I FINALLY had an excuse to go this past Sunday to celebrate my buddy Josh's 25th Birthday!! (Happy Birthday, Josh!!) His family treated him & his friends for a fantastic brunch.
As I walked through the restaurant to get to the table in an adjoining room, I couldn't help but notice all the fantastic looking brunch plates on the other tables. There was french toast, crepes, blintzes, and various omelets and fresh juices. Each table had a large basket of various sliced breads, fresh butter, and various crocks of jams and jellies. This was my favorite part. I'm not a big juice girl because the acid kills me, but the freshly squeezed oj was just fantastic. As I scanned the menu, I realized again that I'm just not a huge breakfast fan. I don't cook breakfast foods very well because I rarely eat breakfast. If I do have a meal early in the day, it more closely resembles some sort of lunch.
At the suggestion of our hosts, and because everyone else was doing it (Damn you, peer pressure!) I went with the all-you-can-eat salad bar. Let me tell you why this was a mistake for someone like me.
- I just don't eat huge meals early in the day. Granted, we started eat at about 2pm, but a buffet meal is something that fits dinnertime much better for me.
- The salad bar is the same salad bar that they have in the main specialty food store that they weigh for people to take food home. Everything is cold. It was a fantastically large food bar with tons of choices. However, the hot foods were all stone cold and they wouldn't heat it up in the restaurant.
- I loaded up my plate, not realizing all the food was cold and was in for a rude awakening when I dove into my paella. It was all very tasty and I was able to load up a HUGE plate of food which still adhered to my no-meat policy.
- After my one plate, I was stuffed, and I felt like I didn't eat enough to make that plate worth it.
- Josh's uncle ordered cheese blintzes and they looked delicious! Absolutely delicious!!! So, that kicked in my food envy.
After brunch, we all walked around the specialty food shop located on the lower level. As a foodie, I felt like I was shopping through Tiffany's. I was excited with the options at every turn. A huge array of imported and domestic cheeses, shelves of olive oils and vinegars, and countless other wonderfully high-end food items. Being the UES, the prices were ridiculous. (Much like the prices of jewelry at Tiffany's.) However, it was fun to window shop!
Eli's is located at 1411 Third Ave. Have fun, but bring a clean credit card or a ton of cash if you plan on coming home with souvenirs.