Dining: Brunch at Bell Book and Candle (NYC)

by Skip on April 2, 2011

in Dining,New York City,Photo

Bell, Book and Candle: Brunch, Patty Melt with Pimms Cup

I’d nearly forgotten the art of brunch: delicious food with a couple of strong (yet appropriate) drinks to help facilitate the transition between Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, and the eventual return of the workweek. Coffee is usually a welcome addition. French fries are practically mandatory.

Bell, Book and Candle: Hanging Basil Cocktail

A few weeks ago, I went to Bell Book and Candle with my friend Lyssa, one of their hosts, and had quite the brunch. The space, a quietly marked basement on West 10th Street, formerly a laundromat, feels cozy and detached from the rest of the city. Each of the three main rooms have a different feel, from the spacious bar, to the long grey banquettes in the main room and the plush blue booths before the kitchen. Adding to the seating options, there is a rough-hewn 12-top chef’s table in the kitchen, and a cozy (cramped) 4-person secret room.

Bell, Book and Candle: Front Bar

It was a early on a quiet, grey Sunday, and daylight savings time had just sprung into effect and I had BBC mostly to myself. Cat, the brunch bartender, started me off with one of the house specials: The Hanging Basil. It had been a rough Saturday night, so instead of chile-infused vodka, she used kaffir lime-infused Hangar One.

Bell, Book and Candle: Beau Soleil Oysters

I lingered over the drink while and let myself get completely torn between the lobster taco and a half-dozen $1 Beau Soleil oysters, the crowd-pleaser or a personal favorite. As per usual, oysters won. When I go back, I’ll fight the oyster urge and try the taco. No promises, though. I love being near the sea, and oysters taste just like the sea.

Bell, Book and Candle: Front Bar, Reception

It was an unexpectedly warm day and after the Hanging Basil was empty and the shells were turned over, I asked Kat for a Pimm’s Cup and she happily obliged, throwing in a few dashes of cherry bitters (from an impressive collection) for good measure.

Bell, Book and Candle: Brunch, Patty Melt with Pimms Cup

The Patty Melt, medium-rare and beautifully cooked, won out over “gin and tonic” organic salmon. I am a simple guy, I guess, and tend to find salmon unflappably boring. I am a fan of the gin and tonic, but that wasn’t enough. Yawn, though I am sure it would have been well-cooked. The combination of rich, rare beef and “vintage” cheddar was exactly what my healing body wanted.

Bell, Book and Candle: Light


Bell, Book and Candle: Booth 2


Bell, Book and Candle: Statue

Bell, Book and Candle: Entrance

Bell, Book and Candle: Signage

Bell Book and Candle was talked about a bit last fall on Eater, The New York Times, and Grub Street, to name a few. That story at Eater has a great video from ABC Nightline that includes the restaurant’s extensive hydroponic rooftop garden. I can’t wait to go back.

Skip produces The Gourmetro. While he finds french fries an essential part of a good brunch, he sometimes substitutes them for raw oysters. Check out his published works on Aisle 9, and talk with him on Twitter.

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