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Southern Comforts at Peels

October 29, 2011

I think in a past life, I was secretly a Southerner because I just can’t seem to say no to Southern food.  Hello fried green tomato and fried chicken and, yum, biscuits and gravy and of course, shrimp and grits!  Peels on Bowery has just that kind of Southern driven brunch menu to entice me to venture to East Village last Sunday morning.

Peels, like it’s sister restaurant Freeman, is one popular place.  Part of what had deterred me from coming earlier was the supposed long wait time for brunch.  True to the rumors, the restaurant was full at 11.30AM (relatively early for Sunday brunch) with a small crowd mingling outside on the sidewalk and we were quoted a 45-minute wait for 3.  A little flabbergasted, I passed the time by snapping a few pictures of the sun drenched interior and drooling at the bakery display by the window.

Luckily, we were seated only fifteen minutes later with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.  We took a while with the menu, debating back and forth on the build-a-biscuit section.  Now what would be the perfect combination?  A little bit of fried chicken and cheddar or eggs, avocado and ham?  Alas, the choices and the pressure became too much for us so we decided to shelf the build-a-biscuit for another time.

We enjoyed some selections from the other parts of the menu instead.  The chicken sandwich was crispy, moist and well seasoned, not heavy at all on a soft potato bun.  The fries were thickly cut with the skin on – my favorite preparation.  The Peels biscuit with country gravy and poached eggs was a nice spin on your typical eggs Benedict.  This was one of those stick-to-your-ribs dishes that definitely required a big appetite.  Lastly, my shrimp and grits.  The grits were spiked with jalapeno, bringing just that bit of heat and I just gobbled up the shrimp and smoky bacon bits.

Even though brunch usually doesn’t end with dessert, I couldn’t help myself because I remembered seeing this on the Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets and drooling uncontrollably.  It doesn’t really count as dessert anyways because it’s mostly made of yogurt and fruit – right?  While this might not be everyone’s cup of tea (the verbana ice cream is a bit of surprise) but I loved every bite.  The yogurt tamed the sweet blackberry compote and the meringue added great texture while the verbana ice cream added freshness.

Satisfied with our brunch, I am eager to come back and hopefully next time, we will be equally lucky with the wait and be able to make up our minds about the build-a-biscuit.

Peels | 325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003 |


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