Sunday brunch on the UES is often a family affair with restaurants filled with noisy kids. I’m only mentioning this as a warning of the racket you will experience during brunch time as we did at East Pole Kitchen and Bar where we went to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
When I made my reservation, I requested a candle in a dessert and confirmed that with the hostess when I checked in. We were four, seated in a booth more intended for three. Unless we had wanted to wait, there wasn’t a larger table for us. We squeezed in.
Each of us ordered a different one of their interesting libations. I requested their “spicy” Maria, made using grilled jalapeño-infused tequila and tomato juice ($14). Wanting it extra spicy, I asked for some of their fresh horseradish that the menu called for in their Bloody Mary. Oddly for a Sunday morning, they were out.
The most attractive drink was their namesake sangria colorfully made with red wine, apple brandy and mango nectar ($14) served in a red wine glass. They served both the Sicilian blood orange mimosa ($13) and the peach Bellini ($14) in a champagne glass.
We sipped those nicely made cocktails while trying to decide what to choose. Two friends decided on the wild boar ragu over the fresh pappardelle ($29) with shreds of Parmigiana Reggiano. Those chunks of boar were amazingly tender. The cheeseburger ($24) topped with crisp bacon slices was cooked exactly how ordered; my friend upgraded the accompanying fries to those with truffles (+$5). The only disappoint was my duck hash ($26). No complaints about the flavor of the duck with two nicely runny poached eggs, over lots of confit duck and a couple of potatoes. What was missing were the menu-promised “market” veggies (there was a smidgen of spinach).
As we ordered one dessert to share, we reminded our waiter about the candle. The ice cream sundae ($14) with vanilla and salted caramel ice cream whipped cream, Pimms soaked cherries and a chocolate sauce that hardened from the cold of the ice cream came sans the candle. After finding our waiter, we did get an unlit candle – it took a few other waiter interactions to find a match. By this time, the lack of a lit candle became quite funny.
I don’t recommend East Pole (especially during the noisy Sunday brunch), as service is half the experience. Management training may be in order.