I’ve mentioned before that I live in the Financial District, more specifically, I live around the corner from one of NYC’s newest Michelin Star restaurants, Crown Shy.
I started visiting Crown Shy long before they received their star (though there were whispers about one from the week it opened). First for a few small plates and drinks at the bar. Then for a few entrees and drinks at the bar. Then for the chicken, then back just for the desserts, then a stop before a late dinner…and drinks at the bar.
I once gushed that the pasta changed my life (the Caramelle, Morels, Chèvre dish that’s no longer on the menu), that the olive bread served at the start of each meal was the best in the city, but mostly I come back for the bar. The cocktails are great, the beers are OK but the energetic bartenders and the relaxed yet sophisticated vibe are what makes a seat at the Crown Shy bar one of my favorites in the neighborhood. (Also the seats have backs and that 100% helps!)
These thoughts were always sort of swirling around in my mind but attending brunch service over the weekend in the dining room solidified them. It was the first handful of weekends Crown Shy was serving brunch.
A full third of the menu is rightfully a showcase for the excellent pastry team that makes the bread and desserts which are always highlights of dinner service (I assume this team is also responsible for the popular and decadent gruyère churros on the dinner menu).
While the rest of the menu is somewhat standard brunch fare, a french toast here, a steak sandwich there, a $15 yogurt dish (though surprisingly no eggs benedict in sight). We got a bread and some sandwiches and boyy do I wish we just ordered all the pastries. But that’s not what’s important. What is important is that I kept glancing over my shoulder making sure there were a couple seats left at the bar so we could move their after our entrees.
Would I have enjoyed brunch more if I were at the bar? Maybe…I do think they’re still working out the kinks and it will eventually be a go-to brunch spot in Manhattan. The yuzu mimosas offer a peek into that future, everything you want in a mimosa (not-too-sweet sparkling wine, very fresh orange juice) with a delightful twist in the addition of almost herbal flavor from yuzu.
Perched at the bar with our favorite bartender, Chelsea, and the rest of the team we finished the midday meal with one last cocktail..and a beer. The company was so lovely and the atmosphere so cozy it almost made me forget that the beer list is a small selection of hyper-local choices. A 100% NY based beer menu is surprising at a restaurant with global influence serving ‘nduja, shiso, cappellacci, and braised ends in a span of less than 20 dishes.
The beer list stands in steep contrast to the inventive cocktail menu that spans from the low alcohol to the stiff and stirred. Italian Vermouth mingles with szechuan peppercorn in one offering, another calls for star anise and coffee, my favorite during this stop at the bar was featured both rose and…yogurt (that would be the Sinclair.) My go-tos are more classic in their making the Oysterman, a gin cocktail with a wisp of tarragon, and the RIP Aerlume, where rye and campari meet saffron.