The Brunch Dish: Patty Melt Madame at Dovetail

The Brunch Dish

Brunch menus to do your weekend right.

"Message to the wise: save space until the end."


[Photos: Nikki Goldstein]

I rarely opt for prix-fixe brunch options, but Dovetail's is hard to skip. $28 gets you a full-blown three-course meal that would make any family visit or special occasion beyond memorable—and the cooking is every bit on par with Dovetail's excellent dinner service. You'll start with a bread basket to be reckoned with: it's filled with sticky pecan buns, sweet and spicy cornbread, and rosemary foccacia, though the offerings might change on a whim. It may as well be a course of its own.


Then, a tray of canapés arrives at the table. On a recent weekend, espresso cups came filled with an aromatic spring onion veloute, smooth with a subtly herbaceous punch. A thin, crispy cracker was the vehicle for delicate salmon tartare, the second of our five bites.


Duck meatballs on a thin skewer were diminutive in size but not in flavor, though cucumber sandwiches were just a tad wan in comparison. A yogurt parfait was the surprise winner: thick and tart with a thick layer of farm-fresh honey and sliced grapes, all simple ingredients elevated to an impressive new level.


And then, the entrées. About half on the menu are straightforward dishes done exceptionally well, and the other half are that with a dash of extra imagination. Such is the patty melt madame, a take on the classic French sandwich that merges in some classic American flavors. On the bottom, a pungent French mustard adds the kind of punch you expect with pastrami and rye. There's no real bread to be found—instead, a nest of puffy, homemade croutons holds a burger-like veal patty, all topped with a melted slice of provolone and a large sunny-side-up egg. Comfort flavors don't get any fancier.


But that's not all—one last course gets divided into four little parts much like the canapé tray before, except these are sweet and courtesy of Dovetail's talented pastry chef, Vera Tong. Chocolate cheesecake lies on a domino square of cookie crumble crust, a cakey cinnamon donut sits next to a perfect little linzer cookie dusted in powdered sugar, and in the bowl up top, the season's sweetest strawberries are finely diced into an exceedingly pure-tasting sabayon. Message to the wise: save space until the end.


103 West 77th Street, New York NY 10024 (map) 212-362-3800