I usually don’t like writing about a restaurant unless I’ve eaten there a few times. But I had so much fun at Brooklyn’s Buttermilk Channel that I’m breaking my own rule. I first heard about this Carroll Gardens hot spot when Frank Bruni’s (generally positive) review appeared in the NYT, and I was thrilled to brunch there with friends last Sunday.
This is a friendly spot on Court Street — maybe a little too friendly as 11am saw a substantial (at least 1/2 hour) wait for a table of four and a mysterious reservation policy (I later discovered reservations are available for parties of five or larger). Tables are covered in brown butcher paper, and the tiled walls raise the sound level past buzzy to loud. (Side note: I was rather shocked on this trip by how loud Americans are. French tend to modulate their voices when in public spaces — not us. My friends and I screamed our way through brunch, trying in vain to hear each other over the deafening chatter of other diners.)
Luckily, we had food to distract us. A judiciously cooked pork chop, crisp on the exterior, juicy within, was accompanied by cheddar waffles and real maple syrup ($15).
Eggs Huntington ($11) featured a pair of poached eggs perched on ham-topped biscuits, the whole slathered in buttery, lemony hollandaise.
I didn’t try the spinach and mushroom scramble ($10), but reports said it was tasty. I’m not sure how I feel about scrambled eggs served in a bowl, which is the house style. I suppose it keeps them hot, but it seems a little… I don’t know, kind of makes them seem like dog food, or something. What do you think?
I did try the sausage ($4), a house-made patty that some at the table found “too dry” (not enough fat) and I found oddly sweet.
The pancakes ($5) were described as “ordinary,” though they were served with real maple syrup. My friend Mike ordered them with a side of scrambled eggs, which also arrived in a bowl ($4)!.
The Bloody Mary is particularly celebrated at Buttermilk Channel. The regular (pictured right, $8) is garnished with house pickles. The “star of the sea” (left, $10) comes with its very own oyster. But woe to the would-be early imbiber! Local Blue Laws (that I had never before heard of) dictate that no alcohol is to be served before 12 noon. We sat down to brunch at 11.28am and drummed our fingers until the clock turned to noon. Bonus points to our waitress, who took our drinks order just as the big hand clicked over. But boo-hiss to the woman at the bar who kept turning to give us dirty looks. I know you were waiting for a table, but we hadn’t even finished eating, okay?
I’d heard raves about the restaurant’s pecan pie sundae, but I suppose those bloody marys were our dessert because our check was deposited on the table before we could even utter the words “ice cream.” Get out, it seemed to say. Fair enough — there were people waiting — but this inhospitability could be combatted by a more universal reservation policy. After all, who wants to be hurried through brunch?
524 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 852 8490
Brunch only on Sundays
P.S. This photo has nothing to do with Buttermilk Channel, though we did run into this rather gruesome pork roast right after our meal. I was trying to snap a shot of the pig, but who knows, maybe that guy on the left thought I was taking a picture of him?