by Maeva, New York Guest Concierge
I almost felt like a tourist this past Sunday as I took the train to Columbus Circle for the very first time. The sun was shining, the air was cool, and the birds were whistling. It was a beautiful day for Brunch at the Empire Hotel’s on site restaurant, Ed’s Chowder House Restaurant and Raw Bar. Though it is known for its plethora of tasty crustaceans and seafood, without needing my epinephrine pen, this allergy prone gal gave the place a shot! (Pun intended). When I walked through their main entrance, the atmosphere reminded me of the charm of a renaissance coastal villa. It felt fresh, plenty of room for groups, and window corner tables for couples. Sections could even be partitioned for private dining. All that was missing as I looked out the window was the pink sandy beach and the hawking of nearby seagulls.
The menu was arranged quite simply and categorized by Raw Bar, Shellfish Platters, Chowders, Appetizers, Brunch Specials, Ed’s Favorites, and Simple Mains. I was surprised with the variety of eclectic dishes to choose from, but when my eyes landed on their Eggs Benedict (two poached eggs, with smoked salmon, Canadian bacon, and hollandaise on a bed of toasted English muffin & home fries) I felt like this would be their test. Eggs Benedict is my ultimate comfort food, especially on a weekend. As I spoke to the waiter about all my food allergies, he kindly made me aware that everything is made-to-order, so if I wanted my dish gluten free, salt free, or dairy free, all I have to do is ask. So of course I told him to keep the shellfish away, unless of course he’d want to give me the Heimlich himself! He also suggested that I should try their wild mushroom chowder with porcini cream & crispy leeks – the only soup option without clams or loaded with crab and shrimp. The soup was very earthy, and the scallions and leeks were a flavorful combination.
My Eggs Benedict almost made me cry; it was too pretty to eat. But who was I kidding, the minute I took a bite my palate was doing its happy dance. By far, this was the best Eggs Benedict I have ever eaten without feeling like a complete slob. The prosciutto was a nice addition to the dish. My fish-only vegetarian friend went wild over their medium well Tuna Steak and Asparagus. It was so good, my friend only allowed me one bite to taste. I know what to order next time I make a visit.
By the time we both finished our food, our bellies were really full. I didn’t even get to finish my Mimosa, but I didn’t want to leave without peeking at their dessert menu. The item that jumped at me from their list of sweet liquid treats and cake assortments was the Coconut Rice Pudding and Mango Sorbet- Yummy, yummy in my tummy!
It was a worthwhile experience eating Sunday Brunch at Ed’s Chowder House Restaurant and Raw Bar. I’m definitely looking forward to my next visit, this time to sample their dinner menu!