Deborah, July 31, 2005
43 Carmine Street
Danna asked me on Saturday if we could have brunch with her colleague and friend Donald, aka "Dawg" on Sunday. I think I may have blurted "yes" before she finished the word brunch as I've been anxious to try some places, one of which was Deborah.
With all of the places to eat brunch in this city, how to choose? Well, there are some parameters set by Danna after our disastrous brunch at Gascogne a year or so ago. Don't get me wrong, the food was fine (service was pretty mediocre) but it wasn't at all the brunch Danna, her cousin and his girlfriend were expecting.
So after a scan of the menu on MenuPages, we went for Deborah.
The first things I noticed (other than the fact that a shop of some kind shares the same address as Deborah) was a) the use of red in the logo and inside the restaurant, suprised me (I was thinking blue and green for some reason) and b) this is the second restaurant I've been to in a row that uses additional words in its name to emphasize its mission. Last night it was Copper Chimney : Tasty Indian Food and now its Deborah : Life Love Food.
This is annoying.
Please people, don't add words to the name of your restaurant. It's sophomoric.
Anyway, thinking we'd be waiting (we arrived around 12:30) for a bit, we were pleasantly surprised to get a great 4 top in the front room right away. A "non-waiter" took our drink orders. Danna and I had a champagne-first-OJ-as-a-second-thought mimosa, which was quite nice compared to what you can often get. Donald stuck to coffee.
Today was all about brunch, so I neglected to even look at the lunch menu. Danna went for the Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwiches and Eggs (with bacon, cheese and two eggs and mesclun salad). Donald had the Rachero eggs (with crispy red pepper tortillas, fried eggs, black beans, pickled jalapeno, lettuce, tomato and potatoes topped with melted cheddar and sour cream). Danna got through most of both of her sandwiches and Donald's, which looked like a gigantic plate of nachos, was also well consumed, although the sheer volume of food made it impossible to finish.
I was stuck between the Duck Confit Hash (hand shredded roasted duck, garlic potatoes, topped with two eggs, herbed tomatoes) and Deborah's Shirred Eggs (roasted potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon, scallion, topped with eggs and "married" in the oven).
I went for Deborah's signature dish and when ordering, was incorrectly corrected by the waitress. I asked to have the shirred (shurd) eggs. Our waitress restated that they were "shired". Um. No. Look it up. I later heard (not to be pronounced "hired") the same waitress call back to the chef (its a tiny, open kitchen) for an order of "shired" eggs. Does nobody know how to pronounce them here?
Phonetics aside, the shirred eggs were very good. The potatoes, which are mashed and heavy, anchor the bowl that it comes in. The eggs, unfortunately, get overpowered by everything else that it comes with. There was no egg flavor whatsoever, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a better dish to nurse a hangover. I was not, however, nursing such a hangover, but I can imagine that this would be the perfect panacea for one.
We also ordered a side of sausage and honey-jalapeno corn bread that they make in-house. The sausage was very good and of a large portion (at least 6, large halves) and the cornbread, was decent, perhaps a bit too crumbly-like-polenta for me, but tasty.
Our overall experience at Deborah was good but not necessarily worth going out of our way to return to with the abundance of brunch options in the city. The food, service and ambience were great for what the three of us were looking for in a Sunday brunch before shopping. Which, in hindsight, is not a recommended activity after eating at Deborah. The food is VERY filling, and trying on clothes (especially at Marc Jacobs, which rarely has my size to begin with) was not an enjoyable affair. I stuck with buying some accessories instead.
One more thing... I should have said that its not necessarily a place to go out of your way to get to for brunch more than once. If you live in the neighborhood, or rather, if I lived in the neighborhood, I would probably eat there more regularly, but alas, I don't, and probably will try several other places before returning.