Bottomless Brunch….it’s just one of the infinite reasons to love New York City. For those of you who are not familiar with what a bottomless brunch is, I’ll enlighten you. Essentially, it’s paying a set price for as many alcoholic drinks as you can consume (aka just another way to say “open bar”). While young 20 something’s flock to these Sunday Funday endorsing establishments for the great drinking deals; I always have to wonder about actual brunch quality? Don’t get me wrong, if I’m looking for a reason to party, a bottomless brunch could do the trick. But, can I actually consume a worthwhile Bloody Mary that’s not just tomato juice and house vodka? Or enjoy a decent meal?
While very few of my Sunday’s are actually ever spent at a bottomless brunch in the city (Monday mornings at work would become a lot more depressing) I had the recent opportunity to indulge. My fiancé and I had gone into the city for an appointment and it just so happened to be close to where a good friend of ours lives. We decided to meet for brunch. Having very little knowledge of the area I asked him to choose the location. We met at Casacabel Taqueria on the Upper East Side.
The restaurant was cozy, colorful, and trendy. It was not until I sat down and saw the menu that I realized we had entered one of those so-called bottomless brunch establishments. It was a far cry from a college bar or nightclub type restaurant that I might associate with having an “open bar”. Granted I am not an NYC native or even a frequenter; so I only based my biased assumption on past experiences. Casacabel Taqueria was buzzing with activity yet intimate. The server was attentive and quick to come over to explain the bottomless brunch “rules” should we choose to partake. There were about nine drinks included and aside from the obvious Bloody Mary they had some refreshingly unique options. For one hour of participation you paid $15. Outside the bottomless brunch deal individual drinks were $12. We quickly realized that having any more than one drink made this a worthwhile deal. I went with the cocktail La Lola that consisted of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, cava (sparkling wine), and aperol (a herb enhanced liquor). It was tart and tasty! I did cave and order a Bloody Mary on my next round and I am happy to say it was a big step above simply tomato juice and vodka.
The brunch menu was composed of a handful of appetizers, a selection of egg inspired dishes, and tacos. We put in an order of guacamole to share as our first course. It was fresh and flavorful but landed a little shy of me giving it any accolades. After asking our server her recommendation for the tacos, I went with her clear winner… the carnitas. The shredded pork was tender and the pickled onions were a pop of flavor. I also loved the bits of puffed rice for an added piece of texture to the dish. They were overloaded with the filling so it was easy to make a big mess however; it didn’t stop me from polishing them off. The eggs benedict selections (one chorizo and one carnitas) were the other dishes at our table. I personally am not a fan of eggs benedict but after hearing the sighs of delight from the other end of the table I had to at least try a bite. The poached eggs were layered over warm crumbly cornbread…what a great idea! The spicy meats gave the dish a fiery kick and their juices seeped into the cornbread in all the right ways. The hollandaise was zesty from the incorporated chipotle. The boys mopped up all the warm gooey goodness on their plates without a complaint.
One of the pieces of feedback I hear a lot from BTP readers is to give more NYC restaurant input. Unfortunately, I don’t visit often enough to provide as much as I would like on the city. I also can’t pretend to be a NYC restaurant expert with what little exposure I have had. But, I do know a good restaurant when I eat at one. Cascabel Taqueria was the perfect little brunch spot. The drink special was fantastic, the food was both reasonably priced and delicious, and the service was friendly. That’s all a diner can hope for when out for a meal!
Check out Cascabel Taqueria’s menu and 2 New York City locations on the website: http://www.nyctacos.com/
…all for the love of the dish