I could hardly believe I was about to enter the hidden East Village restaurant Northern Spy Food Co. last Saturday, but indeed my Wisconsinite friends and I sauntered in at 11:30AM to brunch (<–yes, that’s a verb) in true New York City fashion. Months passed since this local foods-focused joint was first recommended to me by my fellow blogger at Kalefornication; my eagerness only grew with the handful of other recommendations I’ve gotten since then.
Entering through the part in the heat-blocking curtain at the door was a somewhat dramatic affair, but the crowded, cozy tables of diners that lay beyond proved to be even more full of life. We were able to get a table without much of a wait, and were lucky enough to be seated at a much quieter booth just beyond the hustle and bustle of the main dining area.
Northern Spy’s ambiance is important. It’s homey–every element was clearly crafted with intention. Even the bathroom was impressive. I felt like I was in a luxury outhouse and I did not want to leave.
The food. The food. The brunch menu is composed of maybe 5 cocktail choices and 8 or 9 entrees. The list is fairly simply, but the ingredient combinations are bold, and most are sourced locally. I’d much rather have fewer choices if I can be assured each choice is stellar. And all four entrees that we tried certainly were.
The kale salad is a delicious twist on a typical brunch salad; I liked it topped with two baked eggs. The open-faced mushroom sandwich was creamy and earthy and wonderful, and the pecan-topped French toast was deeply comforting. My personal favorite was the polenta with market greens and two baked eggs. The only place I’ve ever had a better serving of polenta was in Italy, and well, they know their polenta. Northern Spy’s is seasoned perfectly, just creamy enough, and complimented nicely by the sautéed greens and a little runny yolk from the baked eggs. Ohhhh.
I love simple, bold food. I love food that’s local and not overpriced. I love private booths and homey decor and bathrooms that feel like luxury outhouses. And I’m definitely newly in love with Northern Spy Food Co. Who will accompany me there next? You? Pretty please?