Sunday, June 6, 2010

GC II: The Infamous Brunch at Clinton St Baking Company

I have a serious love/hate relationship with Clinton St. Baking Company.  If you ask me my favoritest restaurant in New York, I would say Clinton St. Baking Company, because it is my absolute favorite.  But where there comes such passionate love, there is also passionate hate.  I hate that it's so good at what it does, leading to queues of 2 hour long waits for tables on weekends because the place is so small, it's so popular, and it is just so good.

The process has improved a touch since I'd last been here, about a year ago.  Previously, the hostess scrawled your name in random areas on an 8 X 11 sheet of paper.  How she was ever able to decipher the order of the names was beyond me, which I am sure contributed to excessive waits for some people over others.  This time, they had a little stapled packet of list shaped paper, and the hostess provided an estimated seating time.  We were given 12:45, which was about an hour and fifteen minute wait.  With a party of 4, the seating time sounded about right.

We were not seated at 12:45, however.  We sat down at about 1:30p.  Two hours.  Pain.

Luckily, Traci, her boyfriend Geoff and Greeshma are ever patient people, and we did enjoy each other's lovely company in the shade of the New York heat.  The hostess also gave us a couple of cookies in the final stretch of the wait.  I am a sucker for consolation prizes.

Traci and Geoff survived the wait !

We immediately ordered our food upon being seated.  Traci, Geoff and Greeshma all opted for the "Southern Breakfast" after I described to them that the dish included fried green tomatoes.  They did not need to hear anything else.

The Southern Breakfast came with fried green tomatoes, sugar cured bacon, grits and 2 eggs.  If you do not like grits (like me), they will substitute the grits for hash browns (yay!).  Everyone loved the grits though and found them particularly creamy.  Their hash browns are fantastic also and resemble crisped mashed potatoes.  Love love!

Greeshma's Southern Breakfast with the prettiest scrambled eggs and my favoritest sugar-cured bacon. 

I got the Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich:

The Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich comes with scrambled eggs and cheddar on a biscuit topped with homemade tomato jam (read: marinara) and hash browns. You can add bacon for a 2.50 more, which is an obvious choice.  This picture is from a previous visit, where I opted for the tomato jam on the side (which I would recommend, because eating this like a sandwich is impossible, and knife-and-forking it and dipping it in the sauce is the better way to go).

This is what dreams are made of.

I do like the buttermilk biscuit here (buttery and moderately crumbly), but I was quickly reminded that if you also order pancakes, do not get the biscuit sandwich.  The pancakes become impossible to finish !

And of course we ordered the pancakes.  Blueberry to be exact.  We all shared two stacks of these suckers.

Clinton St. pancakes are the top pancakes in my list of favorites.  They are incredibly moist and fluffy, since they whip in egg whites into the batter right before cooking them.  The Maine blueberries were phenomenal.  I could sleep in between those blueberry soaked layers.  And then when you add in the maple butter sauce.  Well.  I'm a pancake prisoner for life.

They also offer banana walnut pancakes, which the group did not care to order, but I do recommend if you're a banana fan as I am.  The bananas are tucked into each fold and are deliciously hot and tasty.

These used to be my go-to pancakes, but now tasting that blueberry has me second-guessing myself!  You really cannot go wrong with either.

Here's also a shot of their french toast, which I would also recommend.  It is ridiculously light with a tinge of orange / citrusy flavoring.  Comes topped with caramelized bananas and pecans.  Delish.

Interesting factoid: Traci is dating a genius.  Geoff created the most perfect breakfast creation here: a pancake and sugar-cured bacon sandwich.  A-maze-ing !!

And then he fed her the last bite of the blueberry pancakes even though it looked like he kind of wanted it himself.  What a man !!

All in all, the group agreed that the first bite of food made them forget the entire wait itself.  It's that good. 

When you plan to eat here in the future (notice it's when and not if!), I would recommend the following:
  1. Eat here on a weekday.  The breakfast / brunch menu is considered their "Everyday" menu every day of the week.
  2. Eat later on Sunday - they recently announced extended brunch hours until 7p !
  3. If you only want blueberry pancakes, it is offered every night on the dinner menu.
  4. Get takeout.  If the wait is super long, consider this option and eat it on a stoop nearby.  (I think I may start doing this myself)
  5. And lastly, if you must eat here on the weekend, go as a couple.  Couples were getting seated much more quickly than larger groups.
After Clinton St, I made Greeshma try my other fave, Il Laboratorio del Gelato.

Of course, as luck would have it, they did not have any cinnamon flavor that day (despite the fact they've had it just about every other time I've visited).  Greeshma's luck = serious fail ! :(

So, we got other flavors.  They ran out of basil while we were there, but we both snagged a sample and agreed it was unique and wonderful.

Mine: strawberry and milk chocolate.  Wonderfully flavored and impossibly smooth.  The strawberry had lovely specks of actual seed.

Greeshma made mint chocolate with flavors of mint (refreshing and cool) and dark chocolate.

Perfect fuel for some shoe shopping later!

And that was Memorial Day brunch / lunch !

4 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002-170346) 602-6263
Clinton St. Baking Company on Urbanspoon

95 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002-3112
(212) 343-9922
Il Laboratorio Del Gelato on Urbanspoon


  1. seriously my life is not complete without going here. I WANT THOSE PANCAKES. THEY LOOKS SO TANTALIZING. just to be clear, i want everything else, too. all of their plates and your plate, too.

  2. i came back for the pancakes. and now i see that i left a million comments!! hahah. will fix that now.

  3. WAIT WHERE DID MY COMMENTS GO?!?! hahahhah blogger is really confusing me right now.