Note to self: Make reservations before going to weekend brunch in New York City. Brunch isn’t just a delicious meal here; it’s a way of life. A trendy social affair. A place for those hung-over from the night before to continue the party with endless mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, and screwdrivers.
When my mom was in town, we decided to grab some brunch near my building in the Lower East Side. We didn’t make reservations anywhere, but we didn’t think we’d have trouble finding a table on Saturday at noon. However, as we walked down the streets, we saw that restaurants were overflowing with brunch-goers and most places had lines out the door.
I knew brunch was a big deal in NYC, but I didn’t realize half of Manhattan would crowd into the tiny cafes for midday coffee and cocktails.
After unsuccessfully trying to find a restaurant without an intimidating wait, we came across Claw Daddy’s on Orchard Street. A sign on the window advertised lobster and crab and my seafood-loving mom said, “Let’s try here!” Thankfully we snatched up the last open table.
Most brunch places have huge signs offering drink specials like “unlimited mimosas for two hours” or “three cocktails and an entrée for $25, but Claw Daddy’s didn’t advertise their drinks – which is probably why they still had an open table. And although the place did have a selection of cocktails, my mom and I weren’t in the mood for a boozy brunch that day. Coffee was fine by me.
Claw Daddy’s had a semi-small brunch menu and every dish included seafood, which didn’t surprise me considering that the restaurant’s logo is a lobster. My mom decided on the Louisiana crab cake, I got the lobster roll, and we split the lobster mac n’ cheese. My mom also ordered the “Gala Green” cold-pressed juice, which came in a pouch like a juice box! She loved the drink and it was a great photo opportunity.
Lobster roll: Delish! Why don’t people eat lobster for brunch more often? The roll had a generous portion of lobster with the right amount of fixings. The bread wasn’t the best quality but felt perfect for a lobster roll. I’ve never been to Maine, but this is how I imagine “authentic” lobster rolls to look and taste.
Crab cakes: These were good, but not great because the fried coating overpowered the actual crab filling. My mom enjoyed them nonetheless, and the side of black bean ragout was tasty.
Lobster mac n’ cheese: This stuff was creamy, cheese-y, and super filling. I didn’t see too many lobster chunks, but the actual mac n’ cheese tasted real and authentic – you could tell this isn’t the Kraft or Stouffer’s variety. Definitely recommend!