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Best Brunch Spots for Traveling Foodies

By Serena Solomon | September 29, 2012 1:07pm

NEW YORK — For a city with thousands of restaurants within easy reach, a venue has to do something very special to become a destination. Some brunch spots are focusing on local ingredients and a farm-to-table approach, while others are offering the authentic international cuisine.

DNAinfo.com New York's foodie's brunch round-up will send you to Astoria in Queens, to City Island in the Bronx and to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, to brunch spots that are competing with the more established neighborhoods in Manhattan to become dining destinations that are worth the trip.

The Farm on Adderley

Address: 1108 Cortelyou Rd., Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Phone: 718.287.3101

Hours: Saturday and Sunday brunch is 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Good for traveling foodies because: The Farm on Adderley relies on locally-sourced ingredients, so the kitchen has to cook each meal with whatever is in season, according to Crito Guebie-Thornton, the general manager. It also butchers its own meat — half a steer and an entire pig are carved up the restaurant each week.

Visiting New York from Boston, Mike Crounse, 37, searched for the best restaurant in the area and Yelp.com led him to the Farm on Adderley.

"Especially when I come to somewhere different, I try to get something a little different," he said of the Red Flannel Hash he had just finished. "I have had hash before, but never had it with beets."

Crounse and his table of three sat outside in the Farm on Adderley's sun-filled courtyard, which had at least 10 more tables full of patrons.

"One thing I really like is it has that fresh feeling to it, and the coffee is excellent," he said of his brunch.

Best to Eat: The Red Flannel Hash combines red potatoes, corned beef, red beets and a sunny side egg with a side of beet mustard and salad ($12).

Bistro SK

Address: 273 City Island Ave., City Island, The Bronx

Phone: 718.885.1670

Hours: Brunch is offered Saturdays from 12 to 3 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Good for traveling foodies because: Owner Stephane Kane boasts that Bistro SK is "the only French restaurant in the Bronx," tucked away on the borough's small seaport community of City Island.

The charming bistro's $14.95 brunch special comes with bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys and your choice of an entree, which includes a classic croque monsieur, French toast brioche or crepes filled with ham, cheese and bechamel, served with a side of frites and house-made mayonnaise for dipping.

But Kane says their best-loved item is the eggs benedict and hollandaise.

"Most restaurants, they use powder," Kane said. "But we use a real hollandaise. We make it everyday."

Amanda Howard, 27, ordered the signature dish one recent Saturday and raved about its flavor.

"I think the best thing about it is the sauce," said the Parkchester resident, who drove out to City Island from the mainland with her boyfriend in search of breakfast. The two were dining at Bistro SK for the first time.

"It's a lot of food," she said. "I'm already stuffed."

Best to eat: Eggs benedict served with home fries and bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys, all for $14.95.

Edi and the Wolf

Address:  102 Ave. C, East Village, Manhattan

Phone: 212.598.1040

Hours: Brunch is on Saturday and Sunday between 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Good for traveling foodies because: The Austrian-born chefs, Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban, have let their county's heritage come through in their menu creating a classic brunch with a cultural flare.

Despite being a 15-minute walk from the nearest subway station, this out-of-the-way, Austrian-infused restaurant draws foodies for its Schnitzel Sandwich.

"Our friend recommended it [the restaurant] and said 'You have to try the schnitzel sandwich'," said Quentin Brackers, a Columbia University student from France.

"It is a classic Austrian dish," according to sous chef Michael Kollari. "Our owners are from there, so this is like home for them."

The restaurant's decor also creates a homely feeling with bunches of fresh flowers, hanging plants and a green courtyard out the  back.

As for Brackers, his brunch gang of three traverses the city each week for a new brunch place and had no problem walking the 20 minutes from the Lower East Side to get to Edi and the Wolf.

Best to Eat: The schnitzel sandwich is a decadent brunch option, with crumbed heritage pig, buttery brioche bread, pickled shallots and spicy aioli, served with a side of cucumber and dill salad. It costs $14 and includes a pastry basket, coffee and jucie.

The Fat Radish

Address: 17 Orchard St., Lower East Side, Manhattan

Phone: 212.300.4053

Hours: Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. from 4 p.m.

Good for traveling foodies because: This farm to table restaurant sources its ingredients from the surrounding farmers markets. 

If chef and restaurant partner, Ben Towill, raised a few eyebrows when he opened the Fat Radish in no man's land between Chinatown and the Lower East Side at the end of 2010, he is now raising glasses.

"The kitchen takes about three trips a week to the Union Square farmer's market," said assistant manager Slavica Dragojevic. "There is a really big focus on small farms, small production."

This philosophy makes itself known with dishes such as the All Greens Omelet with ricotta cheese. The green ingredients change each weekend and when DNAinfo.com New York visited, making the cut was curly and Tuscan kale, mustard greens, dill, cilantro and tarragon.

This restaurant attracts plenty of foodies from across the city willing to travel for its fresh take on brunch in a bright room with skylights and opened windows.

Best to Eat: All Greens Omelet with ricotta cheese with greens that change seasonally, at $12.

Astor Room

Address: 34-12 36th St., Astoria, Queens

Phone: 718.255.1947

Hours: Saturday and Sunday brunch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Good for traveling foodies because: The Astor Room is one of the restaurants that have put Queens on the map in the last 18 months for those with a well defined food palate.

Located inside the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Astor Room pays tribute to the location with both its menu and decor.

"It is a classic American restaurant in the style of the 1940s supper club," said owner Chris Vlacich, 40, who opened up shop about 18 months ago.

As for the foodie looking for an adventure, the Astor Room is located across the road from the Museum of Moving Image making the perfect pairing for a day trip.

"What is really popular is they make a day of it. They come and see the museum and the history and have brunch," said Vlacich.

Best to Eat: The Chicken Fried Steak is the restaurant's signature brunch dish that comes with two fried eggs, whipped potatoes and white gravy ($14).

Red Rooster

Address: 310 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan

Phone: 212.792.9001

Hours: Saturday and Sunday brunch goes from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Good for traveling foodies because: Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef Marcus Samuelsson brings out the taste of the neighborhood with a European touch at his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster.

"My grandmother, Helga, would gather us in the kitchen to teach us how to pickle fresh vegetables, and make meatballs, ginger snaps, cookies, and apple jam," wrote Samuelsson on his website, of how his adoptive family inspired his love for food.

"Spices are the key element driving taste in Ethiopian cooking," wrote Samuelsson, on what else influences him. "In Ethiopia, food is often viewed through a strong spiritual lens, more so than anywhere else I know."

In Harlem at Red Rooster, that spiritual element is amplified at Sunday brunch where the restaurant's menu of comfort food comes with a side of gospel as the congregations of Harlem's famous churches gather for Sunday lunch.

As for Samuelsson, he has been living in the Harlem for more than six years, and has put the neighborhood on the food map with Red Rooster.

Best to Eat: The menu has its heart in American cuisine with items such as Rooster Scrambled Eggs coming with tomato, parmesan cheese and chicken apple sausages ($15) or biscuit and red eye gravy with pork sausage ($16).

Additional reporting by Jeanmarie Evelly.

Read more neighborhood brunching stories here.