Egg: Steel-cut Organic Oatmeal ($7)
Farm on Adderley: Steel-Cut Oats with Butternut Squash, Chilies, and Smoked Bacon ($7)
Ted and Honey: Banana Compote and Pumpkin Squash ($6)
The Pumpkin Squash is more savory than sweet. Orange cubes of al dente squash sit atop fluffy, nicely cooked oatmeal pooling with maple syrup with a row of roughly chopped pecans (from a farm upstate). The bowl's rim gets a generous dusting of cinnamon. Both win for the most photogenic in the city (which is saying a lot for oatmeal).
Bouley Studio: Oatmeal ($3.95)
Bouley Studio: 130 W. Broadway, New York NY 10013 (map)
Les Halles: Oatmeal with Vanilla and Lavender Syrup ($7.50)
Yes, lavender. In your oatmeal. Too floral or weird-tasting? Not at all, actually. As you scoop, you think, Whoa, this is unlike any other oatmeal I've ever tried. It's sweet, to be sure, but not in the expected brown sugar way, or in any way that's too syrupy. You may start to picture rolling lavender fields, but it avoids the usual lavender problem of tasting like a bar of soap. The mellow floral kick is a nice change from the usual toppings, and the rolled oats aren't overcooked; they keep a nice bite. Available at both the Downtown and Park Avenue locations.
Noho Star: Steel-Cut Oatmeal Brulee ($10)
Noho Star: 330 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10012 (nohostar.com
Caffe Falai: Oatmeal ($6)
Brooklyn Bagel: House Oatmeal ($3.15, medium)
Whole Foods, Union Square: Oatmeal ($2.50)
Max Brenner: Melting Cinnamon Chocolate Chunks Oatmeal ($8.95)
The oatmeal part is very gloopy and unexceptional; it could very well be from a just-add-water pouch. But you hardly taste or notice it under all those melty chocolate crumbles and sugar-coated, roasted pecans. Just when you think it couldn't get any sweeter, they give you a mini-beaker of caramel cream for drizzling. It's like when Mariah Carey reaches her high notes, then goes one whole octave higher. That sweet. If I wanted an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, I'd eat one. But for some reason, this exists too.