NYC Best Pancake Diaries – Volume 5

Introduction

This is our third year of the pandemic, and boy are we soooo ready not to have to wear masks anymore!  In celebration of a new spring, here’s our fifth volume of the latest and greatest pancakes to be had in NYC.  And if you are wondering about other scrumptious pancakes, don’t forget about our previous pancake diaries (see here, here, here and here).  Enjoy!


A dream of clouds

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Rule of Thirds, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Japanese Souffle Pancake ($18 + tax/tip).  Hard to imagine that 2-3 years ago, before the pandemic, the only virus taking NYC by storm was the Japanese-style souffle pancake.  Gravity defying, with strong egg tones, you either loved it or hated it.  Fast forward 2-3 years and the hype has peaked, but it nonetheless still makes a sporadic presence here and there.  We recently spotted it at a little hideaway on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.  Rule of Thirds is a splendid indoor/outdoor space, and a rather immersive one.  You will feel as though you are in a quiet corner of Japan (and NYC).  The brunch menu leans towards its Japanese roots, and far away from the b-o-r-i-ng avocado toast.  And don’t miss the “Japanese Souffle Pancake,” a skillet filled with a cloud-like creation that you spoon into your mouth with a wooden scoop.  That dollop of honey maple butter too…it’s heaven on earth. 

When NYC meets Paris

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Pastis, Chelsea, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story:  Pancakes ($18 + tax/tip). Pastis is one of those NYC restaurants where you visit to feel like you are in the NYC portrayed in the movies.  It’s loud, it’s crowded and it’s full of all the beautiful people.  Whereas we would not wear our heeled boots, tailored wool coats and silk skirts while brunching in Brooklyn, we have no hesitation doing so here.  The French-accented food somewhat plays second fiddle to all the people-watching that abounds.  It’s neither extraordinary nor is it mediocre, it’s just reliable fare.  In that vein, Pastis’ generous platter of pancakes — dusted in icing sugar and accompanied with a jug of maple syrup and a crucible of butter — is a reminder that restaurant dining is more than just about the food, it’s about the whole experience.    

New York hustle

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Catch, Chelsea, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story:  Cinnamon Roll Pancakes ($21 + tax/tip). New York moments are fleeting.  That sprinkle of snow before it turns into a muddy slush.  That breath of spring blossom before the sweat of summer.  That chance meeting that becomes a relationship or a friendship or a business opportunity.  Life in NYC is all about the hustle, and when you need a jolt of energy, no look further than Catch.  Set above street-level, it’s vibrant and bustling, and yes, crowded.  But the joie de vivre among the diners here, gosh we missed that after two years of pandemic semi-isolation.  Catch’s “Cinnamon Roll Pancakes” are somewhat ironing board-flat, but they are very very sweet, and oh sooo very much just what the doctor prescribed to lift up our spirits.  😛

An American soul

  • ☑ Dessert destination: The Smith, various locations in Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Pancakes ($18 + plus tax/tip).  The Smith was one of the first restaurants we visited 5-6 years ago when we first arrived in NYC, and it took us until now to revisit again.  Why did we revisit?  Because The Smith is somewhere you go to for reliable, value-for-money food.  At The Smith, you know that if you order pancakes, they will come in a towering stack (i.e. not just a miserable slice) and it will be doused in maple syrup, and you will leave incredibly full and satisfied.  And sometimes, in a city where there are a thousand brunch cafes, many of which peddle just so-so brunch food, even tiny tiny medallion pancakes, sometimes you just need reliable. 

A life of no regrets

  • ☑ Dessert destination: Bessou, East Village, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Banana Foster Hotcakes ($19 + tip/tax).  What do you want in life?  We want a life full of adventure and travel, of love and family and friendship, we want a life of no regrets.  And when it comes to brunching, we always try to go in a group because then you can order everything and try everything 😛  (aka no food regrets).  We have visited Bessou quite a few times now, and cue Lego Movie song, “everything is awesome” here.  The fried chicken is perfection, the steak frites so satisfying, and the pancakes…oh the pancakes.  Made a little crispy, it’s nonetheless a tower of fluff, saturated in a black sugar syrup and accompanied with sides of caramelized bananas and salted miso caramel ice cream.  Bessou is undoubtedly, one of our favourite brunch places in the city. 

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