On a quest for Saturday brunch in the West Village, my friend, Rachel and I decided to finally try Joseph Leonard’s, a neighborhood staple. Unfortunately, for that weekend only, the sous chefs had taken over Joseph Leonard’s turning it into a Dim Sum restaurant. Instead, we opted for their sister restaurant, Jeffrey’s Grocery, right across the street. The sign outside promised the meal would be a good time.
We put our names and phone numbers down for them to call us as soon as the table was ready. We went down the street to play with puppies at Citi Pups before heading back to Jeffrey’s for brunch.
We were seated at the bar, able to watch the bartender work his magic. The entire restaurant was relatively small, but warm, neighborhood feel. The atmosphere was young and fun, very appropriate for the area of the city. Between people watching, we glanced over the simple, yet complex menu. The options were slim, but each seemed better than the next. Immediately, we were drawn to the Bloody Mary’s. The Bloody’s could be made with three different types of infused vodka, pretty awesome.
If we were going to have gone a bit crazier the Bloody Caesar would have been the move, but today was about being the original being spiced up. I decided on the cilantro-infused vodka. The bartender mixed this drink up in a complex way. This was a legitimate bloody mary. The small tupperware containers held small batches of the bloody mary, proving that each batch was made fresh, daily. I couldn’t wait to dive in.
The only other place I have even seen a beer chaser was during my days at University of Wisconsin. In Madison, this was a regular happening at most restaurants. I was transported back to my days there, extremely nostalgic, while sipping my beer in between sips of the Bloody. This had to be one of my favorite versions of a Bloody Mary. Lots of horseradish spiced up the drink, with the sweet tomato juice. The lack of extreme black pepper flavor put it over the top. If it wasn’t for the addition of beer on the side, I would have easily devoured multiple of these.
After the drink, it was time to order. Rachel had seen a bowl with poached eggs over some red looking liquid, and asked the waiter about it. The dish turned out to be the daily special of Chili and Eggs. I decided on the Poached Salmon and Eggs.
Most components about this dish were absolutely delicious, but there is one thing I can’t look past; the inability to poach eggs. It’s something that chefs learn in culinary 101, the ability to cook eggs in boiling water, allowing for the egg whites to cook all the way through, while retaining a runny center. The reason I love poached eggs is that first moment when you cut into it and the yolk oozes all over the bread underneath. This egg did not do that. The center was fully cooked, as if it was a hard-boiled egg. Completely disappointing.
The dish was rich itself with the potato and salmon on top of the crispy bread. In addition, the herbed aioli added a necessary light richness, but I really missed the oozy nature of the runny yolk. I perked up with happiness when the second egg had a slight run, being a medium cooked egg. Yet, it didn’t hit the spot quite right. I was really disappointed.
Rachel’s eggs were equally over-cooked, making the dish just a little weird. The hard-boiled eggs didn’t make sense on top of the chili. You really wanted the yolks to run over the spicy mixture.
All in all, the food was just okay. I was really disappointed by the poorly cooked eggs and had a lot of problem looking past that. If I were to come back, it would be for Oysters (they’re known for their selection) and Bloody Mary’s. If you are planning to come here, make sure to order your poached eggs extremely runny. I wish I had.
Jeffrey’s Grocery – 172 Waverly Place – New York, NY