With almost half the city vaccinated and summer about to start, we are so very much looking forward to resuming brunch dessert adventures in NYC! You may recall our winter edition of the “NYC Pancake Diaries,” the spring edition and the fall edition too. As our past reviews overwhelmingly featured pancake destinations in Manhattan, we thought for our summer edit, we would focus on Brooklyn. So without further ado, allow us to introduce six indulgent versions of this scrumptious brunch dessert for your future weekend brunching adventures. Bon appetit!
La belle vie
- Dessert destination: Cafe Luluc, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
- Short and sweet story: Pancakes ($13 + tax/tip). Cobble Hill is the third neighbourhood we have lived in NYC, and perhaps our favourite. Lined with historic brownstones, crisscrossed by leafy streets, dotted with peaceful parks, it’s basically the West Village, without the crowds and trash. A cosy French bistro, Cafe Luluc is about a 10 minute walk from our apartment, so it takes a far bit of self-control not to visit every weekend. For brunch, it serves up some of the chunkiest pancakes in the city. The size of a dinner plate, and spongier than a push-up bra, they are embellished with sliced bananas and a scattering of berries. The hype is real, don’t miss out.
Partying in the Caribbean
- Dessert destination: Kokomo, North Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- Short and sweet story: Plantain pancakes ($20 + tax/tip). Located near the Williamsburg waterfront, drenched in sunlight during the day, and sparkling with fairy lights in the evening, Kokomo is an all-day destination. Bonus points for its very spacious outdoor dining set-up. If Kokomo was a person, it would be an extrovert. Loud music throbs out of outdoor sound boom boxes, and the Caribbean food is an explosion of flavours. The fish sandwich and the beef burger are among the best meat-between-bread creations that we have had in a long time, and the pancakes, while they err on the flatter side, embedded with plantains and topped with whipped coconut cream and a forest of fruits, are scrumptious. Brunching here feels like a party, and gosh, don’t we all feel like partying?
At the divide
- Dessert destination: Reunion, North Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- Short and sweet story: Pancakes ($13 + plus tax/tip). Similar to South-East Asian food, Middle-Eastern cuisine is not particularly well-represented in NYC. Ilili, Balade, Nur, Naya in Manhattan or Yemeni Cafe near us in Brooklyn Heights are probably our go-to when we have that craving, but otherwise there’s a bit of a desert in NYC. Reunion in Williamsburg purports to offer Middle-Eastern-accented fare, but there are no such cultural accents evident in the fluffy stack of pancakes on the menu. Aside from being presented with the fairly usual maple syrup, berry, bananas combination, they also felt rather dry to us. Perhaps it may be better as a dish to be shared with the table, accompanied with Reunion’s more memorable savoury brunch offerings, such as the very good shakshuka and Jerusalem bagel.
A dream of Italy
- Dessert destination: Barano, South Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- Short and sweet story: Semolina Pancakes. Barano is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of Italian restaurants in the city. How does it distinguish itself? Well, we haven’t visited for dinner so we cannot compare its pizza/pasta/entree dishes, but we can certainly comment on its pancakes. They arrive in an enormous gridle, laced with lemon curd and showered with berries. Long-time readers of this dessert blog know we love lemon curd, and this condiment was a perfect counterbalance to the gargantuan carb-intensive bulk. It doesn’t look like Barano currently offers brunch, but perhaps once this pandemic is well and truly over, such a weekend pastime may return. Until then, bookmark Barano.
For the ‘gram
- Dessert destination: Taiyaki, North Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Also located in Chinatown, Manhattan).
- Short and sweet story: Souffle Pancakes ($9 + tax/tip). Two years ago, in 2019, “souffle pancakes” were all the rage in NYC. We tried them all, but only featured Softbite’s Bubble Tea Souffle Pancakes on this dessert blog, in our round-up review of NYC’s Best Bubble Tea Desserts. Another purveyor of such pancakes is Taiyaki, whose Williamsburg store is significantly less crowded than the Manhattan branch. If you love “souffle pancakes”, be sure to visit Taiyaki, their version is the airiest in the city. For us, perhaps due to the pronounced eggy flavour, we just don’t really love “souffle pancakes,” and we prefer Taiyakai’s fish icecream more.
Not for those on a diet
- Dessert destination: Sundays in Brooklyn, North Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- Short and sweet story: Malted Pancakes ($17 + tax/tip). The pancakes from Sundays in Brooklyn were one of the first pancake stacks we had when we first arrived in NYC almost five years ago, and to this day, it remains the most memorable. You have previously heard our rave about it — see here — and five years on, we must rave about it still. Say goodbye to your diet and to boring maple syrup, and say hello to another covid-19 pound and hazelnut maple praline and brown butter. 😛