In preparation for a long day filled with shopping for the perfect New Year’s outfit, I made a reservation for brunch at the adorable Jane Restaurant in Soho. The sister restaurant to The Smith, the beloved East Village staple, this restaurant embodies a less scene-y, fratty feel, separated from the mainstream brunch crowd.
I met my sisters, along with my friend Rachel, on a gloomy, dark Saturday afternoon. It was one of those days where you could easily stay in bed all day if you didn’t have something to do. I was pleasantly surprised to see the restaurant still crowded and full of life as I walked to the hostess stand to check-in for our reservation. We were seated relatively quickly, towards the middle of the crowded area. Space seems to be somewhat of a luxury in a restaurant where at least a dozen, square tables fill up a tiny space. But we were comfortable, caught up in conversation and our own little world, forgetting that there were other brunch go-ers surrounding us.
While we glanced over our menus, I enjoyed some fresh bread and delicious olive oil placed on the table. We were all so hungry that we decided we needed to start the meal off sweet, with something to share. The French Toast was a complete no-brainer, especially when we saw and smelt the sweet pieces whiz past us.
This is the way all French Toast should be made, a beautiful golden crunch on the outside and creamy, rich interior. The sweet powder sugar adds an additional element of flavor, to the already decadent pieces of brioche, which are soaked in a creme brûlèe batter. The addition of sweet, fresh strawberries and sticky maple syrup elevates the already rich dish. It was the perfect dish to share, because I could never have finished this on my own.
Next for the main course, I ordered the Benedict Jane, a play on crab cakes and poached eggs.
Golden, moist, crispy patties of crab and crawfish could have stood on their own, but the addition of a wonderfully poached egg and flavorful hollandiase sauce brought this breakfast dish into a whole other realm of egg-y delight. Everything about this dish worked. The crab and crawfish cakes had huge chunks of meat, allowing you to distinguish the shellfish. They steered far away from an overly bread-y, dry crab cake so many fear. The eggs were perfectly poached, revealing the gooey yolk inside with one swift motion of the knife. The cooked spinach added a necessary freshness, balancing all the rich elements of the dish. I made perfect bites for my sister, with a little bit of crab cake, egg, spinach, hollandaise, and of course, dipping the whole thing into the running yolk filling my plate.
Then I dove into the wonderful, extra crispy hash browns. The addition of caramelized onions with the potatoes added an innate sweetness and surprisingly light element. I could have eaten an entire bowl of the hash browns, since they were one of the best variations I have ever had. The left overs were even amazing later that night after crisping up in the toaster again. They were that good.
Leigh and Rachel both ordered variations of delicious eggs benedict. It’s amazing how one place can remake such a signature dish in many playful, delicious ways.
Amanda went completely off the beaten path for her food, ordering off the lunch menu. She ordered salmon and avocado tartare, which turned out to be a phenomenal choice. I ate half the bowl.
Fresh salmon and creamy, rich avocado could be just divine on its own. The addition of the soy-wasabi dressing transformed typical flavors into something irresistible. The whole dish was light and fresh, causing me to take bite after bite, leaning across the table with my spoon in hand. Absolutely delicious.
I highly recommend Jane, especially before a full-fledged day of shopping in Soho. You’ll leave feeling completely satisfied and full of energy. Next time you’re looking for a low-key, reasonably priced, delicious meal, hit up Jane. It will not disappoint.
Jane – 100 West Houston Street – New York, NY
Location: Soho, NY
Type: New American
Perfect For: Chronic Brunch, Girls’ Night Out, Big Groups, Date Night
Reservations: Recommended via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Salmon and Avocado Tartare, Benedict Jane, Vanilla Bean French Toast, Milk & Cookies