In which I go to brunch downtown and eat all sorts of fantastic food instead of studying for my midterm (because food>school, obviously).
Hundred Acres is another one of those New York restaurants that has a wonderful reputation; everyone who goes there inevitably raves about it. So true to form, the best food buddy Cindy and I decided that we would just drop everything else and catch up over a nice meal there on Sunday. I certainly thought that ceding to the appetitive part of the soul was necessary to understand Plato and his conception of self-control and virtue.
Paltry excuses aside, I really did feel like I needed to take a brunch break (though let’s be real; I could always use a brunch break). This was one of the cutest little restaurants in the cutest little neighborhood; I adored the fall-themed decorations and the comfortable dining space. Everything was cleanly and elegantly arranged yet still pretty casual and fun.
Having made a reservation, we were seated as soon as we got there, which was great because they were already booked to capacity and we would have had to wait at least an hour otherwise. Because we were in a self-indulgent mood (having been reading about Plato and the appetites), we sprang for the chicken liver toast ($10) followed by their baked eggs in a tomato stew ($14) and their famous goat cheese and sage bread pudding ($16).
Oh, what a glorious meal.
The toast was piled high with chunky and tender chicken liver flavored with onions and garlic, and it was incredible how well-balanced everything felt. While the liver was creamy and rich, it wasn’t so fatty that it felt overwhelming (thinking about foie gras), mostly because there was a perfect ratio of topping to bread. The bits of sour pickled beets and fragrant fried onion crisps made for a truly luscious dish.
Then there was the baked egg dish, which reminded me of a shakshuka. Intense tomato flavor and beautifully poached eggs, but I wish they had provided more than the single tiny slice of toast to sop up the whole thing. There was just so much intensity that it needed something to ease the sudden assault on the tastebuds. It wasn’t bad, but nothing incredibly special either.
But the sage and goat cheese bread pudding. Oh. My. God.
There are few times I will say that something is life-changing; besides Nobu, Obicà and Jack’s Wife Freda, very little has blown my mind and completely made me rethink everything I know about food. But this dish was life-changing. The bread was gloriously soft and tender and moist with a sinfully rich butteriness that paired perfectly with the aromatic sage and creamy goat cheese, and the yolk porn from the poached eggs was real. The dish had an interesting duality of sweet and savory that intrigued and tantalized more than confused the tastebuds, and the spinach provided a nice freshness to balance out the richness of the rest of the dish. The result was one of the most decadent brunch dishes I’ve had the privilege of eating. I think I’m going to have fantasies about this bread pudding for a very long time.
Portion sizes weren’t the biggest, but we were more than satisfied by the end of our meal. I’ll definitely be looking for any excuse to return for that bread pudding.
Rating: Overall 4.5/5 spoons, but the bread pudding gets an extra spoon 🙂