Prune Brunch

Sunday, October 15th, 2006 | All Things, Eats, Friends

I was pretty exhausted from working until close to midnight last night, but managed to leave the house relatively early to brave the crowds at local favorite, Prune. I’d long wanted to try out the “phenomenal weekend brunch” at this little gem of a restaurant, christened with chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton’s childhood nickname. Really, though, I had no occasion to make the trip, traversing the island for eggs. But what better occasion than a beautiful sunny Sunday?

En route we passed legendary club CBGB & OMFUG (Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers) on its final day. Even before noon, the grungesters and hipsters were out, paying homage to this 33-year old New York City punk rock institution which would be shuttering its doors after Patti Smith’s concert that night. A young couple was there, memorializing the occasion with a baby photo shoot in front of the “CBGB 4 EVER”-painted window, to which SYB and I had wildly different reactions. (“Awww!” and “Ugh!” — I will leave it to you to match the comment with the person.)


CBGB 4 Ever

We turned onto 1st Street and spied the brunch line from down the block. What the… I mean, they’re just eggs, right? By that point, though, we had committed to going, so I marched in to add my name to the waitlist.

Brunch Line

At the corner, Juicy Lucy’s juice bar kiosk, located at the nexus of the universe on 1st Street and 1st Avenue. The menu offered an assortment of juices, smoothies and caffeinated brews, in addition to a few vegetarian/vegan baked goods. We placed our order: two horchatas. When the young man working the stand asked, “Regular or Mexican?,” SYB and I looked at each other and shrugged.

“Uh… Mexican?” I offered.

That seemed like the right answer. (Aren’t all horchatas Mexican, after all?) The guy nodded confirmation, and continued assembling our seemingly very complicated drinks, whirring mystery ingredients in a blender, and steaming up… milk? This didn’t resemble any horchata I knew. But then again, having only discovered the drink recently, I claim no expertise.

We paid for our drinks, and cautiously accepted the pair of hot(?) paper cups. Hmm. A sip. Tasty, for sure, but not at all like what I expected. In fact, this tasted less like rice pudding and more like… hot chocolate. Mexican hot chocolate. Which, come to think of it, sounds a lot like “Mexican horchata.”


Juicy Lucys

Well, that’s okay. We took our Mexican hot chocolates down the block, stopping to peek inside at famed NYC fish purveyor Russ & Daughters, and then returned to claim our places in the crowd in front of Prune.

Sooner than I expected, we were ushered in by the friendly name-taker, and seated inside.


Intriguing offerings: an “expert” Oyster Omelette, a “fantastic” Eggs en Cocotte, Dutch pancakes, the Russ & Daughters Smoked Fish Plate (essentially: items picked up down the block and arranged prettily on a platter), and a famously tempting array of bloody marys. This morning, though, I opted to keep things simple: Soft Scrambled Eggs with Bacon, Toast and Potatoes. SYB went for the Steak & Eggs (poached).

Soft Scrambled Eggs

Steak and Eggs


Recently, one reader commented (off-site) that I seem to enjoy every meal I have, which for her, created suspicion that I may just be remarkably easy to please. Interesting idea — and if it were true, would that really be such a bad thing? — but I don’t think so. This isn’t intended to be a review site — more a log of the experiences I find notable… and I interpret that pretty broadly: good food, good value, good people, good times. I’m not all that interested in writing — and doubt any of you would be all that interested in reading — about the sausage kale fettucine I made at home this week, or the mediocre slice I grabbed for lunch. Also: although I consider myself pretty open about what I’ll eat, I’m pretty particular about avoiding meals I suspect may not be all that good. Because I enjoy food — a lot. I don’t have to be wowed each and every time, but I generally won’t just grab a turkey sandwich from the deli, if I know about a nearby street cart that serves amazing carne asada. All of which probably skews the food I eat more towards the “tasty” end of the spectrum… which is just the way I want it. So, friend, if what I’ve written about a meal or dish makes you wonder if the food is all that good, try it for yourself. Invite me along, I’ll go.

So the brunch at Prune: is it really that good? I say: yes. Aren’t they just eggs? Yes, again. But eggs, perfectly done. Are they worth waiting in line for 45 minutes? That’s probably up to you. If it’s a bright weekend morning, and you’re not doing much of anything else, put your name on the waitlist, and grab a coffee or horchata at Juicy Lucy’s kiosk down the block. (Just enunciate when you place your order.) Maybe you’ll stop in at Russ & Daughters and decide you’d prefer to take smoked salmon and bagels to First Park. Veselka opened an outpost there this summer: borscht and pierogis, maybe? Or hey, I just noticed that those grape leaves on display at Bereket across the street look pretty good. (They are.)

Just get out there and explore. It’s all in the adventure.


There are 8 Comments ... Prune Brunch

October 21, 2006

Looks like a neat little place, and in a safe neighborhood, too. Hence, 24 hours less workout for our future “Kevin Costner”. 🙂

October 21, 2006

FMBJ beat me to 1st post, gah!
That’s what I get for falling asleep.

From the nexus episode…

ELAINE: I was a 718 when I first moved here. I cried every night.

I’ve been a 212, 718, 917, 646 & 347. 🙂

October 21, 2006

Ha ha. Sorry, Qsoz. I am a newcomer. Nice meeting you.

October 21, 2006

Oh, the gauntlet is thrown! Love it.

Yes: safe neighborhood — now. But we longtime 212/718-ers remember a time when that wasn’t the case… I think it was the 1990s. Ha!  (So tell Bodyguard he should remain on call.)

From the same episode: “You wouldn’t believe what it’s like down there. Taxicab drivers are insane. You know, everybody is in a hurry.”

October 21, 2006

I dunno about waiting 45 mins to eat, though the shot of the poached eggs looked terrific.

Btw, JG made a compilation of roasted rabbit he made one night and pumpkin soup from another and made rabbit- pumpkin stew, it was so yummy and perfect for this cooler weather.
I bring it up because rabbit is one of my favorite meats (not the quasi-horsemeat V and I had in Vienna, ugh, so metallic!) and I know of very few venues that serve rabbit consistently. You guys know of any places that serve rabbit, serve it fairly often and most importantly, serve it well?


Btw, JG wants to do a ‘Meat & Great’ dinner party and everyone brings their favorite meat or did he mean everyone dresses up like their favorite meat? any way you slice it, it could be yummy.

Speaking of meat, enjoy the Sunday festivites at S & H’s!

No future post will ever be this long I promise. egreks!

October 21, 2006

You are too funny, H20Buffalo!

Chowhound to the rescue

Several posters seem to like The Red Cat version. Café de Bruxelles‘ dish of “Rabbit and Prunes ” (how apropos for this post) is near you. Ouest‘s “Rabbit Three(!) Ways,” not too far from me.

October 23, 2006


October 25, 2006

Hi Qsoz!
Please don’t get discouraged if I beat you again to the first posting. I just have the time zone advantage. So, sleep well and sleep tight every night.

Go for it ...