Say buh-bye to Benedicts and bloody marys: Brunch is on a diet.
Long the bastion of leisurely weekend indulgence, the late-morning social tradition has found itself on a health kick. Chicken and waffles are being edged off the menu by bone broth and grain bowls, the better to cap off an early-morning sweat sesh (what, you’re hung over?)
“People are a lot more health-forward now, so we want to prepare vegetables in a way that’s as delicious as something covered in gravy,” says Jaime Young, chef and co-owner of South Williamsburg’s brunch hot spot, Sunday in Brooklyn.
Here’s what the city’s buzziest brunch spots have added to their menus to attract the juicing masses.
“In Australia, the healthy breakfast is pretty standard,” says Jake Hawkins, the delightfully accented Aussie chef at Greenwich Village brunch spot Banter. The Down Under-inspired cuisine incorporates omega-3 packed foods such as avocado and fish into highly Instagrammable spreads. Among the items health nuts flock to is the classic Avocado Toast ($13) on sourdough and the picturesque Golden Folded Egg ($15), which comes with green salad, a quarter of an avocado and a piece of toast, “if you want,” Hawkins quips to us carb-eating types. 169 Sullivan St.
Think light — very light — at Sunday in Brooklyn. Here you can sip a breakfast of chicken bone broth steeped with wild garlic ($8) or the “house blend” juice with carrot, apple, beet and lemon ($9.50). Want something more solid? Try the wholesome chia bowl ($13) or the warm brown rice bowl with kale, avocado, a jammy egg, sprout salad and sunflower seeds ($16; $24 with smoked salmon). Don’t let the emphasis on veggies and grains deter you, Young says. “Grains are definitely not boring,” he says. “I love flavoring them with a shiro miso [paste] — it’s so alive and cultured.” 348 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg; 347-222-6722
One of the biggest morning crowd- pleasers at Nolita Mediterranean spot Shoo Shoo is the Shoo Shoo Breakfast ($24): two eggs any style, Israeli salad, smoked salmon and an assortment of dips and spreads for various types of bread, including the gluten-free variety. Seasoning is minimal because, as co-owner Albert Bitton says, “every vegetable speaks for himself.” A fresh herb frittata, the Idge ($15), comes with a cool cucumber labneh dip. Or have what Bitton, the co-founder of the Clean cleanse program, has for breakfast every morning himself: a Shoo Shoo Smoothie ($13), made with banana, mango, raw tahini, dates, date honey, walnuts and almond milk. “When it comes to smoothies, I have a Ph.D. in that!” 371 Broome St.; 646-590-6800
The bright orange root that’s believed to help battle inflammation is the guest of honor for brunch at the Little Beet Table. Enjoy turmeric-spiced pancakes with blueberry and banana ($16), washed down with a turmeric latte ($5). Swelling be damned! Also noteworthy: the gluten- free banana bread sweetened with a house-made hazelnut spread ($12). A healthful brunch is the best cure for a rough night, says executive chef Matt Aita. “You’re hung over but you still need something to make you feel a little better,” he says. “With these dishes, you won’t feel bogged down or overly stuffed — you’ll feel invigorated and full of light and energy.” 333 Park Ave S.; 212-466-3330
Local farms supply the goods at Chelsea’s Cookshop, where you’ll find dishes such as Grains & Greens ($17) — three fibrous grains with nuts, seeds and veggies — and tonics including a probiotic kefir smoothie with granola ($12). And the keto crowd clamors for the restaurant’s take on Bulletproof coffee ($8) — coffee, clarified butter and MCT oil. “People were asking for it,” says Cookshop co-owner Vicki Freeman of the buttery blast of caffeine. “A lot of people wake up and have that every day.” 156 10th Ave.; 212-924-4440
At Bluestone Lane’s new cafe in Nolita, the Aussie coffee experts put a noncaffeinated spin on a veggie favorite: Their Beetroot Latte ($5) with almond milk and beet juice is a natural “detoxifier,” says the chain’s Andrew Stone. Sustenance comes via the toast bar, where you can have your topping of choice on a canvas of gluten-free fruit bread ($8), and a Breakfast Bowl ($15) of quinoa, sauteed kale, cherry tomatoes, avocado, feta and a poached egg — a magnet for “likes” on social media. “If your brunch offering is as healthy as it is Instagrammable,” Stone says, “you’ve got a two for two.” 19 Kenmare St.; 718-374-6858