Eat This: Brunch at Locanda Verde
Locanda Verde opened in 2009 to some fanfare as the new Robert DeNiro establishment. DeNiro is a part owner, and his last venture at that spot, Ago, did not fare so well. However, Locanda Verde has gotten some pretty wonderful reviews, including two stars from Frank Bruni at the New York Times.
If you are looking for a special occasion brunch, look no further. Located in Tribeca, the restaurant is beautiful and airy, with enough tables to cut down on a long wait, but you can make reservations. The beverages all sound delicious, but if you’re not in the mood for alcohol the Tre-Stelle, which is the house juice made with pomegranate, blood oranges, and Valencia oranges is superb and refreshing. Although at $7 it’s not cheap. The cocktails are $12.
I highly recommend beginning with an appetizer, something I never really do at brunch. But at Locanda Verde it’s hard to pass up. The first time I was here, on Valentine’s Day, we got the Sheep’s Milk Ricotta, a specialty of the restaurant. The creamy cheese is served with truffle honey and burnt orange toast and it was sublime; really one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The second time I was there, for my husband’s birthday, we got the Pastry Misti del Giorno, a trio of the pastries of the day by pastry chef Karen DeMasco. DeMasco is a genius and her pastries have been much lauded by many. That morning we enjoyed a lemon rosemary muffin, a strawberry scone, and a cinnamon and sugar donut, served with a lovely strawberry jam and creamy butter. The scone was transcendant, the others very delicious.
Both times I’ve been there, I ordered the Soft Scrambled Farm Egg Crostino for my entree. It is a plate of the softest, lightest scrambled eggs with leeks and herbs served on a piece of toasted crostino. It also comes with a side salad that is among the best salads I’ve ever eaten. I don’t usually get so excited about salads, but this one is a thing of beauty. It consists of arugula and hen of the woods mushroom and has an amazing lemony parmesan dressing.
On his birthday my husband ordered the Organic Oatmeal with stewed fruits and almonds. It was light and creamy and delicious and perfect if you’re not in the mood for eggs, but don’t want to splurge on pancakes or French toast–especially if you’ve already had the pastries for an appetizer! However, the Hazelnut-Crusted French Toast, which comes with a lovely citrus salad, is delicious, of course. My husband had that on Valentine’s.
So, if you’re looking to splurge on calories and money at brunch, Locanda Verde is an ideal venue. And afterward you can enjoy the lovely Tribeca streets, especially in summertime.