Small plates and tapas are becoming more and more popular within New York, likely due to the fact that it’s a format of eating that caters well to large groups who are also looking to get together for drinks. Or, if you’re like me and my friends, the chance to just try everything on the menu. Atoboy came up on my radar as a recent opening in New York, and what makes it unique is not only it’s small plate offerings but it’s exclusive focus on actually my favorite part of Korean cuisine: banchan, the side dishes.
It’s no secret that it’s easier to get a table at popular eateries if you have fewer people. Four people or less is recommended. Two is ideal. One is best. But, to me, brunch is a meal that isn’t as fun when eaten alone. Fortunately, a friend was available to visit Penelope with me. Despite the long brunch hours – from 8AM to 4PM – Penelope still can’t take all the hungry New Yorkers fight to get a table. And it’s pretty packed in there. Even more so than Good Enough to Eat.
Arriving pretty late in the day, around 11:30AM, we ended up waiting almost two hours for a table at the back counter for two. Be warned as well: they’ll stop taking names if they know they’re going to have enough capacity until 4PM, so definitely get your name down for a table before 2PM or even 1PM. So was the wait worth it?
The other day, an underclassman that I know stopped me as I was crossing a street by yelling, “Wait, what’s your favorite sandwich shop?!” The question surprised me. Despite my love of food, no one’s really asked me if I ever had a “favorite.” Yes, they’ll ask if a place is good or bad but never something as difficult and seemingly permanent as a favorite. But then I realized that I tend to use the word “favorite” generously, letting my short-term preferences dictate what I deem worthy at the top of the list. That particular day was no different. That underclassman and his friend wanted to do a sandwich tour of New York. Disregarding all the immediately nationally-recognized places, I recommended Parisi Bakery to him.
Taboonette is the little sibling of Taboon Restaurant up in Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s definitely gaining a large following of its own. Similar to Taboon, Taboonette focuses on what the owners call Middleterranean food – a fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. When you think of shawarma or falafel in New York, you might first think of the low-cost street, smoking carts on nearly every major corner in the city. So I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Taboonette and found a very modern, spacious restaurant with an interesting contrast of dark wood and white tile.
To ensure that we all keep in touch and get out a little more often, my friends and I formed a brunch group. Well, we do a lot of things together regardless, but it just seemed logical to focus heavily on our shameless interest in eating. One of my friends has lovingly dubbed us The Brunch Bitches and jokes that we should start making our own key chains and other memorabilia. I’ll leave the name up in the air… But I do love the idea that we’ve sort of formed a club. The first place we visited was Friend of a Farmer, a brunch place one of my friends absolutely loves.
Friend of a Farmer is decorated as if it’s a cozy home in the countryside. The patterned wallpaper, wooden picture frames, and hanging copper pans help to take away from the fact that the restaurant is jam packed. It’s difficult to pull out your seat without bumping into a server or fellow guest. But I think that’s a bit of the charm of the place.