Is there anything in the world better than Sunday brunch?
No, no there isn't. While I was in New York City for Columbus Day weekend I planned a brunch for me, my sister and a friend who just moved to the city. I want she and my sister to meet as they are both new to the Big Apple, they are both artists and I just knew they'd hit it off.
My friend suggested we meet for brunch at a place called Buvette in the West Village. I had never heard of it and we couldn't locate their menu on their website, but the Yelp reviews were off the charts, so we agreed.
We arrived around 10:30am on Sunday morning and we would have missed Buvette all together had it not had a charming bicycle parked out front with the restaurant's name on it.
My sister is the one who spotted the bike and thank goodness, we almost walked right by.
You would never know it from the street, but Buvette has an outdoor patio at the rear of the restaurant. If you look closely at their storefront you can see the little green script that reads, "Le petit jardin."
We gave our name to the hostess who added us to the waiting list. Buvette keeps track of their list with chalk on a beam right next to the front door. I've never seen that before!
While we were waiting I poked around a little bit. Inside the door is Buvette's bar, perfectly for dining solo.
I love their giant chalkboard map of France and Italy on the right wall. You know I can't resist a chalkboard.
We only had to wait about eight minutes before we were seated. We had tremendous luck and the hostess offered us the last available table on the outdoor patio.
Buvette's patio is teeny tiny. It's five tables in a very narrow space.
The patio furniture is bright red, adding a pop of color to the otherwise neutral cityscape.
From our seats we could see trees and sun in every direction. It was very serene.
A waitress arrived and gave each of us a paper menu. I love the Buvette menu! Each section has an adorable cartoon next to it. I particularly liked the line above the yogurt offering which read, "Sugar and spice, and all things nice."
To start, my friend ordered a coffee and they brought her raw sugar and a side of steamed milk. How French!
My sister ordered a cafe ole but when it arrived they said, "And here's your latte." Either way, she got a beautiful heart in her foam.
When it came to ordering food we basically wanted everything. I can often convince dining partners to go for broke in the name of blog research, which is exactly what we did here.
We started with the croissants. What arrived was a saucer with two petite croissants (could fit in the palm of your hand), with a spoonful of butter and a dollop of raspberry jam. Ever the lady, my sister ripped off a piece of croissant and just dragged it through both the butter and jam. Real classy.
The croissants were so light, flaky and buttery. They were just perfect.
Next we had my favorite item of the item meal, toast topped with walnut pesto. I have no idea why this was so delicious but the walnut mixed with the olive oil was just spectacular. I could have eaten 10 of these.
We also ordered the Brussels sprouts. I thought they would come whole, but instead they were shaved and mixed with cheese and walnuts. They had a very crisp, refreshing taste to them,
For her main meal, my friend ordered the eggs americane, which was two pieces of toast topped with a fried egg, bacon and sun dried tomatoes. How good does that look?
My sister decided on the croque madame, a very traditional French dish. Inside the sandwich were pieces of ham, but it was also topped with prosciutto.
In French restaurants I always feel upset that there is no meatless version of a croque madame or a croque monsieur, but at Buvette there is! It's called the croque forestier and it's stuffed and topped with mushrooms and finished with gruyere cheese. It also comes with a side of mini pickles!
The bread was perfectly toasted, the mushroom flavor was strong but not overpowering and the gruyere held it all together. The pickles helped cut the strong taste of the mushrooms.
After we all felt like we were about to bust out of our clothes, I excused myself to use the ladies room. The bathrooms are down a small flight of stairs.
There are two bathrooms each marked with the word "Toilette" in dainty cursive.
I loved this giant business card hanging on the wall. Now I want to visit their location in Paris.
In addition to the fantastic smelling hand soap in the bathroom they also had very luxurious lotion.
When I arrived back at our table the check had come and was topped with Buvette's gorgeous card. I love how they put such care and thoughtfulness into every single detail of their business.
In a way I wish I didn't know about Buvette because now I am going to go back there again and again instead of trying new places. The outdoor patio is such a little piece of city heaven and the food is sensational.
Visit Buvette at 42 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014.