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March 22nd,
written by Arthur

And I learned that by "Perch," they don't mean the fish.

Saturday morning, after a late night of grilling, poker playing, and a backyard bonfire, my roomie Nick suggested that it was time for brunch.  Fayaz was out of town to Miami on “spring break” and Meg was stuck in Midtown editing an article for the law journal, but a few guests had spend the night – one visitor from Maryland and two NYC friends who decided not to brave the 4:30 a.m. subway ride home from Park Slope — so we had a nice little crew.  After a bit of internet searching to decide where to go, we were out walking in the cool spring air to the Perch Cafe.

Before I talk about Perch Cafe I have a Minnesotan confession.  When I heard the name Perch, I immediately thought of the little fish that I would catch as a kid–not the thing birds do on sticks and wires.  I know, surprising since I currently live with two pet birds.  I guess it just goes to show: you can take the Minnesotan out Minnesota, but not the Minnesota out of the Minnesotan.

When the five of us arrived at 12:30, brunch was in full swing.  True to Park Slope the children were numerous, but after almost three years out here it’s kind of nice to see them.  There wasn’t an open table in the place… but there was outside!  All wasn’t lost, we wouldn’t need to wait 30 minutes to get seated, as we made our way directly to the patio.  The air was cool, but the sun was warm so we jumped at the chance to take the brunch outdoors.

Last week, I wrote a post about my brunch experience at Sette and I can’t help but compare.  The Perch brunch was filled with pandemonium, but the terrific attitudes of our server and the manager, plus the pure awesomeness of the food made for a night-and-day difference in brunching-experience at this place after my recent disappointment with Sette.

The confusion for our server seemed present from her first appearance: she poked her head out the back door, looked around and pondered, seemingly to herself, whether we were her party of five.  She slipped back inside and came back in a few minutes with water and only 4 sets of cutlery for the 5 of us.  But she was positive and upbeat and we all enjoyed exchanging a few stupid jokes as we ordered.  The food came out in spurts, and there was a need to switch-up an order of waffles because the kitchen had run out of batter.  After the first plate or two came out Matt, in visible pain, decided that the night before had gotten the better of him, and that it was best that he head home for a nap.  There seemed to be a lot of confusion about what food would be ready when.  At one point, refilling our coffee, the waitress looked  particularly stressed and we inquired what was going on.  A little prodding finally invoked a report of a fight in the kitchen (which she had just broken up), but she assured us that everything was back on track now and the rest of the food would be on its way.   We then, along with a number of apologies, received the rest of the orders  as they were ready.

It was all little crazy.  But the waitress was upbeat, apologetic, and happy to joke with us about the situation.  A complete contrast to the manner of the sulking waiter at Sette, faced with similar hiccups.  And, near the end of our meal, that manager came over, introduced himself, and explained that there was a new cook getting used to handling the big brunch rush and that our drinks and some of the food would be comped.

I should also note that the patio started to fill as we ate, and that other tables seemed to have smooth sailing with their orders.  I think we just got hit by some of the chaos that can happen at any restaurant and the people at Perch handled it well.

But, let’s not forget to address the excellent food.  Between the five us, we filled the table with huevos rancheros (my order), waffles, French toast, eggs Benedict, corn chowder, tomato soup, and grilled cheese.  With a lot of sharing  at the table, I was able to sample a little of everything.

The huevos rancheros started with a tortilla and with a layer of black beans, topped with two perfectly-fried eggs, some sour cream, and guacamole.  With a generous helping of the Tabasco sauce (I’m a big fan of spice, in case you haven’t noticed), I was very content.  I just love  the combination of black beans and eggs for breakfast.  And the eggs were done right, with nice runny yolks, but a good crisp on the bottom and edges.  (The color in the photo is a little  off, the guac was beautiful and bright in person–my cellphone camera sometimes just decides to blue out pictures.)

The eggs Benedict, which I have an ever-growing soft spot for, were delicious.  Again, nice runny yolk and a good ham-to-egg-to-bread ratio.  In an interesting twist, Perch used corn bread as a base, in place of the traditional English muffin.  In my experience, corn bread can be hit or miss.  Sometimes it’s just too dry for my taste.  In this case, either from some inherent cornbread moisture or from the runny yolk and Hollandaise sauce, the corn bread had just the right level of moisture and worked as a perfect base for getting all the deliciousness onto the fork.  This dish also came with homefries, which, in an interesting change-up to the standard fair, included sweet potato.

The French toast and the waffles were good–if you are into that kind of thing.  I just don’t understand why I would eat the “sweet” when there is so amazing “savory” to be enjoyed.

The corn chowder was good pick for the cool day and actually pretty perfect to eat via dunking the bread that came on the side.  Finally, the grilled cheese and tomato soup was rock star.  Yeah, grilled cheese and tomato soup is pretty much always satisfying and it would probably take some work to make it fail, but this stuff was really done well: the soup was thick and chunky and grilled cheese had just the right crunch to the bread.

Each dish was a solid execution of a simple, tasty idea.  All-in-all, Perch Cafe should find it’s way into everyone’s BK brunch rotation.

Next up, the Do-It-Yourself brunch!



  1. Loren

    You have TWO birds now? You’re turning into the young/male/avian version of the crazy old cat lady.

  2. Arthur

    Two between Meg and me. And only one is high maintenance!

  3. […] to see a brunch spot in the top 10, but after mulling it over for a few days I couldn’t pull Perch Cafe out.  The brunch fills me with all the joy and comfort I would expect from this early afternoon […]

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