ONE Good & CheapCrooked Knife
Ducks is a BrunchCritic favorite. It's easy-going and casual but feels special at the same time. Overall, Ducks is a New Orleans meets Southeast Asian inspired spot, but the brunch menu is solely New Orleans influenced. A thick, brick atmosphere surrounds the diners and although tarnished, the wall mirror is still somehow endearing. Water is served in mason jars, the menus are binder clipped to cardboard, and mismatched chairs and distressed tables decorate the small space. We find that the clientele seems to be the perfect representation of all sorts of Manhattan and Brooklynites, minus the trendy/preppy crowd. Ducks is chill. It's relaxed. It's delicious.
What to Eat
Start with the Roasted Delicata Squash. Slices of fall squash will arrive beautifully presented, and made with wakame seaweed butter, togarashi chili and topped with flavorful, shaved burdock seeds. You'll love eating your veggies. For a main get the Benedict de Marie Laveau with smoked ricotta, and a creole hollandaise. While a lot of places try to create twists on the classic benedict, they often fail. Ducks Eatery attempts this however and knocks it out of the park. That smoked ricotta and creole hollandaise isn't too strong, or too weak, it's just right.
What to Drink
The Pumpkin ti' Punch is perfect for fall. Made with rum, coconut creme, cinnamon, nutmeg and graham, it's a great starter. For dessert, you might want to forgo the beignets with chocolate sauce and just get a second Pumpkin ti' Punch!
Reservations accepted for parties as small as two.
The Crooked Knife's 14th street location is a gem for those who want something good, simple and accessible. (There is also a midtown location at 29 East 30th street.) It's a place you can roll into wearing your sweats, and frankly if you arrive in the same clothes from last night no one will really mind. When you enter you'll pass the big bar section and the dining area is in the back. Although it's enclosed, we adore the gigantic skylight that gives off that indoor-but-feels-like-it's-outdoor vibe you can't help but love. The back patio is open during the summer, and lucky for us, it's covered and heated during the winter too!
What to Eat
For an establishment that is mostly a bar, the food is surprisingly good and the prices low. There's a good mix of breakfast and lunchie brunch items. We always opt for the pancakes that come with fruit and sausage, and the French toast special of the day will always have a fruit component - pears, peaches, etc. Most of the entrees here come with additions like toast, potatoes, bacon or sausage. This is New York, so it's a treat when dishes have those extra sides without the extra price.
What to Drink
The Crooked Knife also has an Unlimited Drinks option. For $29 you have access to an entree and Unlimited Bloody Marys or Mimosas. (It was upped from $20 a little while ago.) Groups love it!
Reservations are accepted for all party sizes.