Monday, March 3, 2014

Update: Boozy Brunch at Calle Ocho


Yes, the complimentary unlimited sangria special during brunch is great, but food-wise, dinner is way better.

The infamous sangria and yucca buns, plus muffins and black bean spread
 (81st St. & Columbus Ave.)

Though it took several tries, my friends and I managed to snag a spot for brunch at Calle Ocho. And after about a month and a half of waiting (yes, you actually have to book that far in advance), we finally got to check out what it had to offer for brunch this past weekend. 

After our first experience here, we came in with high expectations not only because our previous visit set such high standards but also because I had heard so, so many great things about Calle Ocho's brunch specials. We made reservations for 4 at 2:15 p.m., but due to the MTA being a huge unreliable jerk (what's new), we got there around 2:25 and were crushed to find out that our table had already been given away. So PRO TIP: get there on time, not even a few minutes late. Or they will give up your spot. 

But thankfully, there were 4 spots open at the bar, so we opted to sit there instead of waiting for God knows who long for a table. The space was loud, so it was a bit difficult to have a group conversation going, but it still worked out because we were right in front of the ever-famous sangria ;) 

After several self-debates about what to order, I decided on the cachapa de salmon because I'm a sucker for salmon. This was an interesting Venezuelan-American fusion dish — it was arepa corn crepes with smoked salmon scramble on the inside and a dollop of sour cream, or "crema nata," as it said on the menu, on top. The crepes were also sitting on some kind of mysterious sauce that wasn't described on the menu ... It tasted like a lemony, egg yolk-base sauce, but it was definitely not as heavy as hollandaise. I never had anything like this, so I totally give them props for originality.

Cachapa de salmon

The eggs were soft and plush, the salmon was fresh, and the crepes had a nice sweet flavor, but I gotta say, I kind of expected more. I felt the dish in general was quite bland (I had to adjust with some pepper) and just not as impressive as I thought it would be. The crepes, especially the texture, were also a bit off; they were a bit too thick and cakey, making it difficult to cut through.

Also, I should've brought my reading glasses (I don't actually have reading glasses) because... was so small I could barely see it! OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but really, the portions were quite small. BUT, I was still uncomfortably full after the meal, probably because of the sangria and the buns, so I definitely wasn't complaining — this is just something to keep in mind, especially if you decide to skip the sangria.

Nonetheless, we had a great time. The service was great just like last time, and the sangria was deliciously refreshing. If you're looking to get tipsy early in the day, Calle Ocho is a great place to check out. But for me, I think I'll just stick with coffee and/or juice with my brunches ... talk about being hungover all day @___@


  1. Heard that bottomless brunches are now illegal, please dispel this myth for me.

    1. I read that too, but for the time being, they're still going on! Also, it seems there are lots of loopholes to get around the rule, so I feel like it's pretty unlikely that all the restaurants will suddenly stop offering such specials. ...but maybe that's just wishful thinking D:

  2. Some of the best boozy brunch nyc
    really can’t compare with the dinner option. There is so much more choice and somehow having dinner out is just more enjoyable than a brunch.

    1. Good point! Maybe I shouldn't have come here for dinner first :P