By Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.
Welcome to another special Sunday Brunch review. This week, I’m looking at French Roast, which has two locations in Manhattan. French Roast Uptown is situated on Broadway and 85th Street, while French Roast Downtown is on West 11th Street. This review focuses specifically on French Roast Uptown.
French Roast Uptown is an interesting case in that it acts, in part, very much like a diner. It is open 24 hours a day seven days a week and the restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and even offers an “overnight” or late night menu served from midnight to 7am.
So because of its underlying diner theme it seems only natural that for brunch or, “Le Brunch” (which I personally get a kick out of), French Roast is all about the New York classics, but with a French spin: eggs benedict, bagels and lox, croque monsieurs and croque madames, as well as the salad nicoise are all on offer.
I for one delved into the eggs benedict (poached eggs and Canadian bacon on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce) and a heaping helping of home fries, which were essentially just delicious cubed roasted potatoes.
I have no complaints in the eggs benedict front, but when I return I will be a bit more adventurous. French Roast does, after all, also serve huevos rancheros with chorizo, which is a favorite of mine.
During my visit, French Roast offered a full cocktail menu as well as a brunch cocktail menu and a specials menu. When it comes to brunch cocktails and morning cocktails, there are few concoctions I appreciate more than a good screwdriver. Unfortunately, most places (and most people) think of the screwdriver as some orange juice with vodka in it. While, yes, this is true, the best screwdriver uses fresh squeezed orange juice rather than orange juice concentrate.
Guess what? French Roast Uptown is in on the secret. Okay, it’s not really a secret, but they serve their screwdrivers with fresh squeezed orange juice, so I went for it. They offer top shelf vodkas as well for just a dollar more than the original price. Stoli screwdriver for $8? I think so.
The wait staff at French Roast Uptown is quite friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. The food comes out quickly, but patrons won’t feel rushed out of the restaurant.
The inside is decorated like an old school diner, but with a French flair. The outside is exactly what you’d expect from a French cafe in New York City. Small tables situated close together line the sidewalk area separated from the hustle and bustle by beautiful potted plants and fences.
French Roast Uptown captures everything that is the Upper West Side during brunch hours, with its neighborly inviting environment and its leisurely well-to-do patrons. This is a place to unwind without spending all of your hard-earned money.