Brunch, bastion of eggs Benedict and Mimosas and refuge for later risers and early drinkers, is getting a wake-up call on Long Island.
It's the hybrid meal that encourages leisure for a few hours of the busy week. This loose, late-morning, early-afternoon union of breakfast and lunch has been around for more than a century. The first mention was probably in 1895, in a British publication, "Hunter's Weekly." The rationale: easing into a new day after a long night, enjoying idle time following ardent pursuits. By the 1970s, you'd "do" brunch, not merely eat it.
Brunch takes many forms, shifting with the decades, competing with the once-obligatory Sunday dinner. Brunch tempts with adjectives such as "unlimited" and "bottomless," with styles that take in everything from scrambled eggs to dim sum. There are jazz brunches and quiet affairs, big buffets and small plates. What used to be a Sunday phenomenon sometimes annexes Saturday, too. Themes abound.
The Lake House
The Lake House, Bay Shore: The Lake House offers a charming waterside setting, live jazz and classical music, and some appealing midday fare. Better choices include the duck confit with poached eggs, duck-fat potatoes and asparagus; eggs Benedict; Greek yogurt with granola; a lobster roll; and the filet mignon sandwich. Pastries, pumpkin pancakes, and French toast trail them. (Pictured: Maine lobster roll with housemade chips.)
INFO: A la carte menu, $11-$22; 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays
Limani, Roslyn: Long Island's temple-size Greek restaurant, Limani lures diners with brunch offerings that range from omelets to moussaka, smoked salmon and pancakes to cooked lobsters and shrimp, sushi rolls to prime rib, leg of lamb and roast turkey. It has more stations than local network TV. The lobsters are understandably popular. One beverage included.
(Pictured: A lobster and shrimp seafood buffet.)
INFO: Fixed-price buffet, $50, $25 for children 12 and younger; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
Lola, Great Neck: Excellent, inventive food and a stylish, modern dining room define Michael Ginor's Lola. Recommendations include duck eggs Benedict with smoked duck, duck prosciutto, sauteed spinach and hollandaise sauce; gravlax eggs Benedict; Israeli breakfast omelet; eggs poached with tomato, onions, peppers; and, if available, Korean fried chicken (pictured).
INFO: A la carte menu, $12-$20 per dish; 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
Three Village Inn
Three Village Inn, Stony Brook: Roll-top chafing dishes dominate the Three Village Inn's buffet. Improving on those often-dry choices are the carving station, with roast beef, pork and lamb; and the omelet station, where you may choose the ingredients. The chocolate fountain will appeal to younger guests. Adults stick with fresh fruit instead of the disappointing pastries and cakes. One drink included. (Pictured: Eggs Benedict.)
INFO: Fixed-price buffet, $31.95; $16, children 10 or younger; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays
West East All Natural Bistro & Bar
West East All Natural Bistro & Bar, Hicksville: West East sends out brunch dishes with Asian and American accents. Winners include the baked eggs en cocotte, with wild sockeye smoked salmon; scrambled eggs with duck bacon and seared breast from Crescent Duck Farm (pictured); curried pumpkin soup; "Bombay" gumbo with chicken, shrimp, chorizo sausage and garam masala; buttermilk pancakes. Unlimited coffee, tea, soda, selected cocktails.
INFO: Fixed-price menu, $24; noon to 3 p.m. Sundays
Garden City Hotel
Garden City Hotel, Garden City: For years, the buffet brunch at the Garden City Hotel has always meant an all-you-can-eat extravaganza. It starts with unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Marys and house wines, served from noon on. The big lure, though, is the chance to load up on lobster tails and crab claws (pictured). And plenty of sushi, too. To get the most from the cold seafood, give it time to sit on your plate and come to room temperature. Lox and cream cheese are there for the taking, but you may want to ask your waiter to toast your bagel. You can also head for the prime rib carving station, pasta station or chafing dishes with such entrees as Chilean sea bass and pork tenderloin. Still, the best eating turns out to be made-to-order waffles and omelets. Many like to conclude by dipping pieces of fruit into the ever-spouting chocolate fountain.
INFO: Buffet, $69 plus tax and gratuity, which comes to $81.59; children 12 and under, half-priced; 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays
Grey Horse Tavern
Grey Horse Tavern, Bayport: On Sunday afternoons, this gracious spot becomes a local magnet. The draw is chef Meredith Machemer's farm-to-table repertoire featuring eggs from a Pennsylvania farm with free-range chickens. There's a generous egg sandwich on Texas toast, as well as chicken and brown butter waffles featuring hormone and antibiotic-free poultry. Other choices Crabcakes Benedict, a fine Scottish smoked salmon/bagel platter (pictured), a Tavern burger with antibiotic and hormone-free beef and a vegetarian black bean and quinoa burger. Live music in the bar may encourage you to linger.
INFO: A la carte menu, $12-$19 per dish; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
Mill Pond House
Mill Pond House, Centerport: You get a grand view of Centerport's Mill Pond, whether seated upstairs or on the main level. And, when the temperature is above freezing, you can sit on the heated enclosed patio. Culinary standouts include the bright Southwest quinoa salad, comforting warm prosciutto and fried egg sandwich (pictured) and lush lobster omelet. Also on the menu: eggs Benedict, a seared tuna kani salad, house-made veggie burger and fish and chips.
INFO: A la carte menu, $8 to $18 per dish; noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Hendrick's Tavern, Roslyn: George Washington definitely didn't eat the lemon ricotta pancakes featured at brunch here, but his portrait adorns the walls of the former George Washington Manor, the restored estate of Hendrick Onderdonk, built in 1740. Cozy, comfortable, well staffed and perking with well-heeled diners, Sundays couldn't get better any place on the North Shore. Start out with a plate of homemade doughnuts with vanilla and Nutella sauces (pictured); try an ahi tuna poke, some huevos rancheros. Also on the menu salads, oatmeal, granola, burgers and a salmon paillard.
INFO: A la carte menu, $4 to $29 per dish; 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays
Pretty Toni's Cafe
Pretty Toni's Cafe, Valley Stream: "Where elegance meets soul" is the motto of Pretty Toni's Café, and that nicely sums up this brunch, graciously served in the café's chocolate-toned dining room and accompanied with recorded soul, jazz and R&B. The signature "breakfast bowl" features a turkey-potato hash, turkey bacon and sausage and sunny-side-up eggs; eggs and well-seasoned grits also anchor platters of salmon cakes and fried whole whitings. Plus omelets, croissant French toast, Belgian waffles (pictured), and 2-for-1 mimosas.
INFO: A la carte menu, $11.99-$13.99 per dish; noon to 2:30 p.m. Sundays
EAT Gastropub, Oceanside: Newly opened in October in Oceanside, EAT Gastropub is offering “The Garbage Plate” featuring poached eggs, Cheddar, bratwurst, chili, duck-fat fries and cheese fondue. Even the salads sound indulgent. “The Nest” comprises poached eggs, crispy onion, crumbled bacon, pickled vegetables, asparagus, roasted beets, mesclun, tomatoes, queso fresco and Champagne vinaigrette (pictured).
INFO: All entrees are $18 ordered “virgin style,” that is, without a drink; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays