1.More elevated than any brunch dish deserves to be, the Crab Toast from Burch nudges all other toasts into the middle of next week. Yes, even guacamole toast. Here, pulled crab meat light and lush as sea foam is mounted with lemony buerre blanc for an experience that borders on the lascivious. Draped with a barely cooked fried egg and finished with good olive oil, this is a dish befitting of the stunning Laguiole cutlery that usually only graces its blade against the finest cuts of aged beef.
When a waffle bombarded with Nutella and bananas and powdery sugar makes its way onto a table, it usually means toothache planes of sweet. But at L'Etoile du Nord, Liege waffles are a complex, savory craftwork, where the aroma of fermentation melds with the complexities of fine Belgian chocolate. The Nutella in question here is housemade and as serious as a thesis. There's nothing for kids about this — the banana is as sugary as any of it gets.
Landon Schoenefeld has done for pancakes at Nighthawks what the Williams women have done for tennis. Who even knew it could be this good? He's elevated these flapjacks to an item worthy of evening dining (though they're available all the time) with a complex fragrance, tender chew, and sponge as fine as the best brioche. But then by adding permutations like lime/coconut/pineapple, chorizo/cheddar/corn, bacon/kimchi/scallion, and several more, it would be possible to return eight days a week and never repeat a flavor. All of life should be filled with such bounty, choice, and skill.
Le Town Talk Diner's is a quiche to end all quiche, with a curd so billowy it's like rolling cumulus clouds around upon your tongue. The crust contains a creamery's worth of butter, with a crust flaky as birch bark falling off a trunk and tender as flower petals. Next to a stringent green salad it's continental, no-nonsense, and pure class.
Chicken and Kimchee Rice bowl, Seward Co-op Creamery. Like dessert before dinner, fried chicken for breakfast feels like breaking all the rules in the best possible way. Like the Yum Yum Bowls from World Street Kitchen before it, rice + egg + meats + kimchee is everything you need, and nothing you don't, for any time of day. But at brunch, this is a meal to lay down a foundation for all of Sunday's must-dos, can dos, and will-dos. Or, just take a nap afterward.