Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Grab a: Spoon & Tbsp

TL;DR: ★★

Charming, casual brunch spot with pretty good food at reasonable prices.

Food: ★★★★☆
Ambiance: ★★☆☆☆
Staff: ★★★★☆

Price: $$
Number of visits: 1

(20th St. between 5th & 6th Aves.)

First of all, how cute is the name of this place, Spoon & Tbsp? The space is divided into two sections: Spoon is the retail store selling their homemade jams, baking mixes, etc., and Tbsp is the restaurant, where they serve weekend brunches and cafe-style food during the week. The name itself got a few points in my book.

But anyway, my friend and I came here on a Sunday afternoon, and I was surprised to see how packed it was — I didn't know this place was so well known! We arrived around 1 p.m., and the wait was 40 minutes, but we decided to wait it out, and I think we got seated a little earlier than 1:40.

As soon as we were seated, our server came by swiftly and took our drink orders — OJ for the friend and a cup of Stumptown coffee ($3.50) for myself. And after a quick glance at the menu, we decided to start off with a scone and muffin basket ($5), which arrived at our table shortly after putting in our orders.

Scone and muffins basket, coffee, orange juice

As pretty as the basket looked, I wasn't as impressed by the quality and taste of the muffins and scone. The basket came with lemon poppyseed and blueberry muffins and a plain scone, with jam and butter on the side, which, I thought, wasn't all that worth the $5. While the jam was delicious — I'd even consider buying a full jar of it someday — the pastries were quite dry and crumbly, and not as flavorful as I'd thought it would be.

Close-up of the basket ($5)

So we were off to a slightly disappointing start, but I got free refills on my coffee — and it was good coffee too — so that made up for it a bit. Then came out our entrees, and for me, it was the bacon and egg panini with shiitake mushroom hashbrowns ($10). Tbsp totally redeemed itself with this dish for me. The hashbrowns were so, so good — I loved the strong and earthy flavors from the shiitake with the delicate and soft potatoes. And the bread on the panini was also delicious, very soft and kind of spongy, which went well with the crunchy bacon.

Bacon, egg and cheese panini with shiitake hashbrowns ($10)

The service, although very friendly, was kind of slow, especially when it came to getting our entrees. But, our server was so kind and polite, and he was quick with everything else (including getting me my 3 coffee refills :x), that he made the experience more enjoyable.

The ambiance is not that great — it's pretty loud and crowded, and the entire space kind of looks like a glorified diner. It's a good place for friends and family,  but the decor and general atmosphere is kind of sallow and high-school cafeteria-like.

I would still say that I enjoyed my time here, but I don't think this would be one of my go-to brunch spots. Given the chance, I'll try it out again, but I definitely do think there are far better places out there.


  1. I used to work nearby and they have great lunch choices and panini, in the mornings the croissants and coffee are great. I never did try the muffins or scones- sounds like brunch wasn't ideal but go for lunch one day.