We decided to give The Clocktower brunch another chance as the first time we went was a bit of a disaster. The service was substandard, the food was underwhelming and to top it all off our daughter was just not in the brunchy kinda mood that day. This time around we left our daughter with Lola Joy and decided to have a nice "Adult Brunch."
A little background: The Clocktower is located in the Edition Hotel which was the former Met Life Tower on Madison Ave. Not a neighborhood we usually frequent, but we fell in love with Jason Atherton's City Social in London (treated by my fiancee for my 40th) so we wanted to try his New York outlet. The venue has a very british private members club feel to it and reminded me a little bit of the Ivy Club in London. The ceilings are high with original molding and the walls are covered in framed black and white photos of people spanning a couple of decades. There was a photo of Debbie Harry circa 1980s in the pool room that caught my eye. There are multiple rooms including a bar room with a horseshoe bar, a pool room and two dining rooms with a fireplace in the main dining room providing a warm and cozy feeling. The rooms are very dark which make the venue perfect for fall/winter.
The manager greeted us upon arrival and we were seated at a two top adjacent to the fireplace with a view of the entire room. We arrived for an early brunch and it was not very busy. At this time around there were 4 other tables including us in the dining room. The place settings and linens were standard to a fine dining establishment with a rose and mini Bonne Maman jams. By the time we left, it was prime brunch time and the dining room was packed.
I had gone to the restroom and when I returned, the server came back with a Mimosa cart with 3 different options of champagne and 2 mixer options: orange juice or a spanish sangria mix which included plum and cherry. We choose the sangria which was a bit too sweet for my taste, but I also am not a big fan of champagne, but my lady loves it. The cart service was a nice touch, but could have provided more of a wow factor by including more mixer options as well as multiple garnish pairings.
My wife had coffee and I had some english breakfast tea like a Proper British Lad. Our first course was the Hudson Valley foie gras and chicken liver parfait, London stout, lentils, smoked duck. The dish was plated beautifully and was equally delicious. It was both decadent and soothing at the same time. I almost felt guilty for eating it at brunch...almost.
For our brunch entrees, I had the Full English Breakfast, naturally as we are staying with the Proper British Lad theme here and the Mrs. had the Dry Aged Burger with a fried egg. Now, my lady being from the UK, I have had my fair share of Full English/Irish Breakfasts and they mostly never disappoint and this one was no different. Although I do have to say, you cannot touch Mummy Gamble's Full Irish Breakfast. That is the best. Everything down to the black pudding was well prepared and executed and I will never understand black pudding. The Mrs.'s burger was the perfect medium rare and the chips gave her that feeling of home.
For dessert, yes we actually ordered dessert even though I was reaching the point of what New Yorkers like to call "the Itis". She was intrigued by the Lemon Tart, sage lemon curd, toasted meringue, blackberry bramble sorbet. The server sold us on it. She said it was the best. The presentation of the dish was simply stunning. Spirals of tart with a dollop of sorbet in the middle. I only had a taste, but it was definitely one of the best desserts I have seen visually.
Overall, our 3 course brunch was arguably one of the best I have ever had in NYC, which is saying a lot for me as I have been working in NYC hospitality for over 15 years. I highly recommend The Clocktower brunch (http://theclocktowernyc.com), we are excited to hit up the dinner. - PeeJay Bodoy