Millennials & Mimosas: Essex

Brunch can be so many things for the millennial. It’s the best way to end a tough week. It’s the best way to get your drink on before the sun goes down. And, it’s the best way to connect with friends you don’t see as much as you wish you did.

Have you ever wondered where to go, what to order and what the scene is like? Well, Life in the QLC brings you a brunch review series meant to give you the best and worst of our brunch experiences. We care about how good the drinks are and if the vibe has us so hyped we forget it’s barely noon. And yes, sometimes the eggs benedict is important too.

Meet your Mimosa Millennials

Goch: I am my best person when I am at brunch. It’s honestly my favorite thing to do. There’s something about champagne and eggs with your best friends that makes me incredibly happy. I’m not a picky eater, and usually go with whatever food item on the menu has an up charge (hello, steak and eggs). I enjoy brunches with loud music and cool people.

Vinnie: What’s most important to me at brunch is how quickly my glass is filled up and how much fun I can squeeze into a 2 hour time slot from the first pour. You can have the best eggs benedict in town but if i can see the bottom of my bottomless mimosa glass or the vibe is wack, we’ve got an issue. Also – what are we doing after the check comes because, it’s still sunny out and we need to meet up with everyone else. 

Essex

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Quick Deets: Saturday Brunch hours are 10am – 4:30pm, choice of entree + unlimited bloody marys, screwdrivers & mimosas $34.95, 1.5 hour limit for reservations before 3pm, 2 hours after 3pm. Reservations go fast! 

Food

G: Ok seriously, is chicken fried steak, chicken or steak? That’s the question I asked before I ordered and honestly I’m still not sure I know. This dish came with a biscuit, it was mediocre. Actually the entire dish was very mediocre. But I wasn’t in the foodie vibe so I did not mind this. It provided the carbs necessary to not be black out by 1pm. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.

V: Wait, did I eat? I was very focused on the fact that Goch made our reservation for 11am instead of the standard 1pm that would give me time to be a real human. I panicked when the waitress asked and went with the grilled shrimp and avocado salad which I was not excited about- but then it came and was perfect ❤ Light enough that I could fit a few more mimosas than expected but yummy enough that I remembered it after all the champs.

Drinks

G: You know why I’m here. And so did our waitress, because she didn’t even ask if we wanted to participate in the bottomless brunch special. She just asked mimosa, screwdriver, or bloody mary. I obviously went with the mimosa because I am a classy bitch. The mimosas started off as very bubbly or as I like to call them “light-skin” but as our hour and a half continued I could tell that the vitamin C started overtaking the drinks. Essex has pre-made pitchers of mimosas that they go to each table to refill. I wasn’t really feeling that method but I guess they were going for efficiency. I ended my last 15 minutes with screwdrivers which may not have been the best idea, but who among us can truly judge? All in all, I never saw the bottom of my glass, so Essex passed this test.

V: I may have had heart failure when we learned that bottomless was for 1.5 hours as opposed to the customary 2 hours. BUT, the waitress was very great at making sure all 90 minutes counted. I stick with mimosas the entire time but the bachelor party bros next to us seemed to love the bloodys as well. I got a Manhattan at the bar afterwards as well but to be honest, I couldn’t tell you much about how it tasted or much of what happened the next hour or so. Guess we’ll need to go back to try it again.

Vibes

G: Our reservation was for 11am which is honestly a ridiculous time to get to a restaurant for a day of binge drinking, but it also means that this restaurant is a popular destination for the brunch crowd. When I walked in I begged our waitress to not sit us in the area by the door because I’ve been to Essex before,  and sitting there means you and the crowd waiting to be seated are one. We were eventually seated in one of the balcony areas. Our waitress was great and the vibe was standard. Nothing spectacular, but what can you expect at noon? After the allotted brunch time ended our waitress sent us on our way with one more glass of mimosa/screwdriver and told us that we could hang out by the bar. This was fun for a total of 5 minutes, then it became an awkward time of balancing drinks and making way for others to get by.

V: On. Point. The aesthetic is simple with lots of natural light and white walls that make you happy to be alive and brunching. Sitting up top on one of the 2 balcony areas gives you a little more seclusion to spill the tea with your friends while still scoping out after brunch date potentials. I liked that after our brunch was over some people that finished and some that were waiting to be seated all gathered around the bar to keep or get the party going. Music bumped throughout as well, more so as background music than something that took over the vibe.

After the brunch it’s the after party.

It’s now between 12:30 and 6pm, you and the crew are saucy and looking for where to go to keep the party rocking. These are your best bets.

  • Sons of Essex – For proximity to Essex and awesome music
  • Mr. Purple – For bougie vibes and Instagram pics
  • Hair of the Dog – For fratty vibes and cheap beer

*Extra perk – The graffiti wall in front of the restaurant is a prime location for THE best post brunch photo-shoots. 

 

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10 Restaurants to Visit this Spring

By Michael La Corte

As the snow thaws and the weather begins to warm, the spring is an optimal time to visit some of the city’s best restaurants for top notch meals and fantastic service (not to mention delicious libations). Whether you’re uninitiated with the city’s best offerings or you’re a fellow common restaurant goer, here’s a list of some of the best spots to check out this season:

 

Prune
East Village

Prune

A quintessential New York restaurant, Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune is straightforward, charming, and free of pretense. Hamilton’s wife, Ashley, currently runs the kitchen, but the food is as enjoyable as its ever been. Hamilton is also a NYTimes columnist and an author with some deeply enjoyable memoirs and cookbooks. If the lemon semifreddo is being offered as a dessert, do yourself a favor and DO NOT MISS IT.

Alta Calidad
Prospect Heights

An incredibly imaginative Mexican restaurant free of the trapping of the usual Mexican-American fare, this eatery boasts some super unique offerings (like pumpkin blossom quesadillas with oaxaca espuma) and some strong drinks, too. This spot is also quite affordable, but without missing out on culinary artistry and impressive flavor.

Miss Ada
Fort Greene

With authentic Mediterranean/Israeli cuisine and a beautifully decorated back patio, this Fort Greene restaurant might be the ideal spot for a spring dinner. Don’t miss their unusual hummus offerings or their spectacular octopus appetizer. The service isn’t ideal, but the food is pretty darn good.

Olmsted
Park Slope

Olmsted

A darling of the Brooklyn food scene that recently just added brunch to its offerings, Olmsted is helmed by Chef Greg Baxtrom and the kitchen is currently being run by Chef de Cuisine Jenny Treantafilos. With a minimal menu and no dish over $30, this tiny restaurant is a true gem. (I may or may not have ordered the entire menu except for 1-2 dishes. Whoops). Sitting at the counter overlooking the open kitchen is super fun, too, and you can have some great chats with the cooks.

Ko
East Village

If you happen to have an alarming sum of money readily accessible, go to Ko. Boasting 2 Michelin stars, the crown jewel of David Chang’s Momofuku empire offers a heck of a meal. With stunning service and 13-15 (!) courses, Ko provides the diner with a truly memorable evening that doesn’t feel stuffy or overdone.

Cote
Flatiron

Newly adorned with a Michelin star, Cote is the newest restaurant from the team behind Piora. A higher end Korean steakhouse in a club-esque setting, this is also an ideal party/birthday spot. Also quite affordable, Cote also has incredibly high quality meats and spectacular banchan to fully round out your meal. The grills on the table are obviously pretty darn fun, too.

Hemlock
Lower East Side

hEMLOCK

One of my favorite from an aesthetic perspective, this tiny eatery offers delicate, focused plates in a small space with an open kitchen. It is also boasts natural and organic wines. This is an ideal spot for a vegan or vegetarian, too. They also have some incredible desserts, too, and it’s probably optimal to order a whole slew of small plates for the table to enjoy.

Finch
Clinton Hill

Located in the bottom floor of a townhouse, Finch offers a full bar, two dining rooms, and a fully open kitchen. The chef’s welcoming nods and smiles are quite welcome, and although the service is oddly hushed, the flavors are anything but. Yet another spot that offers lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as some lovely and strong drinks.

Atoboy
NoMad

Honestly, this restaurant offers one of the absolute best deals in the city. For only $42 per person, each diner chooses 3 courses of Korean-inspired dishes that are absolutely stunning. Simultaneously subtle yet immensely flavorful, I still haven’t gotten over my meal at Atoboy. They also had one of my favorite desserts of all time, featuring burrata – a type of cream-filled mozzarella cheese – that must be tried to be believed.

Cafe Altro Paradiso
SoHo

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An offshoot of Flora Bar and Estela, Cafe Altro Paradiso is the Italian component of Matter House restaurants. Their fennel and provolone salad is a star dish, and the vaulted ceilings and all-white aesthetic makes this such a great spot for almost any occasion. They also have the “best burger in the city,” so that’s another good reason to stop by.

BONUS:

17 Summer Restaurant
Lodi, NJ

17 Summer

In case you find yourself in North Jersey sometime soon: come here for the best food you’ll get outside of the city.