Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Honorable Mention: Cafe Cluny's Breakfast Club

I'm a firm believer in the age-old adage that "everything tastes better when cooked by someone else." Not only that, but I'm also convinced that identical foods (even packaged ones!) mysteriously taste better when eaten out of the confines of one's own home. Whether it's whimsy or scientific fact, Cafe Cluny's breakfast club is the perfect example of a dish that's easy to reproduce but impossible to nail.

Flanked by egg-washed wooden benches and, on this day, an ice cream cart addition, Cafe Cluny straddles one of the quaintest corners in the West Village. The French-ish bistro is reminiscent of what you would suspect a Paris bistro to look like if you had never actually been to Paris - bright and airy, and staffed with mime-looking, Breton striped shirt-wearing servers. Except their outfits are most likely from J.Crew, not Petit Bateau. I've only ever been to Cafe Cluny for brunch, but I hear they pull their weight for lunch and dinner, too, serving ricotta and green garlic pesto stuffed handkerchief pasta (that just sounds delicious) and a supposedly awesome tuna burger.

Cafe Cluny's breakfast club w/ fried egg, lettuce, avocado, tomato and spicy mayo
(I left out of the normally included bacon) - $15
The breakfast club is the model embodiment of brunch - breakfast elements served in a typical lunchtime vessel. Its makings are simple, common provisions likely found in your kitchen, but don't fool yourself into thinking it would taste half as good chez toi. What really brings this brunch megamix together is the spicy mayo. It provides just enough kick to ignite your taste buds for the day. As well, it pulls double-duty as the perfect emulsifier to blend all of the ingredients together into holistic brunch bliss. Another of its high points is the seemingly non-choice you have regarding the bread. Your server won't ask you what type of bread you would prefer (white or brown), alleviating the need for that racist debate of good vs. cardboard. Fewf.

The sandwich comes with a choice of fries or salad. While I'm not big on skinny fries (I'm sure we can all agree that McDonald's has just set the bar too high), they are far better to dip into the surplus spicy mayo than pieces of lettuce.

Overall, Cafe Cluny is a safe bet for any time of day. With a frisée salad on the regular menu (you know how I feel about that), the place isn't the most Plebe out there, but in terms of bang for buck, portion size and reliability, it's par for the course.

Cafe Cluny
284 W. 12th Street
(212) 255-6900
I don't believe they take weekend brunch reservations via Open Table, but with two dining rooms (and the ice cream cart during the summer), the wait is bearable. Reservations are suggested otherwise.

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