Sunday, January 31, 2010

Penelope's Brunch in Murray Hill

Penelope's on 159 Lexington Avenue at 30th Street is a quaint little cafe/bakery/restaurant that serves up one of the best Egg, Ham and Cheese English Muffin sandwiches, also known as Penny Egg Sandwich. What makes this sandwich different than many other food establishments is the PESTO that lines the english muffin and the fluffy scrambled egg that sits between the bread. Oh, so delicious. Though, the brunch menu says its made with american cheese, its not the typical yellow american cheese you are accustomed to, its white and has a milder flavor. If you order the Penny Egg Sandwich, you have the option of putting it on a croissant, which in my opinion is a travesty. If you place it on a croissant, the heat from the ingredients will make the sandwich greasy, or way tooo buttery. Also, you can have the sandwich prepared with its main ingredients - eggs, cheese & pesto sandwiched between your bread choice for $8 - but where is the fun in that? Among your meat choices are ham, sausage, bacon, soy sausage or fakin bacon and since I already gave away what my favorite sandwich is, you know the best is with HAM ($8.50). Plus, it makes the sandwich less greasy. If I can leave you with one other piece of knowledge about this sandwich -- it is to order extra PESTO on the side -- you will fall in love with the sauce and would likely want to add more of it. So, go and enjoy one of the best egg, ham and cheese english muffin sandwiches I've ever had! (see you later McDonald's!)

If you're not a fan of this type of sandwich (blasphemy!), there are other things on Penelope's brunch menu that I'd recommend (all $14 entrees and served with your choice of Apple Cider, Mimosa or Coffee/Tea and Juice) and of course others I'd tell you to pass on.

The Salmon Wrapped Poached Eggs -- two farm fresh eggs wrapped in smoked salmon on black toast with green goddess dressing, served with greens. A definite GO and order menu... Ample portions and good breakfast item.

Nutella French Toast - three slices of french toast filled with warm chocolate hazelnut filling, dusted with powdered sugar, served with a side of fresh fruit -- sounds better than it tastes; the french toast is made with a baguette, which comes out hard and is not to my liking. This is a personal preference, but I prefer my french toast to be soft, not hard or crunchy -- they should change it to challah bread.

Pumpkin Waffles - with apple butter, dried cranberries, toasted cinnamon-cardamon pecans and warm baked apples -- again, sounds better than it tastes. If you're a pumpkin pie lover and want that pumpkin/cinnamon taste, you are better off ordering something else. You can barely taste the pumpkin or the cinnamon (hmm, perhaps its a good thing?), so I'd much rather prefer the traditional waffles.

Desserts/Cakes -- You really can't go wrong with anything that you choose; its all very delicious - so treat yourself to something sweet!

Though, I've talked a lot about its brunch/breakfast menu, I've also been there for lunch/dinner. I'd highly recommend the Curried Chicken Salad ($9.25), Mac & Cheese ($6.50) and Chicken Meatballs ($8).

This place is notorious for long waits over the weekend, so if you plan to have breakfast/brunch with friends, I'd recommend going early (as in 8-10 am), and go with just ONE friend. If you're a popular cat and is desperately trying to get a table for four or six people -- you will be painstakingly waiting for a hour or more if you arrive later than 10 am. On the plus side, you can enjoy their free coffee while you wait (um, probably not worth it especially if you're standing outside in the cold!). You'd be better off getting your breakfast at Banc on 3rd avenue! If you don't want to wait (who does?) and are only a party of two, you can also try to sneak into the bar area in the back, which is first come first serve or order to go and eat at home. :D

Happy Eating and don't forget to order that Penny Egg Sandwich!

159 Lexington Avenue (at 30th street)
NY, NY 10016
(212) 481-3800

About Penelope's: Penelope's opened in 2003 and is created and operated by Jennifer Potenza and built by her partner Michael Tsoumpas. The restaurant's menu is loosely based off of all the places that Jen has worked at - individually picking out certain items that she has loved to eat/drink at her previous places of work - which has varied from working/serving in clam shacks in Cape Cod, deli sandwiches in Montauk, coffee shops in Chelsea, cocktail nights in the east village, and Italian wines near Soho.

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