Brunching at BalthazarFor as long as I can remember Balthazar has always maintained its reputation as a consistently reliable brunch choice--great food, polite service and captivating people-watching (that is, if you don't mind the wait). I remember the first time I went there for brunch. It was at least 7 or 8 years ago, when my sister and cousins were visiting from D.C. and crashing at my grungy St. Mark's Place pad in the East Village. I actually don't remember what I ate or ordered at this fine bistro, but I do remember that we were seated next to--wait for it--NOEL (Scott Foley) from Felicity SANS Jennifer Garner, his new wife at the time.
Homage to Perez
Scandal! He didn't look happy and probably in the midst of moaning to his friends about his unhappy relationship--typical conversation material at many brunches in New York. Jennifer's career was on the uptick with her show, Alias, and Felicity was...well, dying a slow, embarrassing, death on the WB. It was at this fateful brunch when I was tipped off to their precarious marital status.
But back to brunch at Balthazar!
I usually order the Scrambled Eggs and Puff Pastry or Steak Tartare, but yesterday I noticed that the brunch menu had been expanded since I was last there, featuring many egg entrees. **The menu featured on their site doesn't reflect the new additions for some reason.
I ordered the Eggs Bella Donna, which consisted of 2 poached eggs with polenta, pancetta, roasted tomatoes and topped with a slice of parmesan cheese. It was really delicious, yet simple (alas, no pics). The eggs were perfectly cooked, oozing a brilliant yellow yolk, and complimented nicely with the well-seasoned tomatoes (sauteed with spinach) and the crispy pancetta, which provided some texture to the dish. The polenta rounded out the meal, giving it some heft--very satisfying. I ordered toast, but the polenta provided enough starch that I didn't really need it. Balthazar can be pricey, but everything else is pretty commendable. Be sure to make a reservation, so you can bypass the brunch lines....
80 Spring Street (Between Broadway and Crosby)