Brunch for Spies!

Northern Spy Food Co.
511 E 12th St
(between Avenue A & Avenue B)
New York, NY 10009


Another brunch post!  This time a little less “alternative” than Hummus Place and Maharlika, but still not quite the traditional brunch like Prune.  I was so intrigued about this place because of its name.  Northern Spy Food Company… a restaurant that serves food for Russian spies?


Not quite… quite the opposite actually.  Northern Spy Food Co. is a homey little restaurant that is named after a New York apple called the Northern Spy.  The wooden furniture and delicate flower patterned wallpaper work together to evoke a warm countryside setting.  We ordered the buttermilk biscuits ($5) with apple butter to fully immerse ourselves in the wholesomeness.  The apple butter was amazing actually seemed like it had more apple than butter – definitely homemade.  It certainly didn’t need any more butter because the biscuits came out warm and super buttery.  The slight tartness of the apple butter melded very well with the biscuit.  I was very pleased!

L.C. and I both ordered the Kale Salad ($12) with cheddar, sweet potato, almonds, pecorino, and two baked eggs (+ $3).  Kale seems to be the new “it” vegetable.  It is popping up in all the NYC restaurants as sides or salads.  Then again, is it only because I just started noticing the vegetable?  Or is it really showing up everywhere… Kale is in the cabbage family and apparently contains a lot of sulforaphane, a chemical with anti-cancer properties, and indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA cell repair and helps block the growth of cancer cells.  Woot!  With all the cancer research craze going on, it would make sense that this vegetable is gaining popularity.  It is also very fibrous (I was so full after this salad!!) and really gets your digestive system going, like… really really does.  If that isn’t enough, Kale also gives a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, and K (a cup with 180%, 200%, and 1020% of our daily intake respectively).  If you understand the Chinese concept of heat, or 上火, Kale also helps to cool your body down, or 清火.

The dressing was a very light vinaigrette and was made creamy with the pecorino and eggs.  Gosh the eggs were cooked so perfectly, gooey… just the way I like it.  You could really taste the roasted flavor in the almonds too which added a layer of complexity to the salad.  I wish there was more sweet potato because the sweetness went very well with the slight bitterness of the kale.  I was worried that a salad wouldn’t be filling enough but with the hefty vegetable and the eggs were very substantial.

LAW and K.L. both got the Chicken and Egg sandwich ($12), which consisted of a (small) piece of crispy thigh,  a poached egg, and chimichurri sauce sandwiched together by a soft roll.  The bread was very soft and fluffy with almost no crust.  It had so much excess flour on top that anytime any of us took a bit, we would be left with a flour moustache.  Chicken thigh was tender but just far too tiny.  It only took up a the center of the roll so much of the eating consisted of just bread and a thin layer of chimichurri.  I think they should either cut down the size of the bread (and therefore the price) or pick a bigger piece of chicken.  One of my biggest pet peeves is eating a sandwich with disproportional ingredients.  The egg was of course, the size of an egg and therefore also did not fill up the sandwich.  A sunny side up egg where you can somewhat control the size of the egg white would be better.  Flavors were great, so great that I wish it came with an extra side of the chimichurri sauce because I would have liked to drench the sandwich with it.

A.W. and R.Y. both ordered the Corned Beef Hash ($15) which consisted of beef brisket, confit potato, and poached eggs.  I only had a bite of it so can’t tell you too much about the dish but it tasted like any other corned beef that I’ve had.  Not better and not particularly worse.  Eggs were well poached and potatoes were soft.

I will definitely come back for the Kale Salad and will ask for extra sweet potatoes.  I actually didn’t know of all the nutritional benefits of Kale so will now make an effort to have it whenever I can!


2 thoughts on “Brunch for Spies!

    1. Thanks, CY! Wow, you learn something new everyday! Good ol’ wikipedia tells us that, “Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown.”

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