Spicing up Brunch with Paprika

This past Saturday I enjoyed a hearty brunch at the East Village’s up-and-coming unassuming eatery Paprika. With a crowd shortly after their 12pm brunch opening, I figure that East Village dwellers are tweeting phenomenal reviews across the web or their $12 brunch is JUST that good. Could it be both? I was about to find out.

First off, arriving at Paprika at 12pm was the smartest thing we could have done. On my walk over I noticed enormous crowds waiting outside of other St. Marks favorites like Cafe Orlin and Cafe Mogador – tsk, tsk. By 12:45, Paprika was already packed with large groups of hungry brunch fiends like myself. And who could really blame us with a $12 brunch including coffee or tea, orange juice, and a healthy selection of main courses — we were pumped!

Our party of five ordered the Scrambled Green Eggs, Polenta and Salsa Cruda and the Mushroom and Fontina Omelette with Sausages and Tomatoes. Both dishes were absolutely delicious – beautifully presented, aromatic, and satisfying! The pesto in the green eggs made the dish bright and flavorful and tasted wonderful with the fluffy polenta and salsa cruda. The mushrooms and fontina in the omelet were also very tasty although I could have done without the accompanying sausage. But despite the richness of the omelet, the staff was polite enough to substitute egg whites for me at no charge – so I had no complaints!

I’d absolutely recommend this rustic, homey restaurant for brunch or dinner! I look forward to returning for their specialty – Northern Italian Cuisine! And in addition to their budget friendly brunch special, Paprika also offers a

two-course $15 prix-fixed dinner Monday – Thursday from 5-7pm. If you’re lucky, you may even experience a celebrity spotting!

PAPRIKA

110 St. Marks Place

Between 1st & Ave A

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Lunching at Prune

Prune

PRUNE

I must admit that eating out all the time becomes exhausting! I usually cook at least two times a week, but I’m sure you’ve figured out, by my lack of recipe posts, that I wasn’t doing much of that this week. Wednesday afternoon I was actually taken out to lunch by a business associate that happened to ask me where I preferred to eat. Since these “business” lunches come far and few in between, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and suggest Prune, a restaurant in the East Village that I’ve been wanting to visit for quite some time.

Prune is a quaint small eatery on East 1st Street that seems to blend in with the rest of the small neighborhood shops. It’s likely that you’d walk right past it, dismissing it as a boutique, if you hadn’t heard of it. Prune dishes out an eclectic mix of American cuisine and entertains a limited lunch menu consisting of about eleven “main courses”. Prune also houses a small bar that I hear serves up a mean Bloody Mary.

It seemed that my business associate and I were the only ones that were potentially doing business in what now appeared to be a 26-seater hang out. The other patrons were adorned in their street clothes and having leisurely lunches over coffees, newspapers, and political conversations.

Though we weren’t all business, we certainly knew what we wanted to order as soon as we sat down. I ordered a tap water and my colleague ordered an Iced Tea. The Iced Tea was served with a small shot-like glass of simple syrup, which I had never seen before. Apparently Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain serves their Iced Tea in the same manner. Our drinks were brought out with what I’d consider an amuse-bouche of celery, olives, and a side of sea salt. According to Wikipedia, an amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouche are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are according to the chef’s selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served as an excitement of taste buds to both prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to cooking.

We started with the Empress Crab Claws that were served with tabasco butter. Although I felt the tabasco butter was a bit overwhelming for the delicate meat of the crab, a sprinkle of lemon greatly enhance its flavor. I happened to like the way they were served, as the flesh of the Crab Claw seemed to slide right off its cartilage. Though I don’t think my colleague had as easy a time with them.

For our “main courses” we ordered the Grilled Tuna Club and the Beef Brisket. The Tuna Club was good, though it lacked an appropriate portion of Tuna. It also seemed that the Tuna Club was served on two different pieces of bread, one being sourdough and the other white toast. Though this didn’t bother me too much, the sandwich was good. But Prune’s french fries were probably the highlight of the meal for me. The french fries were perfectly crisp and salty, similar in style to McDonald’s french fries. My colleague’s beef brisket was good, though I found its flavoring somewhat overpowering. But the meat was certainly moist and falling off the bone as a good brisket should be.

Overall, I enjoyed lunch at Prune, though from what I hear, Brunch is what they are best suited for. I initially heard of Prune because of their rave Brunch reviews. Although I hear there is a long line for Brunch, I’m sure it’s worth the wait.

PRUNE

54 East 1st Street

(between 1st and 2nd Avenue)

Amuse Bouche?

Amuse Bouche?

Empress Crab Claws with tabasco butter

Empress Crab Claws with tabasco butter

Grilled Tuna Club On Sourdough with aioli and arugula

Grilled Tuna Club On Sourdough with aioli and arugula

Beef Brisket, Braised with Spanish paprika & rosemary

Beef Brisket, Braised with Spanish paprika & rosemary

Crystalized Ginger

Crystalized Ginger

Le Check

Le Check

Prune's Bar

Prune's Bar

Prune's Kitchen

Prune's Kitchen