Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant serves high-quality brunch and is best enjoyed on a weekday afternoon when there are no lines.I’ve been wanting to try this place for weeks now, but I couldn’t possibly justify the long waits described by avid Yelpers in which some of them have had to wait for 2.5 hours to get their pancakes. I’m also usually wary of popular American places due to many terrible experiences in the past, but the food photos from this place on Yelp looked really delicious.
We walked into this restaurant/bakery around 3PM on a cold day with outside temperature at -14 degrees, two hours before the restaurant/bakery was to close before dinner. Note that the kitchen closes at 4PM and the restaurant also serves dinner except on Sundays and reopens at 6PM. My eating partner and I got seated right away and started with the lobster bisque. For $9, it couldn’t possibly live up to the cheaper and life-changing seafood bisque that I’ve had in Pike Place Market of Seattle, but the bisque was as decent as NYC food “that doesn’t quite hit the excellent mark” goes. The creamy paprika soup and the small chunks of very well-cooked lobster left me satisfied. It did, however, have me looking up the amazing Pike Place Chowder, and I yelped in excitement over the discovery that they ship anywhere in the US. Update: I gave Pike Place Chowder a call at 866-249-5890 and was told that shipping to Texas for my friend would cost $62. FYI, they sell their traditional and specialty chowders at $13.95 for a quart. I can’t yet justify the shipping cost but if you’re throwing a huge winter party, I can guarantee you and your guests will love Pike Place Chowder’s Seafood Bisque.
Now on to the main items we ordered: Chocolate Chunk Pancakes and Brioche French Toast with Bananas and Roasted Pecans. Both were served with maple butter, and both were to die for. The only quirk we remarked on and laughed about with the young Japanese tourists on the next table was the largeness of the portions. We told the girls that most Manhattan restaurants usually have more reasonable portions. That opened up a discussion on other restaurants and bakeries in Manhattan and Brooklyn that we would recommend on their week in the city. The enjoyable conversation reminded me of why I keep this blog in the first place.
Since there wasn’t any way I could finish my French toast, I had it packed up to go and that alone was enough for “brunch” the next day. If you really want to try different things and you’re with a group, have one person order any of the pancakes, share said pancakes, and then try some of their other brunch items. Their dishes are very well-prepared that I can about guarantee the menu items we didn’t have room in our stomachs for are great too. I also found Clinton Street Baking Company’s coffee to be decent and the customer service to be efficient and friendly without being annoying.
Tip: Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant is cash-only but there are ATMs across the street.