good shmeats

one food-loving vegetarian taking New York City's restaurants one plate at a time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rosewater - Park Slope

Rose Water
787 Union Street (between 5th and 6th Ave)

Sunday brunch in New York City is an institution - a scheduled moment of relaxation, weekend networking, or gossip catch-up that is often scribbled by Wednesday afternoon into an already over crowded Blackberry. Considering the vital role it plays in the rhythm of a frenzied work week, New Yorkers place high expectations on brunch. Fortunately Rose Water shines between the hours of 11AM and 3PM.

Perched just off of Park Slope's most-traversed block (Union Street between 6th and 7th Ave), Rose Water strikes the elusive balance between upscale sophistication and homey coziness. The decor exudes an elegant charm, like it was designed by your quiet college roommate who devoured English Lit classics and spent Friday nights knitting coordinated scarf/mitten sets. A brick archway ushers diners in, where they are greeted by oversized potted branches, a bookshelf of cookbooks and tasteful knickknacks, and a row of cheerful paintings.

The only downside is that Rose Water is also reminiscent of your dorm room - in size. Rosewater opens for brunch at 11AM and by half past is uncomfortably bustling with anticipating patrons who spill out past the doors and onto the Union street sidewalk.

The $12 prix fixe entitles brunch-goers to an entree and drink - coffee or juice, unfortunately not both. But there is nothing skimpy about the entree options. The chefs at Rose Water attempt boldly exotic flavor combinations like a banana ginger waffle with papaya mango chutney and a fritata brimming with sweet vidalia onions, mustard greens, olives, provolone cheese, and fragrant jasmine rice.

I am almost embarrassed to describe my meal at Rosewater - I wouldn't want to kindle jealousy over the embarrassment of culinary riches I enjoyed. (But here goes - take a deep breath.) I decided to forego my usual cup of coffee and try the cardamom-spiced hot chocolate. The white teacup of warm chocolate I received fit snuggly between my cupped palms. Puddled with milky whipped cream, the chocolate was subtly sweet and intoxicatingly fragrant with cardamom. It evoked the richness of the homemade cardamom gelato I savored during a summer trip to Tuscany.

For brunch I selected Rose Water's Pink Lady Apple Pancakes, immediately drawn to the idea of the cinnamon cashew butter that accompanied them. Shortly after, a stack of two brioche-thick pancakes arrived with a creamer of warmed maple syrup. Each pancake was ringed with seasonal pink lady apple slices. Crunchy cashew pieces added texture to the supple pancakes and delicate apple. As promised, a crowning hill of cinnamon cashew butter slowly melted into the cakes, soaking into the half-exposed apple wedges. I sighed audibly upon my first bite and at several bites throughout my meal.

My brunch-mate ordered a Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with savory thick-cut French fries and homemade ketchup (which turned out to be more of an acidic tomato puree. Honestly, I would have preferred the Heinz variety). The eggplant slices were flecked with feta cheese and served on a firm roll. Although I rarely condone the practice of ordering lunch foods at brunch, her sandwich played a perfect foil to my combination of decadent breakfast sweets.

In a city where mid-morning meals dominate weekend dining, nearly every New Yorker has a favorite place to brunch. If they don't, perhaps it is simply because they haven't been to Rosewater yet.


At 9:21 PM, Blogger R2K said...

Ahh Park slope! So close to home! I have reviewed a few park slope bathrooms in my blog page (bathroom review). Great work! Glad to see another New Yorker in this crazy internet.


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