Breakfast at the Breslin
Although the Breslin is best known for the black magic April Bloomfield works on animal parts, its breakfast menu is an unexpected repository of vegetarian delights.
Warning for the easily affronted: The photos that follow were severely compromised by both a shitty lens and the Breslin's shitty lighting.
A delectable case in point is the poached eggs with curried lentils ($14), blurrily pictured above. Served with toast, yogurt, and a long, winding sprig of cilantro, it's robust, satisfying, and deceptively simple.
The dish's complexity is hidden in its curry spices, which exude a reassuring, sweet-savory heat. The spice makes an apt counterpoint to the yogurt's cool tang and the snap of the cilantro. Once the eggs are broken and swirled together with the accompanying ingredients, the resulting mash becomes one of the best things ever to be piled on toast. And the Breslin's toast is deserving of its cargo: Grilled and brushed with olive oil, it's a crispy, salty paean to the endless joys of carbohydrates.
The Breslin's pumpkin pancakes ($15) are also both vegetarian and fairly delightful: They're served with candied pecans, spiced butter, and a dusting of powdered sugar, and griddled to fluffy, crispy-edged perfection. As straightforward pancakes go, they're delicious, thanks in large part to the pecans and generous quantity of butter, which could make steel wool taste good.
But a warning to fellow pumpkinphiles: The pancakes don't really taste like pumpkin. The bright orange sauce drizzled over the pancakes seems to be there to make you think of pumpkins, but the actual flavor remains elusive. Also, you're paying $15 for three coaster-sized cakes, which is really kind of awful, even by New York nosebleed standards.
Personally, we'd rather spend our cash on the curried lentils, a breakfast dish as superb and unique as any you'll find in the city. And as a bonus, you can order it at an hour when the restaurant isn't remotely crowded. The surrounding calm is good for the soul, not to mention digestion.
20 West 29th Street