24 October 2011

a brunch at Saro

We wandered up into the Lower East Side with no specific plan and our rumbling stomachs.  After stopping in for the best bloody mary in the city, we rounded the corner to Norfolk Street, noticing a sign for a Balkan Bistro.

We peered into Saro, quickly agreeing to be tucked into a table within the tiny space. I counted 16 seats, a handful more at the bar, within the gold ceiling and walls laced with gold toile. The menu is boasted as "comfort food from long lost empires," with notes of Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empire cuisine.

Ball jars with red peppers and grandmother's mismatched plates pepper the tables. We requested a few glasses of champagne with house made juices. Sweet and refreshing, the daily offerings were pear with clove and watermelon.

While perusing the menu, our waitress offered us warm, house made doughnut holes. The cinnamon-sugar dressed pastry are impressively light.

My fiance selected the Savory Pie of the day: ricotta and spinach with pepper compote, dressed greens and a glass of kefir. The pastry came flaky and the greens  slightly tangy.

For myself, the Benedict with smoked bacon and short rib hash. In place of a traditional english muffin, the eggs rested on toasted sourdough. The bread was spot on for sopping up the delicious hollandaise and expertly poached eggs. Short rib hash: spectacular. The tender meat engaged well with the soft potatoes and onion.

I was delighted to have chef/owner Eran Elhalal greet us as we nibbled. His warm smile was quite genuine. The labor of love is well defined in the quality of the dishes. I'd like to return to sample the dinner menu.

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