One of the best things about New York is brunch. But, one of the worst things about New York can be brunch. It seems to only take a few weeks before the word is out on a new place and the oh-so-nice relaxed ambiance morphs into a zoo, and you are off in search of somewhere else to go on Saturdays and Sundays. Many don’t take reservations, and some seem to amass lines that defeat the relaxation weekends should entail.
I recently had a friend in town and decided to branch out and try Garage in the West Village. Not only do they take reservations, but they have a nice sized menu, and feature live jazz during their Sunday brunch (without some of that unstated-built-in live jazz fee most restaurants might as well add a la carte to their menus).
We opted for reservations, although they did not appear to be an absolute necessity. While they have great outdoor seating, you couldn’t hear the jazz ensemble outdoors, so I would recommend indoor seating if you want to feed your ears as well as your stomach. I really liked the ambiance of the restaurant; it featured a huge bar area by Manhattan standards, with seating all around the bar as well as along the front window. I imagine this would be a great place for happy hour after work. They also have a nice cozy upstairs area (with a fireplace!) that would make for a great date spot.
All brunch items are $15.95 (or $21.95 for unlimited mimosas, screwdrivers, or bloody marys – limited to 1.5 hours), with the exception of a few items with a slight surcharge (such as the NY strip steak). The acoustics were great, with the jazz ensemble tucked into the left side of the room on an elevated platform. I would come back for the jazz alone, but the blueberry cream cheese stuffed French toast along with fresh warm blueberry syrup sealed the deal for me. I would definitely recommend this one as a good value brunch option.
Garage – 99 7th Avenue South – 212.645.0600