The Baron is back from his hiatus up north. Appropriately, it was a movie entitled "Sunny Side Up." Unfortunately, no brunches were served in the making of this film.
For my first brunch back in Astoria, we decided to go to Pommes Cafe (http://www.pommecafeny.com/Pomme_Cafe/About.html) on the corner of Broadway and 38th St. It is a French/New Orleans style cafe.
Joining the crew for this outing were The Red Queen, El Generalissimo, The Kiwi, Dr. Colonel Sanders, The Neighbors (who have earned their own nicknames: Mayor McCheese and Susie Q), The Lady of the Book, and finally my best friend from elementary school, the Lighting Lord and his girlfriend, The Seamstress.
It was a beautiful fall day when we showed up and the manager was really nice about putting together a table large enough to accommodate our frigate.
When we first sat down, we were greeted with free baskets of gigantic, warm croissants and little cups of nutella to spread on top. This proved to be dangerous as we all gorged ourselves enough on the croissants that I don't think a single one of us managed to finish our meals.
Well, maybe the Kiwi. For such a small man, he can pack it away.
The Pommes Cafe brunch special consists of coffee or tea (free refills), a free drink (bloody mary, bellini, mimosa or pommes mimosa which is made with apple juice), and a breakfast dish for $14. Everyone took advantage of this deal except for Lighting Lord, who decided to go for a grilled cheese which wasn't part of the special.
The Red Queen and El Generalissimo had spent the previous week at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, which LL and the Seamstress also attended. They are from DC, so it was a little easier for them to go. Hence, most of the table conversation revolved around us pestering them with questions. Best signs they saw: "I have a sign" and "This sign contains proper grammar and spelling." Apparently, it was a very pleasant and reasonable event, and I'm sorry I had to work during it.
Despite a rather extensive menu, most of us ordered either the zucchini and gruyere omelet or eggs benedict. I thought my omelet was a little bland, but some salt and pepper helped a great deal. Even though it was a light, fresh tasting dish, I couldn't finish it due to my earlier croissant splurging. It comes with a side of home fries made with brussels sprouts, or rather a singular brussels sprout. I'm not a huge fan of the sprout, so it didn't bother me that there wasn't much sprout in the dish. I have to say, mixed with the spicy home fries, it may have been the best part of the meal.
Especially when you consider the beignets I ordered were dry. Then again, the only other time I had them was in New Orleans, so is that a fair comparison?
Those who ordered the eggs benedict raved about the hollandaise sauce, while the Kiwi, who ordered the french toast thought it could use more syrup. He said it was solid, but not spectacular.
Mayor McCheese ordered the hangover mix, which he said was essentially two meals in one, especially because "there's a block of cheese grated over the top."
Finally, LL ordered the grilled cheese, which was a nice mix of cheeses and very brie-heavy.
As with all meals there were highlights and lowlights. The main problem with this meal was with the communication between the servers and the kitchen. The grilled cheese and french toast were somehow left off the order (due to a computer error), so they arrived after everyone else had dug into their meals. I fully understand a computer error, but when we informed the servers that we were missing two dishes, there didn't seem to be any rush to rectify the situation. Many other tables were served before LL and the Kiwi got their dishes. To be fair, the servers were kind and considerate, but a little hustle on their or the kitchen's part would have been appreciated.
The highlight of the meal, though, was the bloody mary. It was chunky and veggie filled with the perfect amount of horseradish. Just like I want it - enough veggies to fool yourself into thinking it is good for you and enough alcohol to make sure it isn't. It might be the best one I've had at a brunch in Astoria (or at least close to the Sparrow's smoked bloody mary).
All things considered, it was a pretty average brunch, and I'm not sure the free croissants and bloody mary make it worth another visit.
Until next time, Happy Brunching!The Baron