Place: Mémé Mediterranean
Neighborhood: West Village, 581 Hudson St. (at Bank St.)
The scoop: I had a delicious anniversary dinner at Mémé Mediterranean last summer (at the recommendation of Erica). We dined al fresco and loved the food. Naturally, since I had such a great experience the first time, I was looking forward to trying their brunch.
Unfortunately, Mémé doesn’t take reservations. I had planned on getting up for an early brunch with my mom, but after going out the previous night, I slept in a little later than intended, and we met for brunch around 2 p.m. Mémé is a small restaurant, so if it’s packed, you could be waiting awhile for a table. As I mentioned, they have outdoor seating, but on this Saturday, it wasn’t quite warm enough to sit outside. I arrived before my mom and waited at the small bar for her. The server asked if I wanted a glass of water while I waited. When my mom got to the restaurant, we were seated at a table for two against the window. One of the things I really like about Mémé is the large windows at the front. They let in a lot of sunlight and are perfect for people-watching. We found the temperature in the restaurant to be uncomfortably warm, to a point where we both felt a little nauseous. I assume this was because the heat was turned up too high on a day which it didn’t need to be.
Mémé’s decor is … you guessed it, Mediterranean style. There are shelves built into the wall above the bar. The shelves are filled with various types of wine glasses, tea kettles, etc., in all shapes, sizes and colors. A small rug also hung from the ceiling, a large mirror from one of the walls, and there were some framed photos on a wall outside the kitchen.
Service was decent. After ordering a diet Coke, I waited 10 minutes and had to ask again. The server forgot and was apologetic when he brought over my drink.
Bottoms up: Mémé serves your usual brunch drinks — mimosa, bloody Mary, sangria — and one unusual drink — the gellini, which contains grapefruit juice and prosecco/champagne. They all run at $6 a pop, which is a good price for pay-per-drink brunch cocktails.
I really like bellinis but don’t drink them often, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have one at brunch. The bellini was good. It was a typical bellini. I believe they used peach juice. I’m always a little disappointed when I don’t get fresh peach purée.
Chew on this:
Sweet bread / Complimentary
We each received a slice of sweet bread. The bread contained two different kinds of raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts and pine nuts, I think. The actual bread seemed to be whole wheat. I called it “sweet bread,” but it wasn’t actually very sweet. I added a little butter to my slice. It was a good way to start off brunch.
Chorizo and Eggs $14 / Grilled chorizo, eggs scrambled with cheddar and scallion, home fries, toast
I had a hard time choosing what to order because so many of the dishes sounded good. I settled on the chorizo and eggs because I figured I’d get a little bit of everything with it — eggs, meat, potatoes and fruit. The eggs were tasty but a little to loose for my liking. I would have preferred they were cooked more. I should have asked them to hold the cheddar as well. I liked the sausage better then the eggs. The sausage had a kick to it, so I could only eat one half. I liked how you could see the grill marks on the pieces of sausage. The potatoes were OK. I didn’t really eat many of them. The couple pieces of fruit were refreshing after eating the spicy sausage. The toast was one piece, in half, of a hearty grain bread. It was very lightly toasted. So little, in fact, it barely looked like it was toasted at all.
Brioche French Toast $12 / With a choice of fresh berries or banana and walnuts
What a pretty dish, huh? I hadn’t ordered my go-to dish, French toast, in quite some time. I had been on an egg kick, but it was time to go back to what I love most. The French toast smelled divine. I knew I was going to like it before even tasting a bite. I loved how the colors of the berries stood out on top of the bread. The array of colors was aesthetically pleasing. The bread was cooked perfectly — not too soggy or too crunchy. It melted in my mouth. One of the best things about this dish is that they add orange zest to the dip before soaking the bread in it. The orange flavor is noticeable but not overwhelming. It was a pleasant surprise. And I didn’t even have to ask the server. Looking at the dish closely, I could actually see specks of zest in the bread. The fruit was plentiful and very fresh. You can see the freshness in vibrant red hue of the strawberries. There was so much fruit that I feel like I had a piece with every bite of yummy French toast!
The final bite: While I enjoyed my brunch experience, particularly the French toast, at Mémé, I knew dinner would be hard to top. Brunch is good, but dinner is better.
Reviewed by: Stephanie