Without a doubt, fall is just a wonderful time in New York. Being able to enjoy a meal outside without profusely sweating is one of the most welcoming changes to the season. And there are actually few things that can top sitting outside amidst a quaint west village block on a sunny, yet breezy September Sunday. Throw food in there and I am not going anywhere for several hours! Dell'anima allowed me to do all of the above and then some this past weekend. Brunch in the fall is one of my favorite weekend activities. It's a great way to catch up with friends, try a new restaurant or stop by an old favorite, and get geared up for an afternoon of football viewing or even street wandering - fall weather allowing you to pretty much do as you please.
I had enjoyed dinner at Dell'Anima several months ago and had recently noticed the packed outdoor tables at brunch time. Remembering how delicious the dinner was, I was eager to finally have a full weekend back in the city so that I could try out their daytime fare. I often feel that brunch can be the true test of a restaurant. Gaining a following in the evenings is one feat. But, as any Top Chef viewer knows, perfecting the egg is the ultimate one. Given that I was already completely content seated outdoors at the top of Bank St (a mere two blocks from home), Dell'anima did not have a hard task ahead of them. However, the minute they brought out lightly toasted Italian bread with a side of whipped butter drowned in honey and pine nuts, I realized that the food might even surpass the amazing setting.
Brunch at Dell'anima is served family style - all dishes arriving in large bowls made for sharing. Yes, this is possible for all meals - not just dinner! This is actually a great idea since it allows you to try up to six different items on the menu without feeling completely gluttonous. Just make sure you go with someone who has similar eating habits since you will be sharing all of your choices. If you really do have a tough time narrowing down the options, you can always order the entire menu for $18 per person or simply choose à la carte for $5 per item. Polishing off the bread and butter before even putting our order in, we decided to go with three items for $14. Luckily, I was with a friend who has great taste - and we were in complete accord on our three choices. We ordered the scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and broccoli rabe with hot peppers - and all were perfectly done. The eggs were far from overcooked and the broccoli had a great kick to it. But, (and this may not come as a surprise), the sausage patties were my absolute favorite part of the meal. It is hard to come by an authentic patty in this city - most restaurants only offering links. Not only did this sausage hold true to its form (they basically resembled mini hamburgers), but the flavors were amazing, reminding me of the patties down south. Cutting the sausage up and pairing it with a little egg and broccoli was actually the ideal bite.
Prior to this meal, my only complaint about brunch was that sharing is not involved. Dell'anima takes pride in their cuisine, recognizing that great food is most enjoyable when you can sample as many items as possible. Once it gets a little cooler and my appetite will naturally grow, I am eager to return and order the entire menu - and without shame. Family style does not mean the portions are too big. While the plates are large, there is only one of them per item! And, if the oatmeal pancakes and polenta are as flawlessly prepared as the items that we ordered, I just might be willing to spend the time indulging and forgo that extra hour of football.
38 8th Ave
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 366-6633