At the end of October, I was invited to sample The Lion‘s autumn brunch menu at its Greenwich Village location. It featured scrumptious dishes and equally delicious drinks. Helmed by one of NYC’s most sought-after chefs, John DeLucie, The Lion has generated a sea of praises from publications such as Vanity Fair, Time Out New York, W Magazine and more! I took my dear friend Rachel with me, and we spent our early Sunday afternoon catching up over cocktails and American-Italian cuisine.
The dining area exuded an old-fashioned charm, like a speakeasy. Paintings and portraits lined the walls. The ceiling curved like a dome to allow fresh sunlight in, bathing the room in natural light. Everything about the interior was so cozy and almost rustic. The tables were packed so closely together, we could pretty much hear every conversation bubbling from the neighboring tables… but of course we chose not to eavesdrop.
The brunch menu seemed tailored to suit various preferences, containing a good mix of light and heavy dishes. We had the option of ordering from the a la carte fall brunch menu or from the $35 prix fixe—also known as the Bellini Brunch—which included an entrée, a side dish and unlimited Bellinis or Bloody Marys.
To start, the waiter brought out fresh cornbread and butter. The cornbread’s texture was crumbly like a cake’s, and the butter was so soft and creamy that it pretty much melted into the bread the moment it hit the surface. It was definitely delightful.
We tried the classic American soul food: Chicken & Waffles, featuring two pieces of fried chicken breast served with local honey, a small side of salad and red velvet waffles drizzled in whipped cream cheese. Yes, red velvet waffles… it almost seemed like we were having both dessert and entrée on the same platter. We were a little skeptical about the combination of sweet and savory here, but the dish turned out to be ideal. The waffles were chewy and not overpoweringly sweet.
The Lion Benedict was equally palatable. Poached eggs were carefully structured upon crispy bacon strips and cheddar chive biscuits, swelling with thick egg yolk that spilled over when dug into. The eggs had a buttery taste to them. The dish wasn’t complete without the Hollandaise sauce, a creamy addition that blended perfectly with every ingredient on the plate. Our entrées arrived with a side of roasted potatoes and green beans, with the green beans generously garnished with toasted almond slices.
While we ate, we drank the infamous Bellini, a brilliant concoction of Prosecco and white peach that resulted in a refined flavor that was so refreshing. The Italian sparkling wine was laced with the sweetness of white peach. It was the perfect cocktail for a Sunday afternoon with friends and food.
As the afternoon progressed, a new melody was materializing in the dining room — the chime of cocktail glasses as they kissed, the tinkling of silverware, the avid chatter followed by hearty laughter resonating across the room — all of that whirled together to create the perfect ambiance for Sunday brunch.