Monday, November 21, 2011

Upstairs At The Kimberly Revisited: This Time It's For Brunch!

By: Anne M. Raso

Last summer, we ate dinner at Upstairs At The Kimberly and raved about it here on We loved their Modern American fare with generous portions, so when we were asked back for brunch, we jumped on it like Grey Poupon on a turkey club sandwich! The decor is modern as well--it looks like James Bond and P. Diddy shared the decorating tasks, plus there is plenty of outdoor space full of beautiful greenery and some of the best city views. They keep those spaces open as long as it stays warm, and it was actually warm for a few days recently (in November, believe it or not)!

We started out with the California Spinach Quiche ($13) with lovely homemade double crust that was well baked (nothing worse than soggy "pie crust" on a quiche but the folks in the Upstairs kitchen get it perfectly golden brown while the melted white cheddar inside is nice and stretchy). It comes with the famous Upstairs fried which are some of the best in the city--the potatoes are dipped in flour and buttermilk batter and then deep fried in canola oil. They are truly hard to stop eating!
Then we shared the large Buttermilk Waffle With Vanilla Whipped Cream And Berries ($14), which was served piping hot so that the vanilla whipped cream just melted a little bit--perfecto! The waffle was moist and delicious and the fruit complimented it perfectly.
Then my dining partner and I shared the Upstairs' world class Kobe Burger With White Cheddar, Avocado, Grilled Onions, French Fries & Salad ($18). This burger has the classic thick 'n meaty "Country Club" taste and as far as Kobe Burgers go, is priced quite competitively. The piece de resistance is the lovely soft sesame seed covered freshly baked "egg" roll the tender, succulent burger comes on. The size of the Kobe Burger patty is enormous with about an eight-ounce precooked weight. This dish could honestly be shared by two people as the only thing they have for brunch or dinner--topped off with a nice glass of red wine or a Bloody Mary.
Speaking of Bloody Marys, the Upstairs' Individual Bloody Mary cart is one of the special touches for brunch time--and of course, in a chic place like this, the mixologists who make your drinks all look like Cosmo's Man Of The Year. There are three premium vodkas available--Grey Goose, Ketel One and Absolut. Spices to choose from include crushed red pepper, ground black pepper, horseradish, mustard seed, cayenne pepper, chili pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Fresh extras include bell peppers, jalapenos and celery.
Diners get to choose a customized hotness level of one to ten. I took a "five" (which included a jalapeno slice at the bottom of the glass) while my dining partner took a "two." Both were very spicy and needed to be sipped slowly to prevent smoke from coming out of our ears (we suggest that the first time you get one of these, choose the "level one")! These premium Bloody Marys go for $15 each (while the standard ones served at the bar is only $10). We say that it's worth it to get the cart coming over to your table, and add that there is kosher salt and other spice available for the exterior of your glass.
We finished out our filling brunch by sharing the Strawberry Souffle ($11). This was not on the menu. Only Chocolate Molten Cake With Dolce De Leche Ice Cream ($11) and an Ice Cream Plate ($10) are actually listed on the brunch menu so be sure to ask what else they have! The Strawberry Souffle was small but sublime--and served piping hot out of the oven. It came with a large quantity of Vanilla WHipped Cream and strawberries that seem to have been lightly sprinkled with Grand Marnier. Our motto is "Get A Souffle If It's On The Menu!" That's because they're so hard to make at home--one minute extra in the oven and they are kaput! This was one of the finest examples of a dessert souffle we have encountered et at a Modern American eatery (or French one for that matter)!
The Upstairs serves the perfect leisurely brunch with something for everyone. They have gotten new tables, vases and unique flower arrangements since our first visit, so the place is looking hipper than ever. If you love to eat your brunch slowly without rushed service (but with dishes that come out of the kitchen fairly fast), this place is for you. We also suggest recommend it for the dynamic midtown views and beautiful people watching!

Upstairs At The Kimberly
145 East 50th Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 888-1200
Dress: casual chic/"proper attire"

[Photos: Anne M. Raso]

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