New York is the brunch capital of the world. Perhaps brunch’s popularity can be traced back to Carrie Bradshaw and her “Sex in the City” clan, or maybe Manhattanites are just looking for an excuse to enjoy a late morning, boozy breakfast. Either way, in New York, brunch is a Sunday ritual sandwiched between doing the New York Times crossword puzzle and going antique shopping. As brunch became a Sunday institution in New York, the lines got longer, and the mimosas got weaker. The meal became divisive. Brunch became a fad, a trend for those with disposable income and time. It was lampooned in episodes of “Portlandia.”
Today, brunch is being reinvented in New York. Jamie Young, the former chef at Atera, is leading the charge. Young’s newest restaurant, Sunday in Brooklyn, is a three-story place on Wythe Avenue. The building’s red-brick exterior resembles an English townhouse, but the inside features stucco white walls, palm trees and gray marble tables. The space is configured as a three-story market, espresso bar, and dinning room. The to-go market isn’t a gourmet market like Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but an extension of Young’s kitchen. According to partner Adam Landsman, the idea is that guests will see how Young incorporates items into his menu and will be inspired to buy those items and cook with them at home.
Sunday in Brooklyn has a dinner menu, but it’s the hedonistic brunch that attracts the biggest crowd. Young’s versatility as a chef is on display with fluffy scrabbled eggs, shoestring potatoes, pecan sticky buns, and breakfast sausages made in house. However, nothing compares to the pancakes. Coated with hazelnut-praline syrup and brown butter, the pancakes taste like Italian gelato. “Portlandia” could never lampoon something so delicious.