NYC Best French Toast Diaries – Volume 1


No activity defines a millennial more than brunching.  Indeed, the parents of these Dessert Correspondents have never understood why one would go out and pay anywhere between $15-$40 for food that does not require significant culinary training to conjure.  Nonetheless, brunching has become an integral, and inevitable, part of life – and it is exceedingly rare for anyone to refuse the idea of “brunch” as the weekend catch-up idea.  However mundane and bored with the idea of it we can become, being Dessert Correspondents, brunch is never brunch without something sweet.  We crisscrossed downtown Manhattan to bring you a quintet of scrumptious French Toasts for your brunch dreaming.  Enjoy!

Pretty ‘n’ fruity

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Claudette, Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Fruit-covered French Toast ($16).  For French Toast made from thickly-sliced brioche bread, blanketed with a rainbow of berries, and off-set with the crunch of sprinkled granola and the tang of yogurt, hurry over to the pretty, French-cottage-chic environs of Claudette.

Nutty for Nutella

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Saxon & Parole, Noho/East Village, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Banana and Nutella-stuffed French Toast ($13).  While these Dessert Correspondents can be rather feminine creatures – all dresses and heels and pretty things – sometimes, we just want the strong, masculine fellow.  At the border of Noho and East Village, sits Saxon & Parole, a meat-centric dining spot that resembles a wood cabin with the air of a braisserie.  For brunch, indulge in the French Toast, an almost grilled-toastie-like creation sandwiching banana and Nutella, and doused with maple syrup.

Running for rum and ice cream

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Lafayette, Soho, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Banana Fosters French Toast ($22).  For those occasions where you want a fancier brunch, head to Lafayette. Belle-epoque in style, airy (unlike nearby Balthazar), delightful service and always-dependable food, it is one of our favourite restaurants in New York.  For brunch, look no further than the glorious brick of a French Toast, served with a mountain of ice-cream and a jug of rum caramel.

Brunch dessert combination

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Shuka, Greenwich Village/Soho, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Chocolate Babka French Toast ($16).  We like to multi-task – brunch then shopping, or shopping then late lunch?  At the border of Greenwich Village, Soho and West Village, Shuka is ideally positioned for such a rendezvous.  And when we heard that Shuka takes the delightful Chocolate Babka (a delicious dessert on its own!) and turned it into French Toast, then latticed it over with milk chocolate streussel and whipped cream, our brains went numb with delight.

Boozy caramel craze

  • ☑ Dessert destination: David’s Cafe, East Village, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Banana, Bourbon Caramel and Hazelnut French Toast ($14).  Salted caramel was the #dessertrend of five years ago.  Today?  It’s boozy caramel.  We have previously reviewed Sundays in Brooklyn’s wondrous malted caramel pancakes (see review here), and for the French Toast re-interpretation, check out David’s Cafe.  The cafe is rustic-intimate-bustling (or unfinished-cramped-raucous, depending on your marketing verbiage), but once the French Toast is served in front of you, the cacophony of noise and people blurs out.  This is what they call “tunnel vision.” Laser straight at this exquisite mound.


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