When you live in New York City and work at a breakfast publication, the question, from visiting friends and family members alike, is bound to posed to you at some point: So, where should I go get breakfast here? New York is, of course, full of breakfast options, from the classic hangover-busting bodega egg and cheese on a roll to the bagel with schmear to upscale brunch spots slinging Brussels sprout hash. But the restaurant I always steer my visitors to is Balthazar, the Keith McNally SoHo brasserie that never fails to dish out that ineffable New York experience.
Balthazar is famous for their pastries. Indeed, you can walk into half of the coffee shops in New York City and be assured that they have "Balthazar baked goods" on offer. And it's true that settling into one of the booths there for a croissant and a cappuccino isn't a bad way to start the day. But there's more to it than that: Balthazar is a spot to see and be seen, where you can often see a celebrity starting their day, or at least take in some good outfits. The food is pricey and it can get crowded—it is in SoHo, after all. But Balthazar during breakfast is usually less crowded than lunch or dinner, and it's also a less expensive meal, relatively, given that you probably won't be springing for a wine pairing with your eggs. You could, however, add in a mimosa, a fresh-pressed green juice, or an oyster bloody mary, if you felt so inclined.
Breakfast goes from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30, and the earlier you get there, the more likely you'll get a good table. But even if it's too crowded, or the prospect of sitting down over a plate of eggs benedict feels like too much for a Wednesday, you can grab a coffee and one of those ubiquitous Balthazar croissants straight from the source.