Address: 276 Elizabeth Street, New York
In a city where almost every restaurant is serving the brunch crowd, it is not difficult to find brunch places where the food is mediocre and the service is so-so. Up to now, the best brunch places we have been to are Norma’s and Alfama in New York City and La Isla in Hoboken. Recently, a friend recommended Café Colonial on Houston and Elizabeth Street, so we went there for brunch with our friend Sarah and Ray on a Sunday afternoon. As expected there was a long wait to get a table, much longer for a bigger group, but the receptionist was so sweet and pleasant, we sort of put up with it.
Cafe colonial is actually a tradition in the south of Brazil started by the European settlers long time ago where lots of food (I mean A LOT) were served as breakfast for settlers who only eat one meal a day. But now, the tradition has become more like a high tea a la Brazilian style. It would be interesting if the Café Colonial in NYC followed the original concept, but I think the café would probably not be as popular/successful as they are now.
Since this is a Brazilian café, the brunch menu is somewhat different. They do serve the standard omelets and pancakes, but they also have some pretty interesting dishes such as such as Tilapia with Mango Salsa, Brazilian style steak, pulled pork sandwich, Beef Colombo (stew) etc. I went with the Tilapia and I thought it was an excellent choice; the fish was fresh and well-seasoned, and it was cooked perfectly. I also liked the Beef Colombo dish that Ray ordered; I thought it was very flavorful. The best part about eating at Café Colonial to me is really the ambiance. Nothing beats looking out onto a hustle and bustle Houston Street on a bright Sunny Sunday afternoon while enjoying delicious brunch and great company.