I don’t brunch even in the most brunchy of neighborhoods so finding someplace inoffensive to eat a late breakfast/early lunch in Bay Ridge kind of threw me. No, it didn’t have to be Bay Ridge or nothing but I’d decided to take the exciting task of finding a new kitchen trashcan to Brooklyn’s Century 21. Why not combine such fun with a nearby meal?
We were quoted 45 minutes at Tanoreen, my first choice. And if I’ve learned anything about estimated waits it’s that they always exceed reality (except at chain restaurants where they’re eerily accurate). I got out of there pronto.
We naively crossed the street to check out some nondescript place across the street but had the crap scared out of us by a sea of neighborhood Mother’s Day prix-fixers. Without reservations we were offered a table through two dining rooms, in a tent on a heated patio. That was not going to work either.
After a drive and a walk we ended up at Saint Germain, a cute, well-intentioned café with good enough food and frighteningly scatterbrained service. As long as you’re not in a hurry it’s fine, and with only garbage can finding on my agenda, this was within the realm of acceptability.
This also appeared to be a Mother’s Day hotspot but we weren’t forced into any mandatory set menu. We did opt for the prix fixe, though, which includes eggy things and croque monsieurs, coffee, fresh-squeezed juice (at least I think) and a dessert from the glass case near the door. For $16.95 you might expect a morning eye-opener, but mimosas and the like (I don’t understand mojitos and caiparinhas at Frenchie bistros) were extra, and frankly, a drink was the last thing I needed.
I expected a dainty omelet but this was American in proportions. Really it was more egg than anything and not overstuffed in the least. Thinly sliced ham, melting brie and large tangles of spinach stayed tidy and tucked inside. The combination was pleasant but I regretted not ordering something with hollandaise. Since I never eat breakfast food I like doing it was gusto. The potatoes were surprisingly good and unmealy. In fact, they almost tasted deep-fried they were so crispy.
The post meal dessert seemed to be their calling card; everyone appeared genuinely excited to get up and peek in the case to make their big decision. The rational part of me wasn’t going to partake in that course but after seeing all of the little cakes and pastries I lost my nerve and joined in.
Hopelessly unnatural or not, I love the vivid fake greens used to signify pistachio. The marizipan-like goo’s sweetness was offset by the pears, which were more fruity texture than cloying. I think it was a good use of sugar, carbs and all that.
Because I know you’re wondering, Century 21 was a bust. You have no idea how difficult it is finding a simple Rubbermaid-like foot pedal garbage canister and not one of those $100+ stainless steel ones. Already on a ridiculous goose chase, we ended up at the polar opposite of Carroll Gardens: bizarre planned community Starrett City, home to the borough’s only Bed Bath & Beyond. Oh, and the only Tuscan-style Olive Garden I’ve ever seen in the city (yes, I'm obsessed with America's Tuscan obsession). It was worth the journey for a peep at that stone-clad monstrosity, alone.
Saint Germain * 8303 Third Ave., Brooklyn, NY