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Brunch at Sarabeth's, 1/12/08

After returning to NYC from a long vacation, I realized just how calming the sight of trees, water and vast open space is to a human being. I'm not saying that I want to move out of Gotham and out to a remote island any time soon, but I am saying that for us New Yorkers, I think it does us some good to remember what nature really looks like every once in a while.

My first week back at work had been a busy one, as I was playing a big game of catch-up. It also took a couple of days for me to get used to sitting behind a desk again, instead of being active and out in the sun, for eleven straight hours.

A childhood friend's father contacted me saying that he'd be in town and would like to take me and his out-of-town guests to breakfast. We decided to meet at 10:00 a.m. at Sarabeth's on Central Park South. Having lived in the city for almost four years now, I've heard about Sarabeth's numerous times, but had yet to go for myself. Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying a new breakfast/brunch spot.

I ran out of my apartment at 9:30 a.m. and headed towards the subway station concerned that because of slow weekend train service, I wouldn't be at Sarabeth's
on time. To my surprise, I didn't wait long for the subway, and arrived at my destination ten-minutes early. I exited the station and found myself in the midst of Central Park. What a glorious sight to see, especially on this crisp and sunny winter's day! I swear that this park is one of the few places/inspirations that keep me sane during January and February (the most depressing months) in Manhattan. Just a mere sight of its beauty and vast green space can put a smile on my face and pep in my step.

Sarabeth's automatically received points for being located across the street from Central Park. I arrived at the restaurant five-minutes shy of 10:00 a.m., and decided to treat myself to a breakfast cocktail before my party arrived. Patrons were slowly trickling in, but it was still early enough to get seated at table without any sort of wait. I headed over to the small bar, and ordered a Four Flowers Mimosa which consisted of freshly squeezed orange, pineapple, banana and pomegranate juices...topped off with champagne. I'm a huge sucker for fresh juices, so I was extremely pleased with this beverage! The price was a bit steep, at $13.00, but the unique combination of fruits and bubbly made it much more justifiable in my mind. With cocktail in hand, I was able to sit back and study the restaurant's atmosphere just before the rest of my group arrived. Sarabeth's is quite large, with multiple dining rooms and nooks. The space is bright, upbeat, comfortable yet dainty and chicly modern, yet old-fashioned. The color palate showcased light pales and whites.

My fellow diners arrived shortly after 10:00 a.m., and our five-person party was seated immidiatly. After briefly catching up, we placed our breakfast orders. I chose the Farmer's Omelette, consisting of leeks, ham, potatoes and gruyere. Sarabeth's egg dishes don't come with your typical breakfast potatoes, instead, you're offered a choice of homemade breads and jams. The blueberry scone with calling my name and I was anxious to drench it with butter and strawberry preserves.

Approximately twenty-minutes later, our meals arrived. My omelette was lumber-jack sized, easily taking up three-quarters of the plate that it was served on. The combination of the fragrant leeks, smoky and salty ham, cubed potatoes (this added a nice texture and density) and gooey gruyere was delicious. Normally, I would have asked for sliced bread as an accompaniment, but this omelette was perfect by itself. The blueberry scone tasted more like a blueberry biscuit than a traditional English scone. The exterior was a shiny caramelized brown color, most likely because of an egg-wash brush prior to baking. The interior was as soft as cashmere with perfectly dispersed bits of blueberry. Sarabeth's homemade jam and salty butter made a perfect finish to every bite of this carbolicious treat.

This breakfast was fabulous and definitely memorable, both food and company wise. I couldn't have chosen a better location to start my day than Sarabeth's Central Park South. I look forward to many more meals at this jewel across from my serene piece of winter sanity.

*Note that on weekends, breakfast/brunch is extremely crowded. To get a table with no or minimal wait time, try to arrive around 10 a.m. By the time we left the restaurant at 11:15 a.m., the space was packed with hungry patrons.

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