Whenever I’m in need of a quick post-hangover pick-me-up, I line up on Saturday mornings with the rest of the bleary-eyed hipsters at David Chang’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar, for a taste of the weekend eggs menu, specifically the notorious eggs-Benedict special, which is constructed with two perfectly orange, perfectly runny eggs topped with foie gras–injected “foiellandaise” sauce. Duck eggs are all the rage in barnyard-breakfast circles these days, and the best ones, in my humble opinion, are served during weekend brunch hours at the West Village restaurant 10 Downing , over a mash of sweet figs and sautéed onions, with strips of duck prosciutto and a crisp of rye toast on the side. You can also get duck gizzards baked into a quaint, Provençal-style breakfast pissaladière at Terrance Brennan’s casual new Tribeca dining outlet, Bar Artisanal, although the dish my pork-obsessed friends like best is the excellent pork-belly hash, which the kitchen serves with sweet potatoes and crowns with two poached eggs and a velvety hollandaise spiced with a dash of smoked chile.
The most refined new brunch on the Upper West Side is the weekend spread at John Fraser’s newly expanded Dovetail, and if you’re in the market for vanished delicacies like kedgeree with poached eggs, or a noble $32 slab of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, you’ll find them on the lavish Sunday brunch menu at Le Caprice, in the Pierre hotel. My favorite ye olde French-style breakfast treat these days is the crunchy, torpedo-size croque madame at Commerce, in the West Village, where, in addition to standard Bloody Marys, the bar serves a frothy light version of that deadly British libation the sloe-gin fizz. But for a proper English breakfast, my pasty-faced Anglophile friends like to repair to The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, in the Ace Hotel, where April Bloomfield’s rib-sticking morning treats include the imposing, crunchy-fried Three Cheese grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with smoked ham, and a classic morning fry-up composed of baked mushrooms and tomatoes, rashers of bacon and a spicy pork banger sausage, all framed around two perfectly fried sunny-side-up eggs.
Whenever my daughters cry out for bacon, I treat them to helpings of New Braunfels Smokehouse from Comal County, Texas, or crinkly, weirdly sweet strips of Hungarian-smoked Kolozsvari, from the “artisanal bacon bar” at the gimmicky but strangely satisfying East Village breakfast joint Permanent Brunch & Burger. For all things sweet, the choice is Locanda Verde, where the excellent morning menu includes Karen DeMasco’s famous sticky buns laced with Italian hazelnuts instead of pecans, and clouds of deliciously melting sheep’s-milk ricotta drizzled with truffled honey. And for a festive, booze-fueled brunchtime experience, it’s hard to beat the new weekend breakfast spread at Julian Medina’s flashy Nuevo Latino outlet in the West Village, Yerba Buena Perry. Three kinds of sangria grace the drinks list, plus there’s a gimmicky though weirdly effective “Anti Hangover” Bloody Mary made with vitamin B-12 vodka. But don’t let the drinks distract you from the inventive creations issuing from the kitchen, like creamy Baja-style fish tacos served in little flour tortillas, platters of delicious, wet-bottomed corn arepas heaped with scrambled eggs and shreds of salsa-soaked chicken tinga, and the vibrantly spicy Cachapa Benedict, which the talented Mexican chef serves over toasted corn cakes and spikes with a bracing dose of aji amarillo chiles from Peru.