A few months ago I acquired a gift certificate to a highly-Zagat rated restaurant, York Grill, located on the Upper East Side, at 1690 York Avenue. The gift certificate was for York Grill’s acclaimed prix fixe Sunday Brunch.
I arrived by bike and when I entered the restaurant the hostess immediately asked if I had anything to check, then, realizing that I had no coat, she offered to check my helmet. I obliged. (Note that the entryway is confusing. The door to the right of the dining room leads to an apartment building. The entrance to the left of the dining room will take you into the restaurant.)
Inside the main dining room, the decor, with its exposed brick, eccentric artwork, and perfectly laid silverware, reminded me of some of the fancier restaurants I have dined in around New York. I was worried that, in my jeans and sneakers, I might be underdressed at this uptown haunt, but I was not the only diner who had arrived casual. Although, there was decidedly a divide between the old New York and new New York brunchers, with the latter group way outnumbered. As one dining companion noted, “It’s so old New York, they’ve dropped the new!” Even our waiter, a handsome and distinguished looking gentleman, seemed like he could be a shoe-in for some wealthy New England politico, if not for the fact that he continuously came to the table to ask how we were doing and was immediately and incredibly responsive and accommodating to all of our requests, including when one dining companion asked for no less than seven fillings in an omelette, after the waiter had explained that “omelette your way” meant two or three fillings could be added.
Each prix fixe meal included a glass of champagne, mimosa, or bloody mary. Although the menu also suggested that the brunch began with a fresh basket of muffins, we were brought a basket of warm sweet breads, including some topped with melted chocolate. Combined with what tasted like a light berry cream cheese, these breads did not disappoint.
We were next each served a fresh fruit platter. On it, neatly arranged, were crisp, pleasing pieces of fruits, a welcomed small appetizer before our main meal.
My two companions then ordered omelettes, and I decided to try the blueberry pancakes with scalloped apples. It sounded like an intriguing combination.
While the omelettes did garner good reviews, I must admit that the pancakes were not my favorite (and certainly do not hold a candle to those at Cafe Luluc). The menu refers to the blueberry pancakes as “fluffy,” but they were anything but. The pancakes were quite thin, and were smothered in so much blueberry sauce that I could hardly see what was underneath it. The pancakes were not inedible… To the contrary, I finished nearly my entire plate. However, I would not say that these pancakes are York Grill’s best showing.
Perhaps if the prix fixe menu were half the price, I might return sans gift certificate, especially considering the exquisite service. However, as there are countless restaurants with more reasonably priced prix fixe brunch menus, and fluffier pancakes, I likely will not be back.
whatsgoodinny is a NYC blogger who writes for A Blog About Things to Do, See and Eat in NYC.