Popover Cafe – Last Minute Brunch on the UWS

When you are on the Upper West Side and you want to go out for brunch, you need to understand that everyone, their aunts and uncles, their nannies and their best friends from college want to go out at the same time, at the same restaurants. The UWS is known for being a madhouse on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 11:30 AM and 3:00 PM. People wait for an hour or more to eat eggs and drink mimosas. Assuming that you feel (as I certainly do) that this is ridiculous),  you have 3 options on the UWS:
1)Make a reservation at least a few days in advance
2)Forget the plans completely, get some Bloody Mary mix and bagels and the supermarket and host brunch at home
3)Make it to brunch by 11 AM

I chose option 3 the day that I checked out Popover Cafe

The restaurant has the comforting feel of a Midwestern coffee shop – a little worn, but cheerful and familiar. And more than that, I was able to be seated at once.

 Popovers with Strawberry Butter

Popovers are similar to Yorkshire Pudding – a puffy pastry that can be either savory or sweet, depending on its accompaniments. The reason they are called popovers is because while being cooked, the batter puffs up and literally “pops over” the tin. 

The popovers here were exemplary – crispy and browned outside, concealing doughy, buttery layers inside that were steaming hot. The strawberry butter, made with butter and real strawberry pulp – no saccharine syrup here – released its summery scent as it melted on the popover. 

Creole Scramble-Andouille, Garlic, Onion, Horseradish, Cheddar and Tomato

I could eat this scramble every day. Though the ingredients are all assertive in their own right, they came together in a cohesive way. Spicy, garlicky andouille sausage with sweet caramelized onions, tangy cheddar, juicy bursts of tomato and the sinus-clearing kick of horseradish mixed with creamy scrambled eggs – cooked perfectly, not hard and not runny. They were extremely pungent and flavorful – not for the faint of heart, but then…neither is this blog. 

Carolina Dinah Special – Jambon de Paris, Red Eye Gravy, Cheddar Grits and Two Eggs

Jambon de Paris is unsmoked ham. It is cured in salt, unlike standard American ham, which is smoked. Usually it is served in thin shavings, but here it was grilled, which added a hit of meatiness to the salty, delicate tasting pork. With it were smooth, cheesy grits with small dices of green chiles – spicy, not to say hot. The eggs were cooked well, bu the piece de resistance her was the red eye gravy. A thin, deeply meaty gravy made with coffee and the drippings from the ham, this was unreal. Salty, meaty, a little bitter from the coffee, this added a complexity to the whole meal. I was dunking my eggs in it, my ham, my popover. I may have licked the bowl. 
Okay, I licked the bowl. 
Popover Cafe wasn’t cheap, but it was really delicious. For a place where you can eat an early brunch without too much of a wait on the UWS, check it out. 
Or, you know, buy that Bloody Mary mix and meet me at Casa Fritos and Foie Gras.

Comments

  1. JustinM says:

    I'm gonna make that scramble soon. Sounds great. But I will take out the tomato.

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin- you WOULD! Luckily, no avocado in there ;)

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