20090116coffee250.jpgThere has been no shortage of words spilled on the glory of Abraço Espresso’s coffee. This tiny East Village espresso bar—we’re talking elbow your way in, standing-room-only tiny—excels with any incarnation of the coffee bean. Abraço’s espresso is deep and full-bodied, with a delicate, mottled crema; its cappuccino achieves a perfect balance of espresso and light, stable foam. While many espresso bars neglect the lowly drip coffee, Abraco’s shows equal thought and skill—with each cup, beans from Counter Culture Coffee are ground to order and brewed in an individual filter.

But as remarkable as Abraco’s coffee, its edible offerings more than hold their own. Too many coffee shops focus on caffeine at the expense of their food; there’s nothing more disappointing than an excellent cappuccino paired with a limp, substandard croissant. But from Abraco’s open, closet-sized kitchen come breakfast bites original, affordable, and memorably delicious—a rare thing indeed.


A wedge of frittata ($4), still just a hint warm, was tender, light, and juicy, more so than any frittata (or even quiche) I can recall. Made with only eggs, cream, and a bit of onion, it was a perfect example of a simple dish done right.


Kathy has already sung the praises of Abraço’s olive oil loaf, but I’ll join in the chorus. Cut straight from the loaf, each slice ($3) is dense and moist with a dark, sweet crust. Despite the strong, welcome flavor of olive oil, the cake isn’t greasy in the slightest.


And my personal favorite may have been the neatly wrapped, no-knife-needed pain perdu ($3). The challah French toast folds around fresh ricotta delicately flavored with orange blossom water, for a floral, sweet filling that’s creamy but not too heavy.

And after breakfast, Abraço's menu stays strong, with sweets and savories like cured olive shortbread, ricotta fritters, lunchtime panini, and much more.


86 East 7th Street, New York NY 10003 (map)

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