The Upper East Side has increasingly become a culinary destination spot, with new bars and restaurants replacing outdated locations. The Penrose received tons of buzz throughout the foodie world, serving as both a great restaurant and extremely cool late night spot. They whip up mean cocktails, and serve dishes for both the gluttonous friend and the health conscious one. A variety of fresh juices are listed adjacent to four totally unique Bloody Mary’s, showing the management at Penrose knows what us twenty-somethings want.
On a Sunday afternoon, crowds piled into the Penrose, creating a fun, but not rowdy, atmosphere. My friend, Liz and I headed to the bar to pass the time during our 25 minute wait for a table. Liz runs Cyc, a wonderful new spin class in the East Village, and is always a huge fan of all things healthy. Instantly, she was drawn to the Beet Bloody Mary, a cocktail which combines the art of juicing and drinking into one deep red glass. I, on the other hand, went for the more ‘manly’ drink; a Bourbon Bacon Bloody.
I absolutely adored the smokiness of the bourbon and bacon, which made the usually spicy cocktail a bit more mild. If you have any fondness for either ingredient, this Bloody will blow you away. Plus, the addition of maple syrup gives a little sweetness to the drink and also brings out the innate ‘bacon-ness’ of the cocktail. Liz’s beet bloody tasted just like any version you’d find at a juice bar, just with liquor. Instead of the usual cayenne pepper, the chili infused vodka provides the heat, especially when mixed with the ginger. Be wary, since this might stain your teeth a bit, but at least you’ll feel healthy in the meantime.
We were seated at the middle communal table, which is a little less intimate and definitely louder then a solo table. Despite the louder environment, we didn’t feel like we were on top of the individuals next to us. Both of us are totally on the Avocado Toast bandwagon, immediately knowing that at least one of these would need to be ordered. We decided it was totally a day to splurge, go big, and order the Bacon, Egg, and Fried Oyster sandwich. If you split it, it doesn’t really count, right?
This is just as ridiculously awesome as you would expect. The buttery toasted brioche bun has a light sweetness that makes this breakfast sandwich a level above the rest. The soft scrambled eggs and crispy bacon are simply, yet impeccably prepared. Four crispy fried oysters sit atop of the eggs with a silky interior. Acidic pickles and creamy aioli give a little bit of a break from the extremely heavy sandwich. Pretty much, this is the king of all breakfast sandwiches. Order this.
In our attempt to be healthy we ordered Avocado Toast with two poached eggs, red pepper flakes and sea salt.
The version of avocado toast at Penrose has a little bit of a DIY philosophy, with all of the ingredients strategically placed around the main star.
The poached eggs adds another elements of richness to the toast, with the yolk oozing and mixing with the avocado. In addition, the red pepper flakes gives another element of heat, which works so well with the avocado. Lemon juice cuts through the richness and sea salt is always good on everything.
As it turns out, this super cool, late night bar has insanely great brunch. Tons of classic dishes get a fun, gluttonous twist and their signature cocktails are phenomenal. The atmosphere is really great, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Cocktails are all under $10, which in the grand scheme of brunch in a amazing deal. The next time you find yourself on the Upper East Side with no idea where to eat, check out the Penrose. They’re more then just a great cocktail bar.
The Penrose – 1590 Second Avenue – New York, NY
Location: Upper East Side, NY
Type: American (Traditional)
Perfect For: Chronic Brunch, Casual Meal, Drinks, Big Groups
Reservations: Available for parties of 6 or more (212.203.2751)
Favorite Dishes: Bourbon Bacon Bloody, Fried Oyster Egg Sandwich, Avocado Toast