Editor's note: For eight days I'll be keeping a diary on eating well in New York while staying kosher for Passover. The goal: never feel hungry or desperate enough to touch matzo unless I want to. For the rules I'll be keeping, see here. All remarks and recommendations are personal and not intended as religious/cultural commentary.
It seems like the only thing more fashionable than enduring a long wait for brunch in New York is hating on going to brunch in New York. I'll admit: as someone who's not crazy about breakfast meats and sweet pancakes and fourteen variations on breakfast eggs, I have little love for most renditions of the meal. But Passover always hits a weekend, so if we have to eat brunch, it might as well be good.
Except that come Passover, brunch gets hard. No pancakes or English muffins. No Bloody Marys. No toast, oatmeal, grits, fried chicken, or bagels. Your traditional brunch place may not cut it.
That's why I paid a visit to one of the least kosher and most delicious places in New York: Shopsins. With a couple hundred or so items on the menu there—bowl sandwiches, three-part breakfast trays, and all—at least a couple are Passover-friendly.
That doesn't mean ordering is easy. Do I just want fries for brunch? I asked. No, that's cheating. How about a turkey lunch tray? Can't: gravy. What about the soups? You don't know what goes in them, Max, and Shopsins isn't the kind of place where you ask.
I thought I was on to something with a grilled plantain dish, but nope: peanut mole.
But don't give up. The menu takes a good fifteen minutes to study, and it's all too easy to miss the Motulenos (plantains, peppers, feta, and Hatch chilies in an omelet, $18) or the Shopsins take on shakshuka ($18).
It's also easy to Passover-fy dishes with toast, like the Rope-A-Dope ($19), two legs of duck confit with scrambled eggs and thick-cut toast. It sounds almost boring by Shopsins standards, but those duck legs are meaty and bursting with juice, and the accompanying folds of eggs are tender and creamy. The price is more than reasonable for the amount of food you get.
And with duck and eggs this good, you won't miss the toast.