Sunday brunch is one of the unique, transcendent privileges of life in New York City.
From breezy coffeeshop lattes and croissants to big steak, egg and Bloody Mary feasts at greasy gastropubs, the brunch ritual is one many city-dwellers look forward to all week.
Whenever a restaurant can prove itself as a consistently reliable way to cure a hangover and please the taste buds in a stylish room, the lines are guaranteed to be long. In the case of Chelsea's Cookshop, all of the above have been true for years.
Hawking rich walnut-raisin French toast with vanilla-mascarpone cream, toasted almonds and roasted pears, inimitable fried-egg-and-Italian-sausage sandwiches and juicy grass-fed burgers each day from a High Line-accessible location at 156 Tenth Ave., the Cookshop is a Chelsea institution.
Not to be overlooked, the cocktails, selected by Richard Luftig, offer more than just the proverbial hair on the dog. Specializing in brunch favorites like Champagne cocktails and Bloody Marys, their takes on the classic drinks are more inventive.
The elderflower float is a delight, combining Prosecco & light St.Germain elderflower liqueur, while the pomegranate-habanero margarita brings together habanero-infused tequila with lemon and pomegranate juice to create a cool, refreshing concoction with just a tinge of back-of-tongue heat.
One other key Cookshop draw is the space, which is large, airy and bright on a sunny Sunday morning, and just loud enough to wake you back up from drunken slumber. The name Cookshop is based in the tradition of the 19th-century cookshops, which where private homes where cooks shared home-cooked meals.
That philosophy goes hand-in-hand with what the eatery's Web site says about head chef Marc Meyer, whose culinary passions run deep for sustainable ingredients, humanely raised animals and the support of local farmers and artisans. The menu at Cookshop - American with a nod to the Mediterranean--stays true to Meyer's respect for the earth and its bounty, the Web site said.
Grapefruit brulee, accented by creme fraiche and brown sugar, is a great start to a morning (or late afternoon, depending on when you rise) at Cookshop.
The range of entrees offer a tour through tastes, from the lighter end of the spectrum--a delicate, white shrimp salad of market lettuces with accents of radishes, chives, fennel, celery root, mustard-citrus dressing and Aleppo pepper--to the heavy end with three-egg huevo rancheros loaded high in a wide bowl with black beans, ranchero sauce, Monterey jack cheese, lime creme-fraiche, and jalapenos all piled atop warm tortillas.
Everyone in my party was full and buzzed by the end of the meal, but we lingered for another 45 minutes once we had finished eating--we had waited half-an-hour for our table after all--just sipping mimosas and gazing at the people (including actor Seth Green) who stumbled past the window, perhaps in search of their own table at the Cookshop, Chelsea's go-to brunchspot since 2005.
156 Tenth Ave.
Brunch Entrees: $12 to $18
BREAKFAST: Monday thru Friday 8am to 11am
BRUNCH: Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm
LUNCH: Monday thru Friday 11:30am to 4pm
DINNER: Monday thru Friday 5:30pm to 11:30pm
Saturday: 5:30pm to 11:30pm
Sunday: 5:30pm to 10pm