PHOTO BY ANDRE BARANOWSKI
On Saturdays and Sundays, Westchester restaurants pop the Champagne, pour on the syrup, and poach some eggs to get ready for brunch. From all-you-can-eat buffets and bottomless cocktails to brioche French toast and burgers, here are 13 spots that do it best.
By Andrew Dominick & Samantha Garbarini
PHOTOS BY HEATHER SOMMER
~ The Animal Style Indulgence ~
Dobbs Ferry; www.thecookeryrestaurant.com
At dinnertime, The Cookery is a loud, lively experience sating your carnivorous desires. Weekend brunch is the restaurant’s alter ego. It’s more laid-back but still full of Cookery favorites, like addictive buttery salty potatoes and doughnuts sandwiched with tender meat pulled from a smoked pig’s head. (There’s also suckling pig, which you’ll otherwise only find at the restaurant’s private, large-format dinners.) Break out of the standard brunch rut over homemade English muffins and duck liver; fried-egg-topped meatballs; buttery egg-in-a-hole with sausage, maple, and sriracha; and butter-fried cinnamon-sugar waffles with bone marrow and date compote (trust us). The $38 price tag for three courses, passed snacks, and Brunch Punch is a damn good deal, and it’s one of the reasons they pack the house (and why you should make a reservation).
~ The Special-Occasion Splurge ~
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson
Peter Kelly does brunch like a boss. This is the place you take Mom on her birthday and where you celebrate a special occasion (or turn a typical Sunday into one). Book in advance and prepare for truly bottomless Prosecco cocktails and baskets of bread and muffins that just keep coming. The $48 three-course prix-fixe menu tends toward the savory (don’t expect pancakes), with luxurious choices like black-truffle risotto, short-rib-and-foie-gras-filled ravioli, buttermilk fried chicken, and poached eggs with crabmeat hollandaise. But it’s the constant stream of extras — baby lamb chops, coconut shrimp, wild-mushroom ravioli, passed on silver trays — that really set the experience apart. Oh, and the views: On a clear day, you can easily the Manhattan skyline.
PHOTO BY ANDRE BARANOWSKI
~ The Italian Stallion ~
Eastchester & Larchmont; www.polpettina.com
The brunch-only burger — New York State Padgett Farm beef, tomato jam, and pickles on a Martin’s potato bun — gets all the buzz at Polpettina’s two locations, and it’s well deserved. But we’re equally (or perhaps even more) fond of the Italian-inspired brunch dishes, like filone bread with a thick smear of Nutella, crunchy pistachios, and flaky sea salt. There’s a shaved porchetta-caciocavallo-and-fried-egg BEC; crispy pork-belly eggs Benny with basil hollandaise; and cacio e pepe scrambled eggs. When we’re not feeling particularly Italian, it’s all about the genius Russ & Daughters cinnamon-babka French toast, drizzled with sticky miso caramel.
~ The Do Gooder ~
Crabtree’s Kittle House
Show up at Kittle House on a Sunday, and you’ll think the restaurant is giving away food. Inside the front door, a quick-moving line stretches from a small room on the left, past reception, and into the bar area. Everyone is here for the $40 buffet brunch. Settle into the sunlit dining room with your complimentary mimosa and then hit the buffet as many times as desired. Tables are weighed down with scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage; locally sourced cheeses and house-cured charcuterie; salads; sustainably farmed, house-smoked salmon; and carving stations for Hudson Valley grass-fed beef, honey-glazed Berkshire hams, and heritage turkeys. (Yes, the restaurant’s famous desserts are included, too.) The kicker: They are actually giving away food. Crabtree’s partners with students from Horace Greeley High School to donate the leftovers to local charities and food banks.
PHOTO BY TIFFANY KEEGAN, @BREAKFASTATETIFFANY
~ The Updated Classic ~
This is the kind of brunch that you want to linger over all day. At their neighborhood restaurant, which is consistently packed for dinner, Matt and Christina Safarowic take the classics and add a tweak. Deviled eggs get sprinkled with everything-bagel spice; eggs Benedict ooze their yolks over latkes instead of English muffins; the Crown Maple syrup-drizzled French toast is made with babka; and the burger can be classic beef or a chorizo-shrimp patty topped with Oaxaca cheese, serrano chilies, and avocado. One thing that is delightfully classic: warm cinnamon rolls generously smeared with white icing and served in a cast-iron skillet.
It’s a Bloody Good Time
PHOTO BY MELISSA ISCARO
~ The Newbie ~
Cooked & Co.
Of course, the place that brought us Westchester’s most-raved-about muffin — the Nutella muffin (so popular, a fight broke out once) — knows how to do brunch. We’re into pretty much everything on the menu, like the goose-fat hash with harissa and pastrami, popovers with fried eggs and Gruyère, Cinnabon waffles, and oh-so-dip-worthy shakshuka. Craving something healthy? Go with the “I’m on a Diet” egg-white omelet. We’d rather be bad, by getting the thick-cut house-cured slab bacon and the Nutella French toast — fat slices of brioche, filled with warm Nutella and topped with hazelnut crunch.
~ The Soul Satisfier ~
Alvin & Friends
New Rochelle; www.alvinandfriends.com
Every Sunday, New Rochelle brunchers get up and swing to the sounds of live jazz at Alvin & Friends, where they take down some of Westchester’s best fried chicken —with waffles, of course — and shrimp and grits. This is contemporary soul food. The down-home Southern flavors occasionally marry with Caribbean flair, creating spicy takes on American breakfast classics, like eggs Benedict with jerk-spiced hollandaise and a jerk-shrimp omelet with sweet plantains, peppers, and onions. (Caribbean vibes also extend to Alvin’s famous rum punch.) Should you seek something true to the islands, ackee and saltfish with fried dumplings, Jamaica’s National Dish, might be your jam.
~ The Party ~
Little Drunken Chef
Mount Kisco & White Plains
This always-eclectic tapas joint known for its late-night DJ jam sessions continues that party trend during brunch, with beats and happy-hour deals at the bar. Expect to nosh on plates in the spirit of LDC’s usual assorted international flavors. The menu runs the gamut, from healthy breakfast items (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt) to customizable stations for mac ’n’ cheese, omelets, and frittatas, plus traditional Punjab plates like chana bhatura (spicy chickpeas with fried wheat bread) and aloo puri (potatoes and peas in tomato sauce). If you’re not near the original in Mount Kisco, don’t worry. LDC has another location opening in White Plains by press time.
PHOTO BY ENORMOUS CREATIVE
~ The Bargain and a Beer ~
One of the best craft beer bars in Westchester, Birdsall House earns extra praise for its weekend brunch. Come on Sunday, when $21 buys two courses, plus a brunch cocktail or draft beer, making this one of the better bargains around. Dishes like seasonally inspired omelets, hearty corned-beef hash, and buttermilk pancakes are prepared with local ingredients, including Feather Ridge Farm eggs, Crown Maple syrup, Peter Luger bacon, and bread from Eli Zabar. Don’t skip the house-made sausage, which shows up on egg sandwiches and in the Birdsall Benedict, served over buttermilk biscuits with red-eye sausage gravy. After, stick around to try a few of the 20 craft beers on draft. You can afford it.
~ The Latin Twist ~
Port Chester; www.sonorarestaurant.net
Sonora challenges itself to represent a far-reaching spread of Latin cultures, including Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican. Come Sunday, there are staples from each country on the brunch menu: a proper, pressed Cubano sandwich; a twist on garlicky, sweet-plantain mofongo, done with deep-fried oysters; tangy goat cheese croquettes with nectarous guava sauce; and a savory chorizo waffle with fried chicken and yolky egg. Oh, and five different riffs on eggs Benedict (with chipotle-chorizo hollandaise, smoked salmon, or short ribs and horseradish). Choose wisely.
~ The Francophile ~
Saint George Bistro
There’s something that feels almost wrong about brunch at Saint George. With its mirrors and painted, pressed-tin ceilings, the bistro feels made for nighttime and low lighting. Don’t let that deter you. The French know how to do brunch, from the Champagne mimosa bar with elderflower liqueur, framboise, and kir, to tender omelets with rosti potatoes. The pièces de résistance are the croque monsieur, madame, and forestier — thick slices of crusty bread, jambon, Gruyère, and creamy mornay sauce, broiled until bubbling and brown.
PHOTOS BY ANDRE BARANOWSKI
~ The Instagrammers Dream ~
The morning light streaming through the picture windows is the only filter you’ll need to make the simple salads, prosciutto-topped avocado toast, and chic charcuterie boards look good on your Instagram feed. Even if you’re not into the ’gram, come for the food. Dishes like scrambled farm eggs with sliced bresaola; Greek yogurt with chia seeds, fruit, and granola; and whole-wheat olive-oil waffles with macerated berries are healthy(ish) enough to make you feel okay about popping that bottle of sparkling rosé (or, better still, about finishing the meal with an insanely indulgent Nutella latte).
~ The Post-Workout Fix ~
Sweet Grass Grill
It’s not only Sweet Grass Grill’s dedication to seasonally focused dishes and local ingredients that makes it a no-brainer for a health-conscious brunch. It’s also the more than 10 vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options on the menu. Even if your brunch companions aren’t about that life, it’s still cool to bring them here for a classic BEC, steak tacos, or homemade breakfast sausage with eggs and biscuits. Just don’t be surprised if they ask for some of your spinach-mushroom-and-grits breakfast bowl, black-bean Benedict, or roasted vegetable hash. Wash it all down with a fresh-pressed juice, Bloody Mary, or mimosa (your food is healthy enough to offset it). It’s the weekend; you’ve earned it.