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Brunch at Freeman's

What better way to begin Valentine's Day than with a scrumptious brunch?

Freeman's address is simply "End of Freeman's Alley." Though I've been for dinner, I was with friends who knew exactly where to go. Today I was on my own, as Meghan would meet me at the restaurant for our 11:30am brunch date. After failed attempts to find Freeman's exact location via Google maps and hopstop.com, I was able to pinpoint some neighboring cross streets. I used "191 Chrystie Street" as a destination point, but when I approached this address, I found myself in front of an apartment building. I called "411" in a last ditch attempt for help, but was told by the operator that there was no listing for "Freeman's." Frustrated and nearly in tears, I decided to turn left on a random side street, and luckily, I saw the tiny "Freeman's Alley" sign. Phew!

If you're lucky enough to find Freeman's, you're in for a treat. As you approach the restaurant at the end of a wide pedestrian alley, you may think that you're one of a few patrons privy to a member's-only/exclusive establishment. However, once inside, you realize that the secret of Freeman's is "out."

In a space with multiple dining rooms and nooks, the restaurant evokes a homey, warm atmosphere. From the unfinished plank wood floors and taxidermy on the walls, Freeman's successfully transports diners from the concrete jungle to an apres ski hut.

Upon being seated, Meg and I noted how lucky we were to not have waited for a table. For 11:30am on a Saturday morning, the place was already packed. Typically, this is strange for a trendy restaurant located in a neighborhood where brunchers don't usually get moving until well after noon.

After perusing the menu, both Meg and I ordered the Poached Eggs with roasted tomato, cheddar cheese grits and buttered toast. A blanket of creamy grits sprinkled with sharp white cheddar cheese was topped with two perfectly poached eggs. The roasted tomato that accompanied the entree reminded me of the unsuccessfully executed Tomatoes Provencal from this week's episode of "Top Chef." Though roasted and seasoned nicely, I would have preferred that the tomato was halved while cooking, thus creating more flavor and caramelization. Texturally, the entire dish was too soft and creamy, especially for one who doesn't bother with the accompanying crispy buttered toast. However, I did enjoy the symphony of flavor from the eggs, roasted tomato, and salty sharp cheddar cheese.

Brunch at Freeman's is a great way to start your day. There's something both magical and mysterious about the restaurant's location and interior space that intrigues me.

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