A couple weekends ago, I spent wayyy too much money, but was rewarded with amazing meals, particularly in the brunch arena. First of all, there was the Tartine I got at Tartinery in Nolita. A Tartine is a French open-faced sandwich, and it is fantastic. At Tartinery, you can choose to have any of their traditional or creative topping combinations on Poilane bread which is imported from the Germain-des-Pres bakery in Paris. Sound awesome? Well, it is. The bread is sliced thin, yet still manages to be hearty with a rustic texture, and is sturdy enough to support a generous helping of quality ingredients.
I decided to stick to traditional French cuisine, and got the Ratatouille Tartine: oven-roasted peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. The melty goat cheese on top lent a rich and tangy note to the vegetable-laden toast. The Tartine was accompanied by a delicate salad of romaine hearts with walnuts and really delicious, salty parmesan shavings. The whole meal was simple and done right, reminiscent of a quaint Parisian bistro. Although it was a bit pricey, it was worth it to diverge from traditional brunch food. Plus I felt like I was getting my money's worth, since it is clear that Tartinery takes pride in their ingredients and over-all presentation.
And now let's go all-American at The Smith!! Oh my goodness, I only have great things to say about this place. Where Tartinery left me comfortably satisfied, The Smith, in appropriate American fashion, left me unable to move for a good ten minutes, and unbelievably satiated. I got the Country Breakfast, and substituted the ham steak for their homemade maple chicken sausage, which was probably the best decision ever. Besides the tasty sausage patties, which were smothered in rich gravy, the dish was comprised of cheddar jalepeno grits, melt-in-your-mouth scrambled eggs, and a buttery biscuit that was bigger than the palm of my hand. But don't worry, I still managed to eat it all.
The walls of The Smith are plastered with black and white pictures and portraits from the early nineteenth century, connecting the diner even more with the food they're eating and the rich history behind it. Just being there, eating my biscuit, put me in the best mood, which is all you can really ask for at brunch. And so, when what I want is fantastic American fare, to The Smith I shall go.
On a less romantic note, I can't wait to try their dinner after seeing a picture of their mac and cheese just now on their website... I may have to very soon...you know, for the blog.