191 Chrystie St
(between Delancey St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002
Brunch is not just waking up too late on Sunday for breakfast but too early for lunch in NYC. Brunch is its own category of gastronomy here where people plan brunches weeks in advance. There’s the ladies-who-lunch, boozy-brunch, birthday-brunch, or any-occasion-brunch. Regardless of which it is, brunch is an activity that New Yorkers are willing to shell out the time and money for.
Freemans is a pretty classic NYC brunch place. Most people have heard of and have been to it. It’s tucked into a tiny alley that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The food is American comfort food. I’ve been here twice and my impressions both times were that they do all their food well. There’s nothing fancy or spectacular. The vibe is very much simple and rustic, just like how Gordon Ramsay would like it. Pictured here is the Skillet Eggs, Bacon, Spinach and Gruyere with buttered sourdough toast ($12) that I ordered. Portions are adequate, neither stingy nor doggy-bag worthy. My skillet eggs were runny and creamy, coating the bacon and spinach with a layer of yolky goodness.
LAW also ordered a side of Stone-ground Cheddar Cheese Grits ($5) because he very randomly LOVES grits and orders it anytime its offered on the menu. This was probably the biggest disappointment because the grits, as creamy and yummy as they look, were overly saturated with cheddar. It tasted almost more like cheese curds than grits. I do like cheddar, so managed to eat some of it. But it took the whole table to make a dent into this bowl.
S.S. ordered the Blueberry Pancakes ($12) which were thin, light, and fluffy. I could’ve made these, which is not saying they’re bad (hah). They’re just very simple. My only qualm is the price. Three little cakes should probably not cost $12. They don’t come near Clinton St.’s fatter and buttery-er pancakes – and those are $14.
Y.N. went with a healthier option and ordered the Egg White Omelet with fresh veggies ($12). The egg white was perfectly flat around round, adorned with little pieces of squash, zucchini and peppers. As simple as it looks, it actually tasted pretty amazing. The veggies in the omelet were incredibly fresh. I had a bite and the tenderness and natural sweetness of the veggies overwhelmed me. Surprisingly great.
E.C. ordered the manliest item on the menu: the Smoked Trout, hard-boiled egg, horseradish cream with buttered sourdough toast ($12). This is a meal for a real hunter and gatherer. Two boiled eggs ruggedly chopped in half, slices of what-looked-like home-smoked trout, pickles, and sourdough, all served on a what-looked-like a hand carved wooden tray.
Hmm, I guess looking back I really wasn’t impressed. Freemans is an incredibly cute restaurant but there isn’t a single item that pulls me back. It’s a place you agree to go to if your friends suggest it because you know it’s not terrible and it has a lot of space for large parties. Would I ever go out of my way to go back? Nah. I’d sooner go back for Prune’s benny.