that Jack’s is easy to get into either, but if you go right when it opens at 9am, you’ll stroll right in to this quaint, little, noisy-ass breakfast bonanza of originality. Things like rosewater waffles and Shakshuka (an Israeli egg dish pictured above) fill out a menu of variant classics with eccentric twists.

The only nit is service. They aren’t as bad as everyone says, but sterling they’re not. I’m guessing they are too busy rehearsing their lines for an upcoming audition to be bothered with the spilled creamer on your crotch.

4 teeth