I’m always seeking that wow factor when it comes to brunch. So often it’s another rendition of eggs Benedict in a cutesy environment with $12 Bloodys, no refills on iced coffee, and a very clear hatred of reservations. When my cousins and uncle were in town, I needed a reservation and a place to impress. Cookshop has long been a ‘girls who brunch’ favorite, and I decided it was time to try their Soho sister restaurant, Hundred Acres.
In the summer, large French doors open out to the street to allow for the warmth to fill the restaurant. And somehow in the winter, even with the doors sealed shut, they manage to bring that exact same feeling side. The white washed walls lined with tasteful Christmas lights and wreaths immediately makes you feel at home. When the waiter then offers complimentary seltzer, I feel as if I have found my culinary Mecca.
Similar to Cookshop, Hundred Acres offers a selection of exotic Bloody Mary’s, utilizing different liquors, bases and toppings. After conspiring with my dad, we decided to order the Hampton Shore, which utilized Meyer Lemon Vodka, Clam Juice and a freshly shucked oyster.
One little sip of the Bloody, followed by the briny slurp of the oyster created the ultimate Bloody. Even without the oyster there to follow up the sip, I could still taste a saltiness from the clam juice utilized in the cocktail. Fresh horseradish gives the Bloody a kick of spice, allowing for even my heat-seeking dad to avoid adding Tabasco to the drink.
Our large crew eyed the metal skillets of gooey cinnamon rolls whiz past and new an order needed to be at our table, immediately. We ordered those, along with a basket of biscuits and sweet potato-walnut bread, for a more savory treat.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve ordered a cinnamon roll, and I can’t remember why. With one bite, all ‘healthiness’ concerns slipped away with the sweet, sticky sugary pastry putting a giant grin on my face. They’re not drowning in the sugar glaze, allowing for the integrity of the flaky, light dough and cinnamon mixture to shine. Order these.
For the more savory lovers, the biscuits and sweet potato-walnut bread acts as a wonderful alternative.
Buttery, flaky biscuits accompanied by sweet-sour quince jam and honey butter are delightful. I’ve never heard of sweet potato bread before, yet instantly loved innate sweetness contrasted by slightly smoky walnuts. The deep orange color of the bread next to the golden biscuits seemed like autumn on a plate, which is always welcome on bleak winter days.
Unlike most restaurants, my main meal deliberation took hardly any time. Goat Cheese. Obviously. But, Goat Cheese-Sage Bread Pudding; oh you’ve got to be kidding me. Top that with a poached egg and lemon butter sauce, and I’m in a food coma before even seeing this dish arrive in front of me. My sister, Leigh, asked if I wanted to split that and another dish with her, and I gave her a selfish, no way am I sharing this dish look. She immediately conceded, ordering the exact same dish for herself.
Just look at this beauty. A perfectly molded square of the goat cheese-sage bread pudding sits underneath an overflowing bed of wilted spinach topped with two beautifully poached eggs, which allow their egg white tail to gently hang over the edge. The eggs are topped with a lemon butter sauce, which only coats the eggs, allowing for the integrity of the spinach and bread pudding to stay in tact during the presentation. Once the yolk breaks and bread pudding begins to soak up all of the richness, all bets are off.
No knife required for the light pudding, which avoids being overly rich through the sage. The spinach acts as a crunch, and slightly bitter element amongst the buttery, soft pudding and eggs. I admitted defeat half-way through the dish, loving every bite, yet realizing maybe I should’ve shared with my sister.
Amanda, being the healthier of the sisters, ordered an egg white version of the seasonal soft scramble.
I would never think to add butternut squash to an egg dish, and after one bite immediately plotted to recreate this at home. Soft-scrambled eggs have recently become by favorite preparation (thanks Ina Garten), allowing for them to become fluffy and light, after cooking them low and slow. The cornbread on the side also proved that Hundred Acres knows what they are doing when it comes to the bread game.
This was a wonderful brunch and an especially wonderful, welcoming environment. Never once did we feel rushed or a burden taking up a long table in the main room. The options are limited, and change often, due to their utilization of the freshest seasonal ingredients. Therefore, you can come back every few months and have a completely different experience. Hundred Acres lived up to all expectations, with free seltzer and great food, these guys know how to serve brunch.
Hundred Acres – 38 MacDougal Street – New York, NY
Location: Soho, NY
Type: American (Traditional)
Perfect For: Chronic Brunch, First Dates, Casual Meal
Reservations: Recommended via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Gooey Cinnamon Rolls, Goat Cheese-Sage Bread Pudding