I hadn’t seen my dear friend Ashley in what seemed like forever, so when we were planning brunch, I wanted somewhere a little bit more over the top. She’s my fellow foodie-in-crime, so the menu had to be rather spectacular. And I insisted on having water glasses on the table. Very demanding, I know.
The first place that came to mind was “The Park” in Chelsea.
It’s got a very Los Angeles vibe — super comfortable, but it’s also nicer than the average brunch place. It has that whole nonchalant chic thing going for it. The restaurant is actually several different spaces in one — there’s a bar area, and indoor dining room, and then the atrium dining room. I was in the atrium, and I think it’s one of the nicest spaces in NYC. Rising two stories, the space is large and open, and filled with nature — there’s a tree in the center of the space, and vines and hanging plants seem to branch out from there. It’s very easy to pretend you’re in your own secret garden, and all in downtown NYC.
I was craving something savory, so I ordered the poached eggs served over a pulled pork and sweet potato hash. I mean, don’t even get me started. Ridiculously delicious, the flavors were rich and intense, without being too much to handle – it could’ve gone more towards a heavy dinner feeling, but the spices and portions were perfectly suited to the early afternoon. Just enough. There was also a nice heat to the dish, more of a lingering warmth that caused the flavor experience to linger, a bit like smoke, without being smokey.