No matter the season, brunch is a favorite weekend activity for thousands of New Yorkers. This is particularly evident in the warmer months when restaurant-goers can enjoy lovely weather along with their early afternoon meal. For those looking for a special brunch experience in a modern setting, the Irvington at the W Hotel is a restaurant worth adding into the rotation.
The two-story space is spacious and bright, with an open kitchen where guests can see the chefs hard at work. Situated inside the W Hotel right off of Union Square, the location is ideal for a meal and a walk through the nearby farmer’s market. The restaurant’s décor is accompanied by interesting starburst light fixtures, and floor to ceiling windows on two sides. Although the kitchen is open, the noise is not overwhelming and the spacing between tables is such that guests are not sitting on top of each other. The restaurant has a rustic yet modern feel, with a large wooden bar taking up a bulk of the space.
The Irvington uses juices from Liquiteria, which are local, organic and cold-pressed, offering many health benefits. For guests suffering through a hangover at brunchtime, the Irvington sells a juice drink called Killer XX, which is made with apple, ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper. The ginger and cayenne go a long way to wake up the palate in preparation for some great food. Another worthy option is the Grasshopper cocktail – their version of this classic minty drink is a pretty pistachio green color with pebble-sized ice that gives the effect of a tiki cocktail. The ingredients include Stoli Vanilla, Crème de Cacao, half and half, Grasshopper Liquiteria and Crème de menthe, served over ice and garnished with fresh mint. For those who love minty candy (like Peppermint Patties), think of this cocktail as a play on mint chocolate chip ice cream (without the chips)! Pricing for the Liquiteria sits around $8.75, with cocktails at $16. While steep for brunch, the fresh, cold pressed juice within the recipe helps to make up the price.
Guests can’t go wrong with the food, either. Delicious pastries come from the local bakery at Balthazar. The chefs also know how to cook up a mean omelet (we liked it with goat cheese and ham). The French toast is a real treat, naturally sweet with raisins, walnuts and caramelized banana. The thick bread melts in the mouth, and the presentation is top notch.
Overall, brunch at The Irvington is a worthy weekend option. The staff is attentive, the food is delicious and the drinks will put some pep in your step after a long night out!
Location: 201 Park Avenue South at 17th Street
Opened: March 2015
Total capacity: 193
Good for: Brunch with friends, first date, hanging with the family
Not good for: Looking for an inexpensive Bloody Mary or a dark place to hide with a headache
Sara Gorelick spends her time in the world of spirits, working as an Account Director at Colangelo & Partners by day and a freelance writer by night. Her work has been included on ShakeStir.com, Examiner.com, BarNoneDrinks and other hospitality-related outlets. When Sara isn't working, reviewing or writing, she can be found laughing with family and friends or taking long walks with beagle Bailey. Follow her at @smgorelick.