An adorable French Bistro finds a home in the awkward area between Flatiron and Gramercy. Luckily, word has continued to spread about the delicious brunch and great meals at Almond. It’s a well-established spot, attracting individuals for a great meal in a warm, welcoming environment.
I’ve been to Almond for lunch before, but have heard friends rave about the unbelievable brunch making its way out of the kitchen. When trying to pick a spot for a brunch date with my friend, Amber, Almond immediately topped the list. We met here at 1:15 on a Saturday afternoon, with crowds of people gathering around the bar area, sipping on mimosas and eying the raw bar strategically placed in front of them.
The atmosphere at Almond is relaxed, designed to look like a really comfortable vintage home. A large wooden table acts as the hostess stand and comfortable chairs, with a wide array of patterns fill the front waiting area as well. The dining room is divided into two portions, with general seating and large beige and brown curtains blocking off private areas used for parties. We were seated quickly, thanks to a pre-made reservation, making ourselves extremely comfortable in the corner booth table.
Shortly after seating, the waiter came by with bottles of chilled tap water and a wooden basket full of biscuits. Before we dug into the breakfast version of a bread basket, we each ordered a mimosa to celebrate the beautiful, first Saturday of Spring.
Warm to touch, with steam coming out of the buttery, flakey biscuit when broken in half, you know these are great, before even taking a bite. They were light and rich, elevated by the delicious apple chutney on the side, which added a lovely hint of acidity and sweetness to the already silky biscuit. I could have easily gobbled up the entire basket, and nearly did, but I knew the best course was still to come.
My friends had raved about the Duck Hash, known as the self-named Almond Hash, at this buzzed about brunch spot. I had been here for lunch once before, and missed the opportunity to try the dish. I already have a weakness for duck, eggs, and hash, so combined together creates my ultimate breakfast. We were both so fascinated by the famous brunch dish, that the two of us ended up ordering the same thing, since sharing seemed hardly appropriate. It’s a dish where it’s okay to be selfish.
Two perfectly poached eggs sit on top of potatoes, duck confit, and onions piled high. This dish has everything; salty and sweet, crunchy and soft, decadent and light. It’s the ideal duck hash, with crispy, silky potatoes acting as the vehicle for all of the other elements. You immediately cut into the poached eggs, allowing for the yolk to ooze over the potatoes, creating a kind of rich sauce with the slightly acidic hollandaise sauce. Each bite is unique, with different flavors and textures coming together on your fork, making the dish exciting. It’s definitely a rich dish, and I admitted defeat about half way through, but it’s not the kind of dish where you feel guilty having eaten it. It’s absolutely divine, just combining everything I love about breakfast, mainly poached eggs and crispy potatoes into one cohesive dish. I would easily venture back to flatiron for this dish alone.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been to Almond once before, but wanted to wait for my brunch experience to share my lunch time experience. My sister, Leigh and I loved our lunch meal here, so this spot is not just great during the morning hours on a Saturday or Sunday. We were obsessed with the Brussels Sprouts 2 ways, which was a play on a Caesar Salad.
I mean, common. Brussels Spouts prepared in its raw form, shaved with a mandolin and roasted full pieces, are topped with thin slices of Parmesan and lightly coated with Caesar dressing. It’s simple, delicious and acts as a lighter version of the usually heavy, salad dish.
We also shared the moules frites, which is a weakness of both of ours. These were a great preparation, in a light white wine sauce.
The broth made this dish something special. The white wine, garlic sauce added so much flavor to the mussels, we couldn’t stop eating them. The waiter ever brought over a bread basket after observing the two of us dipping the golden, brown, crispy fries into the broth. We soaked up all of the sweet, flavorful broth, using the mussels too as a vehicle to slurp, devouring the entire dish.
Almond is such a great spot for a casual, delicious meal with friends. The restaurant is adorable in decor, and the food is wonderful, made with fresh ingredients and a playful eye. Each dish is made slightly different then you would find elsewhere, making you need to come back to Almond to get that exact dish. And you’ll be satisfied with each trip back.
Almond – 12 East 22nd Street – New York, NY
Location: Flatiron, NY
Type: French, Bistro
Perfect For: Chronic Brunch, Big Groups, Casual Meal
Reservations: Available via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Almond Hash, Brussels Sprouts 2 Ways, Moules Frites