There are few restaurants in New York City where you really feel like you are somewhere else. Sure, there are quite a few where if you closed your eyes, you could easily be anywhere else, but Belcourt fits into the first category. It really feels like you are in Paris. Certainly not the East Village. We arrived at noon on Saturday, and watched as the restaurant began to fill up quickly around us. There was a mixed crowd – young families, young professionals, you name it.
We started with an order of their fresh buttermilk biscuits. The biscuits were absolutely fantastic. They were warm and fresh and had almost a creamy taste about them. They were served drizzled with local honey, ricotta and fresh preserves. Take a look at the menu and you’ll see two interesting items sprinkled regularly throughout the menu – local honey and ricotta. The honey here was subtle and I found the ricotta, when mixed with the preserves, a better compliment to the biscuits than butter could have dared to be. (I know, blasphemy for a Southerner.) However, $7 for two small biscuits? Belcourt needs to rethink this, as that’s a bit of a rip-off.
They have an interesting mix of unique brunch drinks from which you can choose. Our drink was champagne along with elderflower essence. I daresay it’s the best brunch drink I’ve had. It was unique and just perfect. Sometimes I just find that orange juice seems to overpower a mimosa and sometimes champagne straight is just too much. The elderflower essence was the perfect compliment. Their drinks in general range in price from $8-$9, although watch your bill. Ours was charged incorrectly based on the menu prices, something they were very kind in rectifying. I can say though that I’ve yet to find a brunch cocktail elsewhere that compares – but I continue to search…
For my main course, I went with their Vanilla and Bourbon French Toast. It came served with their house made ricotta and maple syrup (local New York state made, of course). The bourbon influence here was subtle in comparison to the heavier vanilla presence. The French Toast was soft without being soggy. It was pretty darn perfect. While I was doubtful again on the ricotta, I have to say after a ricotta-heavy brunch that I’m officially a convert. Amazing. My friend said her order of shirred eggs, which included mushrooms, spinach, maple cured bacon, manchego cheese, and grilled bread was okay, but not amazing. Not usually a French Toast fan, she said she’d much rather have ordered what we did. I have to say I agree. I’d be curious to come back and try their dinner offerings. They also have an oyster happy hour, if that’s your thing!
Belcourt – 84 East 4th St (at 2nd Avenue) – 212.979.2034 – Reservations available for dinner only. Brunch is first come, first serve.