15 June 2009

Prune, 51 East 1st St. (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)

Fellow Forkers! Summertime is my (and many people's) favorite time in New York City. It's filled with free concerts, the Symphony playing outside, Bryant Park Monday night movies, late nights, sweltering subways, hotter than hell temperatures, cold beers, open bars...but most of all, summertime means brunch (and bloody marys!) enjoyed outside in East Village.

After reading Wined & Dined's review of Prune, I couldn't help but want to go, nay need to check it out. When my mom and aunt came in to town, I found the perfect opportunity.

We showed up to Prune around 11am on Sunday morning (which, might I add, is early for myself & most New York brunching standards), yet the line was still about an hour long (Prune opens at 10am for brunch). My mom and I went in searching for a quick cup of joe before brunch, and stumbled a cross a cute cafe down the street with amazing coffee. By the time we acquired our caffeine dosage of the morning, my aunt was flagging us down saying that Prune had a table for us (10 minutes after we put our name in). Schwing! The hostess said it was downstairs in a private room by itself, but that didn't bother us (even though it smelled a little fish-y when we first arrived, and the waitresses were busy running up and down the stairs right next to the table).

We sat down, and perused the menu- my aunt and I immediately going towards the Bloody Mary menu, which is what inspired the visit in the first place. I selected the Green Lake (with Absolut, wasabi and a beef jerky swizzler), and my aunt had the Chicago Matchbox (with homemade lemon vodka, pickled brussel sprouts, baby white turnips, caperberries, green beans and radishes- what!?).

We were about to place our order with our waitress, when she warned us that they can't serve booze until noon. (Good thing we didn't show up at 10am when they opened!) Okay, no problem...we place our orders for drinks & brunch anyways, for both to come whenever they're available. My aunt had the soft scrambled eggs, my mom the Dutch-style pancake, and I debated between the eggs benny (go figure, how pedestrian of me), or the egg en cocotte. After hearing the waitress describe the latter, there was no way I couldn't order it and try something new.

Our bloody marys finally arrived (about 12:02pm), and my aunt and I toasted in victory. My bloody mary with wasabi mixed in was intense & delicious (just the perfect kick of heat!), with the beef swizzle stick garnish (slim jim, anyone?) bringing the concoction around full circle. My aunt's Chicago Matchbox was pretty intense as well, what with pickled vegetables mixed in. Worth $9? Well, I have to say that the best bloody mary I ever had was in Panama while doing karaoke, and it took the bartenders three tries (and very broken spanish/english communication) before we got it right. These were pretty good, but the company and solidarity around the table is what really made them great and sealed the deal.

Soon thereafter, the brunch arrived. I'll start with the uneventful (no offense mom & Aunt Yo). The scrambled eggs were pretty par for the course- eggs, bacon, potatoes, english muffin. Nothing too special to write home about. The Dutch-style pancake was the entire size of the plate, and was about a 1/2" thick with pears baked into the top. With a little maple syrup- tasty, but definitely not a show-stealer or curtain-closer. The real deal was my egg en cocotte. Imagine in a ramekin- some stew-y dark meat chicken, with a coddled egg baked on top. Pair it with some heavily buttered toast (bring on the cholesterol baby!) and some mixed lettuces tossed with an incredible vinaigrette, and NOW you're talking NYC brunch. In fact- put some lettuce on top of the toast, with some egg and chicken on top of that, and take a bite and feel- and TASTE!- the flavors infuse in your mouth, each equally fighting for control of your taste buds, yet instead melding with the next in some sort of symphonic harmony. Wow.

Simply incredible. I consciously slowed myself down in order to truly enjoy each bite. What an incredible brunch- and just to think, I almost got the (boring) eggs benedict!

Now I know why Prune had a waitlist of 2hrs+ by the time we left, and many famous chefs (including my idol, Anthony Bourdain) have raved about Prune.

For my egg en cocotte & the bloody marys, I'd give prune a 4.5/5 forks, but because the other brunches were just ok, Prune gets 4 forks.

1 comment:

geowingo said...

very entertaining and loved the photos to go with...what a great celebration for after Mass!!!!!

hahaha...love, dad

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