Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brunch Bets: Mark Forgione

Suddenly (and completely out of character), I'm writing brunch posts. I guess Steve has-- at least temporarily-- ceded his "Brunch King" crown to me (I'm sure he'll take it back soon enough). It's not that I'm against brunch-- I just prefer to make my own eggs and drinks at home without dealing with huge crowds/aggravation on weekends. But, on the last day of my parents visit we needed a brunch spot to fill us up before watching what turned out to be another crappy Cincinnati Bengals game.

Pretend it's brunch-time.

I'd previously drooled over Steve's pictures of his dinner at Marc Forgione (from which I've shamelessly reused the exterior picture), and was pretty excited when my mom suggested we go there for brunch (credit where credit is due).

I misunderestimated the amount of hassle I would encounter cutting around the Fulton Street subway stop on a weekend and ended up arriving way too early. I hung out at a coffee shop around the corner waiting for my parents while walking around this peaceful stretch of Tribeca to kill time. It was breezy and bright when I finally met them at the restaurant at 11:30 (also when they open--we were the first ones in).

After a late night out, I was ready for rejuvantors in the form of coffee, water, and a spicy Bloody Mary (strong on the horseradish and served with olives, peppers and a vinegary piece of shrimp). Alternating between the three (plus sips of my mom's fig mimosa) definitely got the job done.

Marc Forgione's brunch menu hits all the high points of what you'd normally crave on a weekend morning, making it extremely difficult to just pick one dish.

Baked Anson Mills Grits (only pussies use any other brand) with Gruyere cheese and an egg in their somewhere, are pictured here with the shade falling dramatically across their surface (along with a menacing piece of toast jutting from the grits like a straw).

I was ready to order the burger listed on the menu (prime Creekstone Beef, with a fried egg and parmesan nugget potatoes), but the daily special steak burger beckoned. Details are scant, but it was dry-aged beef (I think cut from the strip), served with the obvious soft-poached egg, tomato and a piece of lettuce. The potato wedges were also crispy and well seasoned, while the sweet pickles cut the fattiness of pretty much everything else I was eating.

In retrospect, I should have gone with the burger normally on their brunch menu, which is much more in agreement with my typical burger tastes (caramelized onions, potato roll, cheese). I liked the special burger, especially for the funky aged beef flavor combined with egg yolk, but I think I would have like the normal one even better (next time for sure).

My mother's breakfast sandwich containing bacon and soft-scrambled eggs, also hit the spot (especially for using a Parmesan popover instead of toast). The chili sauce on the side is delicious, but will overpower most everything else.

Waitress! A round of french toast for the table!

This statement was made by my Dad, who has pulled the "French Toast For Everyone" move before. I don't disagree with his methods at all-- simply professional brunch-eating technique.

Essentially our dessert: Brioche French toast with caramelized bananas, walnuts, maple syrup and a frothy dollop of whipped cream. I dipped the non-pictured side of crispy bacon into the whip cream and syrup like a true American.

Service was friendly, knowledgeable and responsive-- no complaints. Sitting by the window on a sunny Sunday morning did almost as much to fix my hangover as the food. All this, plus a great value (including bottomless mimosas for $14) and non-insane crowds puts Marc Forgione near the top of my not-at-all-comprehensive list of brunch spots.

Marc Forgione
134 Reade Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 941-9401


Restaurant Marc Forgione (Forge) on Urbanspoon


  1. that french toast is 10,000 calories, but who's couting right ;-)

  2. What's 10k calories plus everything else I ate that morning?

  3. omg... don't worry you are flying on your phone/twittering it away, you burn all the calories hahah!

  4. In that case, I may have to double my twitter usage to keep up with my eating.

  5. Restaurant is awesome!!!

  6. Wait the Bengals lost? To whom?

  7. Anxiously awaiting your next review!

  8. Thanks! The Bengals lost to the Browns that day. Embarrassing as usual.

  9. i have been there. great spot.