I never recommend Midtown as a hot spot for brunch or most dining experiences, for that matter. Instead, I redirect tourist friends to the likes of the Village or Uptown, causing them to steer away from over priced culinary traps.
So when my friend, Vildana sent me a drop pin with our brunch location at 53rd and Broadway, I was a bit hesitant. She had purchased a Groupon for Maison, inspiring our quest for brunch.
I met her and my friend, Newberg for a very late meal around 2:30pm on a Saturday. Midtown seemed dead, with the hoards of tourists no longer cluttering the city after the holiday season. The quaint restaurant seemed small and out of place in the overly tacky Midtown food scene. The menu was Parisian, with also typical brunch items gracing the pages.
One dish stood out to me more then others. A few months ago, I finished Top Chef Judge, Gail Simmon’s book, “Eating With My Mouth Full.” She discussed her favorite dish, Welsh Rarebit. My mind always wondered what this unusually named dish included. While watching, Eric Ripert’s mini-series, On The Table, I found my answer. CHEESE. Lots of cheese, and some bread. As a cheese lover, I knew I had to try this culinary delight.
Welsh Rarebit graced the menu at Maison, described as three cheese fondue over country bread. Simple, filling and absolutely delicious.
I ordered the dish, while Vil ordered salmon eggs Benedict and Mike went for Sausage and Eggs.
When my dish came out, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it. While I anticipated cheese and bread, I didn’t realize how complex and intricate the dish could be.
I picked up my fork and knife and just went for it. It was creamy, rich and flavorful, with the herbs cutting through the intensity of the cheese and bread. To make an already rich dish even more decant, a side of herbed fries accompanied the Welsh Rarebit, which Vil decided to dip into the cheese sauce. A+ for creativity.
Vil and Mike didn’t like their dishes nearly as much as mine, since it was usual and my first rendition of Welsh Rarebit. I have to say, for Midtown food at decent prices, this dish really stood out. However, would I venture back to Midtown to eat brunch on a normal day? No. But for the time, and a Groupon, it definitely hit the spot. But I am now on a newfound quest to find a better, more renowned version of Welsh Rarebit that will knock my cheese loving socks off.
Maison – 1800 Broadway (entrance on 53rd) – New York, NY