Sip is a very small restaurant located in the Upper West Side, just a bit further south from Columbia University. It’s mostly comprised of two tops and enough space to maybe accommodate at most two larger parties of six, of which we were one on Saturday. They have something I haven’t seen a lot of in the city – a three course prix fixe brunch special, including drinks, all for $25 (or $12 with all you can drink coffee, tea, and juice). For drinks, you can have your choice of mimosas or bloody marys. Though it might mean the mimosa flow is a tad slower, I really like that they use fresh hand squeezed orange juice. See the pulp along this empty glass? Fantastic. I did notice however in my second visit the drink glasses were smaller (things places think they can sneak by with, but never really can).
For your first course, you can choose from a pastry (several options – plain croissant, pan de chocolate, etc – varies from day-to-day), fruit plate, or toast. I always go with the fruit plate, which is really a bowl full of assorted seasonal fruits. This time, it was grapes, raspberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. Kiwi, I missed you. It’s a plentiful serving and is always very ripe and fresh. Nice way to start off the meal.
For the main course, you have a choice of the omelet of the day (past Saturday, this was chicken liver), French Toast, eggplant sandwich, or mac ‘n cheese. I really loved the eggplant sandwich the first time, so I couldn’t bring myself to change it up. The eggplant is slathered onto the bread in a more pureed form, topped with red peppers and melted mozzarella cheese. The bread is a tad hard for me, but works to hold up against the eggplant. I’ll take hard bread over soggy bread any day. It was served alongside the vegetable of the day, which was curried corn. The last time the vegetable was sauteed asparagus. Impressive choice over the usual default of mesclun greens
Even though it was simply summarized as French Toast, the dish itself was anything but plain. The bread was actually raisin bread. In between each half, comprised of two bread halves, was a thick block of cream cheese – close to 1/2″ thick. Instead of being topped with syrup, the toast was topped with a white vanilla bean sauce. It was definitely unique and on par with some of the more involved and innovative takes on French Toast. It’s presentation on the menu lead me though to recommend asking more, especially if you have any food allergies or are particular about how something is prepared.
One friend finally tried the dish we were all curious about yet not quite inclined to order – their macaroni and cheese. It was prepared with sharp white cheddar and had been baked to a very light golden brown, smothered in a heaping helping of bread crumbs. The verdict was positive. The cheese was flavorful, and paired well with her chosen third course (really more of a side) – chorizo.
Other third courses included their billionaire’s bacon (brown sugar coated bacon – my current bacon fave in the city), home fries, and broccoli au gratin. The bacon is so good, one of my friends ordered an extra serving (oh yes, it’s worthy). Their homefries are more like roasted potatoes, chunky and round, simply seasoned and coated mainly in olive oil.
Sip is a fabulous place for a low-key brunch with food that doesn’t come close to settling for mediocre. The music is great, yet not overwhelming, and the service is very attentive. I’ll be back, and mac, I’m coming for you…
Sip – 998 Amsterdam Ave (between 109th & 110th St) – 212.316.2747
Reservations Not Accepted