Serious Eats: New York
Brunch at Five Leaves is Worth the Wait
There always seems to be a wait for brunch at Five Leaves in Greenpoint, and for good reason. Though the menu is pretty familiar, it's hearty, welcoming, and all done well. Luckily, with warm weather comes sidewalk seating, which nearly doubles the restaurant's capacity.
You can't talk about Five Leaves without mentioning one of its best sellers, the Five Leaves Burger ($13).
Theirs is a version of the Australian "hamburger with the lot," in which a custom blend of grass-fed beef is topped with pickled beets and slices of grilled pineapple, which add an unexpected but welcome sweetness, while spicy harissa mayo gives a good kick. The cheese choice is yours to make (Gruyere, cheddar, or blue), but the fried egg is a given. Opt for the side of truffles fries, too, a standout in the city.
Another popular brunch item is the Moroccan Scramble ($13). A thick slice of grilled Pain d'Avignon sourdough is topped with fluffy soft cooked eggs, za'tar-spiced chickpeas, and crushed avocado. Five Leaves makes their own spicy merquez sausage with cumin, paprika, harissa, and a touch of cinnamon. A sprinkle of cilantro, scallions, and chilies add some freshness to the spice.
More comforting is the Roasted Duck Pot Pie ($15). A tall ramekin is filled with a thick velouté sauce made from parsnip and duck stock mixed with root vegetables and English peas. Chunks of roasted Long Island duck meat, reserved from the duck dish at dinnertime, are plentiful and juicy. Perched on top is a crispy biscuit crust seasoned with thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. It's garnished with perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts and is only available at brunch.
Instead of a Caesar salad, Five Leaves offers Chopped Black Kale ($13). The spicy anchovy dressing is made from gouda, sriracha, and two types of anchovies. Crunchy hazelnuts have a nutty flavor that mingles well with the aged gouda shavings and crunchy dark kale.
Unless you come before 9 a.m., you'll probably have to wait for a seat on the weekend. But the smaller the group, the shorter the wait time. But the real pro move is to head there on a weekday; brunch (which, unlike most restaurants, actually offers food for both breakfast and lunch) is offered daily until 3:30 p.m.
About the author: Nicole Lam is based in NYC. Follow her travels and eats on Instagram @niclam