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[Photographs: Andrew Strenio]

Colonie opened on Atlantic Avenue back in February, and the neighbors have been loving it up ever since. It's across from the Shell station in a beautiful space that has a live fern wall in the middle of the room and a buzzing, open kitchen with stools hugging all the live spatula-wielding action.

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It's glowing with candles at night but we went on a recent sunny Saturday for brunch. The menu changes regularly given their seasonal emphasis. At brunchtime you can expect to find raw bar options, crostinis (duck rillete with pickles or ricotta with olive oil, honey, and mint; they have more at dinnertime), salads, and cheese plates, as well as brunchier fare.

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Like shrimp and grits ($16). The giant, plump crustaceans float on a bed of velevetty, Saturday-decadent grits. Each spoonful pools in some of the rich, buttery juices in the wide bowl. There are also a pile of tender hon-shimeji mushrooms and grilled scallions sitting on top.

The hon-shimeji also star in the Mushroom Egg Toast ($12), but the toast underneath shouldn't be overlooked. In the case of most something-on-toast dishes, the toast provides a nice, sturdy base and is hopefully buttered and crisp, but you don't expect too much beyond that. This one is exceptional. The bread from Roberta's is both buttered and crisp, probably olive-oiled too, with dark charred edges and crannies for yolk rivers to flow. This isn't a toast you leave on the plate. And as great as the other headliners are—the umami-packed mushrooms, the two oozy eggs with parmesan shreds and the bright, lightly dressed greens—you're actually just as excited to eat the toast. Being this excited to eat toast is a wonderful feeling.

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And since sometimes two sizable plates for two people (plus coffee and a Bloody Mary) doesn't feel like quite enough for brunch, you throw in a third sharing plate. Beet salad. Wait, beets for breakfast? Sounds like a Weird Al cover of that Beer for Breakfast song but you don't really have a choice when your waiter says, "I've eaten it three times this week.. it's my single favorite dish here."

And it's unlike any other beet salad you've met. Forget the goat cheese and walnuts; in this one, the roasted beet wedges mingle with paper-thin, shattery shreds of bittersweet cocoa tuile, juicy orange segments, and cooling, tart yogurt under a heap of red frilly mustard greens.

Colonie

127 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (map)
718-855-7500

About the author: Erin is the national editor of Serious Eats. You can follow her on Twitter: @erin_zimmer

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