For the past few years, I’ve suffered through bad brunches at David’s favorite French cafe in the Lower East Side. Watery salads, runny eggs, bad mussels that made me puke all night, I’ve eaten it all. Of course I could have refused, but considering all the grilled intestine and pigs’ feet dinners he’s braved, it’s the least I can do. Give and take, right? So you can imagine how happy I am now that David has a new favorite brunch place: Macondo. Hallelujah! Finally, the weekend torture has ended.
The Torrijas ($9), brioche French Toast stuffed with cream cheese and agave nectar, is the the dish I have to thank for ending my many years of torment. Sweet, buttery, and exploding with cream cheese, the calorific Torrijas teeters on the brink of overindulgence. Fortunately, the airy brioche keeps it from toppling over. I’m not sure how he does it, but David always manages to finish every single bite.
The Benedict Columbiano ($14) is more my speed. A twist on an Eggs Benedict, Macondo’s version substitutes smoked salmon for ham, an arepa for the English muffin, and saffron lemon allioli for the hollandaise. The presentation is odd (“nipples of Venus” anyone?), and somewhat dated, but you can’t go wrong with poached eggs and smoked salmon on top of a griddle fried arepa, crispy on either side. I love arepas. The bland allioli, on the other hand, can use some more work.
As my routine, I also got a Bloody Mary, or in this case, a Bloody Maria (free with my brunch order). The first time I had the Bloody Maria at Macondo, I wasn’t sure I liked it. It was different. I finally learned on my last visit, that in addition to the usual ingredients, they also add red peppers into the Bloody Marias at Macondo. The taste of peppers in my cocktails are now growing on me. It’s unusual, but also interesting.
Macondo also has great tapas during the evenings. (The “A La Lolita,” a fig and mushroom croquette with truffle allioli is to die for!) Lucky for me, David is open to dinner at Macondo as well. Now if only I could sway his opinion on Dunkin Donuts…
157 East Houston Street (betw Allen and Eldridge St.)
New York, NY 10002