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[Photographs: Sarah Buchanan]

When Ed waxed poetic about The Little Owl's fancy-pants cheeseburger, most of us listened up. But there is more to be had at Joey Campanaro's charming West Village outpost than one ridiculously good burger. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood on a sunny Saturday morning, do yourself a favor and stop in. The food here is every bit as warm and delightful as the intimate setting, and at 10:30 AM your chances of snagging a coveted table in this 28 person dining room are as high as they'll ever be.

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Start with the Sunflower Salad ($9), a sophisticated mix of stacked bibb lettuce, roasted golden beets, sunflower seeds, and parmesan tossed in a housemade vinaigrette. With flavors this bold you'll come to doubt this salad's healthy ingredient list.

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For something more substantial, try the Smoked Salmon and Eggs ($11). What a pleasant variation from my normal lox and cream cheese bagel routine! Served open faced atop a crunchy piece of baguette and studded with chives and a hearty does of crème fraîche, this is dish all about balance. The fishy flavor of the fresh salmon is expertly balanced out by the twang of the crème fraîche. I only wish there had been a little more baguette to go around.

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Don't forget to take a peek at the sides on the rather limited brunch menu. After peering around the tiny dining space, I quickly realized every table had an order of the asparagus home fries ($6). I followed suit; after all what's a brunch meal without a little starch? This tantalizing mixture of pan-fried potato wedges and seared asparagus tips had my dining companion and me fighting over each morsel until we were down to the last bite.

I washed the meal down with a strong cup of coffee and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice as the line outside began to take shape. I guess in the city that never sleeps, the early bird does get the worm.

The Little Owl

90 Bedford Street, New York NY 10014 (at Grove Street; map)
212-741-4695
thelittleowlnyc.com

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