“Balthazar… .ah! Balthazar… ”
As contradictory as it may seem (or not), there is nothing more New Yorker than having breakfast at Balthazar. I say contradictory, because this restaurant opened in 1997, in the same space where a gigantic leather store used to be, is a restaurant of French cuisine, very traditional and that simply serves one of the best breakfasts you can find here in the big Apple .
With a decoration that transports you to the Brasseries on the other side of the Atlantic, half 50s, when you pass through the door and leave outside the sirens and busy traffic of NY, I can say that you feel another climate, another vibe, illustrated by red leather benches, dark wood furniture, mirrors on the walls, tile floors, French music on the soundtrack and lots of buzz on the tables.
The waiters, impeccably aligned and very helpful, are always looking out for the small details, as when asking if I was there for a special celebration, because when I arrived I put the simple birthday present at the place where my friend would occupy it that I had chosen for her … without thinking twice, the waitress made a note on the command and informed me that she would bring a small candle next to the request to celebrate the occasion, making me smile.
The first tip I have to give is as follows: if you did not make a reservation in advance (which is highly recommended), arrive early … preferably before 8:30 am, as the house fills up with the passing of minutes and it will not be so easy to get a table without waiting too long. On weekends, for Brunch, it is practically impossible to get a table without having booked.
Well, the “Le Petit Dejeuner” Menu (http://balthazarny.com/menus/breakfast.pdf) is one of those that leave anyone in doubt as to what to order because it certainly makes you want to try more than one item… ..or everything… in fact it would be paradise to find a ‘tasting menu’ option also for breakfast (laughs) as they haven’t thought about it yet and there is no diet that can resist there is a glutton menu, my request was “Scrambled eggs in puff pastry with wild mushrooms and asparagus” scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms and asparagus and Paty opted for “Hazelnut waffles with hot red fruit compote and sour cream” (Hazelnut waffles with warm berries and sour cream).
We do not wait long for the food to arrive at the table, there is an efficient kitchen and Oh My… .what to say? Both choices were perfect !! The eggs were divine. It was the first time that I tried the creamy texture of scrambles with the crispness of flaky flakes of puff pastry. I need to confess that my second option would have been the Egg Crepe with ham and gruyere and the third, would have been the Quiche of roasted peppers and caramelized onions… .hmmmm… .but these are future stories… Paty and I decided to share our choices and after stirring, waffles came… .and despite the hazelnut flour in the recipe, the waffle was very light and delicate, and the combination with the jam and sour cream is so perfect that it would have been impossible not to devour the whole dish !!
Anyway, after the experience of gluttons , we ended the celebration by turning off the candle on top of a homemade donut so cute, fresh and still warm, that reminded me of the rain cookies that my grandmother made when I was a child …
Important note: despite the impeccable and efficient service, we felt constant pressure from the waitress to finish our celebration soon and clear the table for the next customer… if that happens, don’t let yourself be pressured and enjoy your time here (at this moment, the reality check reminded me that I really am in NY, where time is money, not in a French Brasserie lost in the alleys of Paris).
When we left there, around 9:30 am, the queue was long and it was only Wednesday.
If you do not want this formal and more expensive experience, as the menu options vary between 15.00 and 23.00 dollars), it is very worthwhile to visit Balthazar’s Bakery, which is right next door, and have a coffee in the “grab- and-go ”very typical here. The pastries and pastries, as well as the breads, are always fresh. Choose an experience the size of your pocket and enjoy these fantastic flavors that NY offers, even if they are “French”.
80 Spring Street, New York, 10012
For more information: www.balthazarny.com
“Balthazar… .ah! Balthazar… ”