Saturday, August 29, 2009

Permanent Brunch, 6th St & 1st Ave

Permanent Brunch
95 First Avenue

Brunch is usually an excuse to eat sweet breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles long into the afternoon, while indulging in day-time drinking with Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Women recount last week’s gossip to their friends, and there's often more than one tired-looking boy with a girl in yesterday's party dress. Brunch places are on every corner in New York, so there’s a fierce competition for customers, but Permanent Brunch really strikes a chord with New York's brunch-goers.

Most of the guys I know have never been to brunch without their families or girlfriends, but they all rave about “this all-day brunch place in the East Village with a bacon menu – a menu of just bacon!!” Permanent Brunch (PB) just opened a few weeks ago, and while they aren’t offering their full menu yet, what they have so far is terrific!

Most brunches are breakfast foods eaten during lunch time, but PB takes the breakfast/lunch elements of “br-unch” literally, serving up a delicious blend of breakfast favorites with lunch-time ingredients. The menu items here are almost entirely on the savory side - waffles are topped with chicken, mushrooms, and pearl onions, and a syrup-less french toast is stuffed with salty ham and cheese.

Scott and I showed up around 12h30 and a long line had already formed, but a table for two opened up in about five minutes. It took quite a bit longer before we got our food, or maybe it just seemed that way since I was so hungry. Either way, I've never spent so much time ogling my neighbors’ plates! In addition to the Pan-Roasted Chicken & Waffle and the Ham & Cheese Stuffed French Toast, we had a side of duck-fat fingerling potatoes, a biscuit with PB-made jam and butter, and two of the five bacons from PB’s Artisanal Bacon Bar.

The chicken’s crispy skin gives way to juicy meat, and the waffle serves as a great vessel for the mushroom’s woodsy sauce. An order of french toast sandwiches smoked ham and an earthy, aged cheese between thick slices of egg-battered bread. Both are their own delicious, salty heaven, but if you're looking for the sweet breakfast versions, you're going to be disappointed.

The fingerling potatoes are good, but sadly lacking in delicious duck-fat flavor - they could easily have been fried in butter and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. The biscuit and jam are great, though. Today’s jam is a thick-cut orange marmalade, and the biscuit takes on two very different flavors, depending on whether you add butter or marmalade.

Of the two bacons, New Braunfel’s Smokehouse peppered bacon was my favorite. Its thick rashers are crispy and chewy, with a nice smoky flavor and peppery after-taste. The Hungarian Smoked Kolozvari bacon tastes like kielbasa and instantly brought back memories of the Hungarian hard-boiled eggs and beet horseradish my family serves with kielbasa every Easter.

Permanent Brunch has a great concept going for it, and I’m excited for their full menu to be available. If they would just add pie to the menu, I’d have a new weekend tradition!

**Update: CLOSED. Permanent Brunch reopens as “Steak Shoppe”, May 2010**

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