Thursday, June 11, 2009

Josie's East can't reverse my hatred for brunch

I am about to make a bold statement, one that will make most of my readers exclaim, "What?!?" and express their disagreement. Here goes: I hate brunch. I. Hate. Brunch. It's always at the wrong time, disrupting two mealtimes; it's over-hyped and over-priced; and all the yummy things on the menus I can't eat. Yes, I know you love brunch, it's your favorite meal of the week, it's such a relaxing time, especially in the summer, when you can sip unlimited mimosas and ease your way into oblivion on a Sunday afternoon before easing your way into the workweek. Well, let's put it this way: I understand, but I don't agree.

So last Sunday, my parents were driving back to Massachusetts from Long Island, and they wanted to stop in for a meal. Well, in late morning/early afternoon on a Sunday, that means brunch. So I picked a place near the Midtown Tunnel egress, made a reservation, and gritted my teeth. Around 1PM, AV and I met the illustrious Mom and Dad for brunch at Josie's East.

Fighting the foot traffic in Times Square left AV and me running a few minutes behind, so when we arrived M & D were already at the table. There were slices of coffee cake awaiting us, along with a small dish of applesauce. I tried the coffee cake, which looked much, much better than it tasted. The apple sauce (not pictured) was fine, perhaps even a bit orange-scented, but it puzzled me slightly. Were were supposed to dip the coffee cake in it? Spread it on there? Eat it plain out of the dish? AV, M, and D solved that conundrum by simply leaving the applesauce alone; I took a few spoonfuls and left it at that.

Looks goods, tastes bland

We placed an order and waited a fair amount of time for the food to arrive, despite the fact that the restaurant was only half-full or so. Finally, the food arrived. Mom had ordered the peppercorn-crusted rare yellowfin tuna salad, which comes with baby arugula, roasted fennel, oven-dried Roma tomatoes, shaved parmesan, and "organic golden balsamic vinaigrette." She requested romaine instead of arugula (one of the things I'll never understand about my mother...), a request that was fulfilled without argument. She actually liked this salad quite a bit and gobbled it up. From my perspective, it looked, well, okay, even though the "shaved parmesan" actually looked eerily similar to the powdered stuff that comes in a green can.

Pretty tuna, like a deck of cards

Dad had gone with the veggie burger, an interesting choice. It was covered with cheese and roasted portabello, which he dutifully peeled off and offered to the table ("Mushrooms scare me."). I ate the mushrooms, which were actually quite delicious. As for the burger itself, described as an "Organic three-grain, mushroom, soy cheese veggie burger," Dad reported that it was mushy. Such is the life of non-Boca veggie burgers.

Veggie burger accompanied by more veggies

AV selected the eggs benedict, also known as "toasted organic whole wheat English muffin, grilled Applegate Farm un-cured ham, natural poached eggs & our classic dairy-free hollandaise." Unfortunately, despite the delicious-sounding ingredients, apparently this was thoroughly disappointing and thoroughly cold. The accompanying potatoes were cold; all the ingredients were cold... sigh. AV ate it without complaining because that's the kind of guy he is. But I'm disappointed on his behalf.


My own selection, since I had eaten my own breakfast/lunch before we left (in yo' face, brunch!), was just a simple fruit salad. With watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries, this was actually a pretty good and fresh fruit salad. But it was tiny. After finishing this one quickly, I ordered another. And let's be real here: for $5, the cost of each salad, they should really give you a vat of fruit. Oh well, at the very least it was tasty.

Delicious but pricey

After all was said and done, I was cold (yes, it was eighty-plus degrees but I was cold), so I ordered a tea. It looked sort of cool, so I include a picture here:

Like a beaker. Of tea.

Overall, even if I were a huge brunch fan, Josie's would be somewhat disappointing. It trumpets fresh, organic, yadda yadda yadda ingredients, and it prices its dishes accordingly, but the food actually isn't that high quality. So it ends up just being overpriced and mediocre. I don't plan to return to Josie's for brunch, but I'd even steer clear for lunch or dinner. It gets two Offset-Spatulas and a "look elsewhere" recommendation.

Josie's East
565 Third Avenue, at 37th Street

No comments: