At night, Buvette in the West Village is often packed to capacity, diners shoulder-to-shoulder as they sip wine and nibble. But in the mornings, it's pleasantly sedate, smelling of coffee and toasting bread, morning light streaming in. And, it should go without saying, the food is fantastic. I live in Brooklyn and work in Chinatown. There's no reason in the world I should be passing through the West Village in the mornings. But I do, time and again, for breakfast at Buvette.
Buvette excels at making simple ingredients shine, breads and meats and cheeses smartly paired and beautifully presented. Breakfast is no exception. Tiny croissants are served with a spoonful of softened butter and jam. Coffee is La Colombe, shots pulled for each cappuccino, steamed milk served alongside black coffee. Even for coffee and a pastry, it's worth a stop.
But explore the menu further. The standout dishes include tartines ($7), here, the multigrain: thick (almost as tall as wide) slices of grain bread with an exceptional crust, slathered in butter as well as apple butter and farmers' cheese. Walnuts dot the top. Everything runs together in a sweet-savory bite and, while it looks it'd only be a few meager mouthfuls, gives you tremendously rich ones. Hearty enough to fortify a long day ahead.
Steamed eggs with prosciutto ($12) sound just as simple and succeed just as brilliantly. The eggs are cracked into a ceramic jar and actually steamed with the wand of an espresso machine, essentially scrambling them. (Lest this sound like a relatively virtuous idea, the loosely set eggs are then drowned in olive oil, along with a shower of parmesan and plenty of black pepper.) It's all served with grilled toast and tender prosciutto petals, cut to order from the leg resting in its slicer on the counter.
Going out for breakfast is a bit of an indulgence, but split a $7 plate of tartines and you're only paying as much as you would for a coffee shop muffin. And I'd bet you'll end up an awful lot happier.