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The Simpler Pleasures


Breakfast Ramble


The traditionalist $17.50 platter of scrambled eggs and lox is my breakfast choice whenever I visit the new location of 2nd Ave Deli, on 33rd Street, and for a more rough-and-tumble morning feed, I like to take a seat at the mercifully uncluttered new Shopsin’s outlet, in the Essex Street Market off Delancey Street, where the foulmouthed Kenny Shopsin and his lunatic son, Zack, rain down imprecations on their long-suffering patrons while turning out a dizzying variety of toothsome griddle specialties, like the “Juju” (Reuben hash, eggs, rye toast) and the fearsome “Castles,” made with three of Kenny’s patented hamburger sliders and buttressed with a small mountain of scrambled eggs.

One of my favorite brunch-time libations is the weirdly refreshing “Milwaukee Champagne Cocktail” (Miller High Life beer, Angostura bitters, a splash of orange soda) at Market Table, on Carmine Street. But for a truly elaborate, upscale market-restaurant feed, the choice is BLT Market, in the Ritz off Central Park South, where the enjoyment of Laurent Tourondel’s carefully rendered locavore treats like wild-mushroom egg frittatas and golden pieces of Amish chicken is only enhanced by the native barnyard smells coming from the assembled horse carriages lined up across the street. If delicately rendered, crêpelike galettes are your thing, Bar Breton, the new Fleur de Sel spinoff, serves five morning-time varieties, including an elegant version delicately stuffed with over-easy eggs and chorizo. If you want to partake of the latest in Spanish-style breakfast fads, follow the fashion-conscious mobs to the new Boqueria Soho outlet, for specialties like truffled lamb sausage and lentils, and the delicious “revuelto pinotxo” (scrambled eggs and rock shrimp on brioche). Or, for Italian morning fare, head to Keith McNally’s new early hot spot, Morandi, where it’s a pleasure to dine in the snug, raftered room on faux-Italian brasserie specialties like “pizza occhio di bue” (grilled pizza topped with a fried egg) with a side of boar bacon, or the delicious “fagottino con prosciutto,” made of two butter-topped crêpes folded in neat triangles around strips of salty ham and Fontina cheese.

On lazy Saturday mornings, my wife and daughters like to wander over to The New French, on Hudson Street in the Village, to nibble the toasty baguettes slathered with strawberry-rhubarb jam and admire the yellowing, delicately wrought Bemelmans-style mural on the wall, while their father noisily inhales the excellent brisket sandwich dressed with hearty amounts of red-pepper chutney and mustard aïoli on fat slabs of ciabatta. In the proper weather, the outdoor garden at Elizabeth, in Nolita, is a pleasant place to sit among the neighborhood hipsters and sip the strangely bracing house Bloody Mary tipped not with Worcestershire but with spicy Thai chile peppers. For an aggressive post-hangover feed, I recommend the huge, crispy-edged oyster omelette served weekends only at Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab. Or, for a similarly restorative feast, try Kingswood, off Sixth Avenue, where you can plop yourself down among the scruffy, half-dazed Aussies and order the “Kingswood Fry,” which is composed, as every self-respecting pub crawler knows, of two eggs, a rasher of Commonwealth-style bacon and bangers, and a wedge of thick, properly greasy fried bread.

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