Brunch is a meal long loved by diners but hated by those serving it. No top chef wants to be working Sunday at 10 a.m. after a week of late nights, so brunch often has been known for surly cooks, B-team staffers and leftovers getting a new life on the plate. But now some fresh ideas are percolating along with the coffee at New York City's better restaurants. "So many restaurants are opening these days, everyone has to step up their game -- brunch included," says Joe Campanale, owner of a fleet of restaurants and wine bars, including Dell'Anima and L'Artusi.
Three trends are part of the new brunch landscape:
1. Bigger, better cocktails
The Bloody Mary is out. "I like lighter drinks at brunch," says Campanale, "especially ones made with Italian aperitifs." At Dell'Anima (38 Eighth Ave., 212-366-6633, dellanima.com), "Blame it on the Aperol" ($48), made of Aperol, gin, lemonade and Prosecco, is served in a pitcher. "Pitchers are festive, with everyone sharing something," he says.
At Saxon & Parole (316 Bowery, 212-254-0350, saxonandparole.com), try a pitcher of the classic Pimm's Cup, a perky combination of Pimm's, Hendrick's gin, curaçao and homemade lemon soda ($52).
At the new rooftop bar of Pod39 (145 E. 39th St., thepodhotel.com), mixologist Sam Anderson offers cocktails to share, served in a carafe, including The Colada ($65) with Bank Five Islands Rum, coconut puree, pineapple juice, lime juice, Fernet Branca and Angostura bitters.
2. New York City-made products
Although the city lacks farming acreage, it produces plenty of fine foods. For the new brunch at Ardesia (510 W. 52nd St., 212-247-9191, ardesia-ny.com), chef Amorette Casaus sources products from her favorite purveyors, including granola from The Granola Lab (with yogurt, $8) and jellies from The Jam Stand (spread on Amy's Bread, $8), two Brooklyn-based businesses. "You want to support your community," says Casaus. "Not because it's trendy, but because it's the right thing to do."
At the North End Grill (104 North End Ave., 646-747-1600, northendgrillnyc.com), the Thai basil in a few different brunch dishes comes from the nonprofit Battery Park Conservancy Urban Farm that teaches local kids about agriculture.
3. Southern dishes
Southern cuisine is trending everywhere at all meals, and the Dixie leaning now pops up at Craftbar (900 Broadway, 212-461-4300, craftrestaurant.com), where chef Lauren Hirschberg offers shrimp and grits ($19) as well as pork scrapple with eggs ($16).
For brunch at Telepan (72 W. 69th St., 212-580-4300, telepan-ny.com) chef Bill Telepan serves biscuits and gravy with house-made breakfast sausage and poached eggs ($32).
Even an Asian restaurant, Silk Rd Tavern (46 W. 22nd St., 212-989-7889, silkrdtavern.com), is getting in on the act with shrimp and miso grits with ginger and scallions ($19).