To understand the importance of brunch in NYC you have to appreciate who the most obsessed brunch patrons are: overworked, stressed young New Yorkers with enough money to have a wide choice of venues.
For them the weekend is breakout time – time to sleep in and catch up with friends. Or if peopled out to quietly nurture themselves with a great solitary meal and a good read. Brunch is the meal to linger over and take your time. Except that, as a meal, it is now so popular that the best brunch spots will looks sideways at you if you linger toooo long.
While variety is the spice of life many New Yorkers long for that familiar place where they know the restaurant, it’s wait staff and it’s menu inside out. They can walk right in and suddenly they’re home. They might even have their favorite table and look daggers at anyone foolish enough to take it away from them.
See the video for the alternative approach which is just wander and find somewhere, which is not incredibly difficult in restaurant/brunch rich Williamsburg but as you can see you can get caught out by long wait times, which hurts if you are hungry and just want to get on with it.
Most people like to drink at brunch, but for those who make brunch a huge part of their weekend, it’s not the core thing. The atmosphere, the company, the food, the coffee and then the drink is about it.
This crowd, the brunch aficionardos, will never go to a brunch place frequented by huge numbers of NYC tourists ordering egg benedict and drinking their weight in mimosas. The aficionardos enjoy brunch food which is experimental while being sufficiently familiar to be comforting and the pleasure of a crowd which is there but not intrusive. Drunk overindulgence is so not their thing.
So if you’re visiting New York for of all you owe it to yourself to do an excellent brunch. Ask someone you know for their recommendation for a good brunch palace, or check out a few local restaurants and ask to see their brunch menu and ask about wait times. Brunch menus are usually different to regular menus and even iconic NYC restaurants like Mission Chinese in Lower East side and Dominique Ansel’s Kitchem in the West village offer innovative brunches.
And both those places are great recommendations but the competition to get in is fierce. I doubt you can get a reservation but try. In any case the best time to get in at any brunch place is 11.00am before the die hard sleepers in have stirred themselves. Or at the other end around 2.30-3.20pm but if you go late make sure the restaurant is going to let you take your time once you ahve ordered.