Sarabeth's

(New York, NY) For our final breakfast in New York, Juliet wants to visit Sarabeth’s. A quick check of Google Maps shows there are more than a couple locations on Manhattan; as luck would have it, there’s one only a few blocks from our hotel! We bundle up on a sunny Sunday morning and trek toward Central Park...


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He Fed:

We have 9am reservations for breakfast at Sarabeth’s (courtesy OpenTable) and begin walking half an hour beforehand. Unfortunately, there is some kind of marathon taking place, running north-south through Central Park and blocking our path to the southeast corner. With some patience and persistence, we find a good place to ford our way across the river of runners and arrive to the restaurant just a few minutes late. (It reminds me of our bad luck with a similar marathon in San Francisco, as we raced toward the airport.)

Much like Les Halles and Maialino, we are led all the way back to the rear of the restaurant and given a small booth table tucked away. Is it the OpenTable curse? We may never know. While Juliet freshens up in the ladies room, I get comfortable and peruse the dreaded “brunch” menu. Hey, they can call it what they want but I am here for breakfast!

I am in no mood for mimosa or bloody mary or really anything with alcohol in it. Must be remnants from the previous evening’s revelry at Bar Americain. I stick with ice water and black coffee, which is filled and refilled very quickly and often. In fact, the service provided by our waiter and other runners from the kitchen is unparalleled. Sarabeth’s gave us the best service of all the restaurants we visit over the weekend, and that’s saying something.

Eggs sound good, so I opt for the Green and White: scrambled eggs with scallions and cream cheese. They come out in a simple, lumpy mass of pale yellow and green. The scallions are pretty mild, which I appreciate, and the cream cheese is used sparsely but proportioned well to add a luxurious mouth feel and sweetness. It’s nice, but nothing fancy.

On the side, I order the Banana Nut Muffin, which is large and not too dry. It tastes a bit more savory than I expect. Again, nothing to write home about; I’ve had better. The coffee helps wash it down. Of particular note, however, are the pork sausages with apricot. Judging from the menu, we expect the apricot to be inside the pork sausage. Instead, the links arrive in a pool of apricot jam...which is perfectly fine by me. The fatty meat goes very well with the slightly tart but sweet fruit. I’m definitely trying this at home!

Despite crying kids and tiresome business types in discussion nearby, the experience is solid. Service is fantastic. Food is good but maybe too simple? I’m not particularly impressed with their Sunday brunch offerings; it all feels like I’ve eaten it before elsewhere, and perhaps prepared with more inspiration. A quick glance at their online lunch and dinner menus reveals dishes that look a bit more creative. Maybe we’ll hit Sarabeth’s for a different meal next time?
She Fed:

When the alarm goes off, I yelp and burrow deeper into the covers. It's much too early to get up and today's weather is predicted to be colder. "Let's stay in and order room service?" I suggest. Always the voice of reason, Jeremy reminds me we've got 9am reservations at Sarabeth's, the infamous breakfast place I've been longing to go to for months. Blurgh, I hate when he's right!

After last evening's debauchery, I am in need of a brisk walk and a strong cup of coffee. The weather reports are spot on, it's colder and the wind has picked up. And who knew, but this morning is the New York City Half Marathon. We have to take a detour through Central Park and then wait for a lull in the marathon to duck across race lines to get to breakfast. I appreciate the irony of a) my earlier morning laziness, and b) my current and intense desire for pancakes, in contrast to the athletes racing by.

We arrive to Sarabeth's a few minutes late and are quickly seated. Our server is mericfully fast with the coffee. While I have every intention of ordering something sweet for breakfast—either the French toast, the pumpkin waffle or the aforementioned pancakes—I keep looking at the omelettes. Most are veggie-filled and all sound good, but the red omelette with a "chunky sauce of tomatoes and red peppers" just sounds amazing. I order it with a side of applewood smoked bacon.

In less than 10 minutes, Sarabeth's fills to capacity. What was a serene breakfast room is now rollicking with lots of families with small children. Anyone who thinks Manhattanites are jaded only need watch as Sarabeth's pancakes, eggs benedicts, and muffins are placed at their table. Eyes bulge, smiles widen, and napkins are patted in anticipation.

Which is what I do as the most beautifully cooked omelette garnished with sour cream and bright green chives is presented along with a pumpkin muffin. The eggs have been perfectly cooked; the color is completely uniform. I can't imagine how they achieved this. (Mine turn out blotchy at home.) The filling is almost meaty-tasting and I wonder if this is the "umami" I keep reading about? There's a thin layer of sharp cheddar between the red filling and the eggs. My "side order" of bacon is actually five (yowza!) slices and it's crisply cooked, just the way I like. I'm filling up quickly and find myself digging all the red filling out of my eggs and dabbing it in the sour cream. I manage to finish my muffin but have to leave some bacon and eggs behind, unfortunately.

For years the locals have recommended breakfast at Sarabeth's and I'm thrilled Jeremy and I get to try it. Their lunch and dinner menu look worthy of a return visit as well.
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