Prune, which first seduced downtown brunchers by eschewing the same old midday grub, continues to surprise and please–and draw crowds that only early birds or very late risers can avoid. Recent reports praise eggy, peppery spaghetti carbonara, Malpeque oysters with grilled house-made lamb sausage, and a spectacular Monte Cristo sandwich, a triple-decker stuffed with ham, turkey and Swiss, battered, fried, and served with fried eggs and currant jelly.
The cake-like Dutch-style pancake, baked with seasonal fruit and paired with Canadian bacon, is another crowd-pleaser, as is just about any egg dish. Eggs Benedict and coddled egg with chicken are delicious and cooked to stopwatch precision, but why order anything so ordinary here, wonders kathryn. From the bar, best bets include killer bloody Marys and the pricey but refreshing Prune Juice, an alluring blend of fresh-squeezed lime, orange, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon juices (no actual prunes are harmed in the making of this beverage).
A few miles uptown, Marseille comes through with a more conventional but richly satisfying brunch. kimie reports best-of-type eggs Benedict with smoked salmon–faultlessly cooked eggs, spot-on hollandaise, delicious fish–served with mesclun in lemon vinaigrette and pan-fried potatoes tossed in basil oil. Also noteworthy: near-perfect steak frites, a flaky-buttery croissant with Nutella, and a memorable dessert: caramel apple ravioli with almond frozen custard. Two winners from the bar: Le Pamplemousse (a well-crafted grapefruit martini) and the Ruby Red Sunrise (grapefruit vodka, orange and grapefruit juices), each a bracing way to start the day–or finish it off early.
Prune [East Village]
54 E. 1st St., between 1st and 2nd Aves., Manhattan
Marseille Restaurant and Bar [Clinton]
630 9th Ave., at 44th St., Manhattan
Brunch at Marseille—great rec!