Place: Great Jones Cafe
Neighborhood: NoHo/East Village, 54 Great Jones St. (between Lafayette and Bowery)
The scoop: While walking down Great Jones St., we couldn’t miss Great Jones Cafe if we tried. The outside of the restaurant is painted bright orange. The color stands out and gives it a little bayou feel.
Great Jones is always packed, it never fails! We arrived around 2 p.m. or so and still waited about 25 minutes. When we walked into the tiny and cozy restaurant, we noticed right away the large wall with the menu painted on it and the large chalkboard with the daily specials, which are usually grubby and cheap. There are decorative Christmas lights everywhere. There actually isn’t much real lighting, only one front window which provides minimal light. The overall decor is plain and simple, and you really don’t need anything else here. There is not much seating, but you could come with a group if you called ahead. A decently-sized bar takes up one side of the small restaurant. You can sit at the bar for full service, but this area was packed, too.
The atmosphere is pretty loud and noisy, but nothing too crazy. They’ve got a jukebox pumping out unnoticeable tunes. There were only two servers working on this day, but they were attentive and quick. We were starving, lucky for us, the food came out in record time!
Bottoms up: Every brunch meal comes with your choice of coffee, tea or juice. I had the coffee, which was just black drip coffee with a little milk, and Johnny had some pineapple juice. I love getting free liquids! Although the coffee and juice were nothing to write home about, they were definitely needed to start the day. There is also a full bar and specialty brunch drinks available.
Chew on this: All brunch entrées are $12.95 and include your choice of cornbread or biscuit, AND home fries or grits. Plus you get a choice of the previously mentioned beverages. Such a steal!
Crescent City Smothered Eggs / Scrambled eggs with ham over biscuits, smothered in sausage gravy
After becoming addicted to eggs with sausage gravy and biscuits from Nolita House (now closed), I always love trying to find a replacement. Great Jones’ version was pretty dang delicious and a close second to Nolita House. If you are ordering this dish, you need to be starving, as it’s extremely heavy and hearty, but believe me, you won’t be disappointed with the combination of two meats and the thick, flavorful gravy. Grits can be a hit or miss, and I would say the grits here were a total hit! They had just the right consistency and density, with cheese and hot sauce (optional, available at every table). I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and the homemade biscuits. Thankfully, I had my boyfriend with me to finish it up!
Andouille Omelette / With Andouille sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, cheddar cheese
If you’re looking for NOLA flavor, then you will find it in this Andouille omelette. It is packed with an incredible amount of spicy sausage and a great combo of veggies. I am not an omelette person, but I am considering going back just to order this — it was that good.
Side of Cornbread
Jalapeno cornbread?! Yes, please! It wasn’t too spicy for those who can’t take the heat, but it sure adds extra flavor. And after carb-overloading with everything else, I still found room. It is actually a pretty large piece of cornbread, and it’s also drizzled with honey.
Side of Bacon / $4
This side wasn’t completely necessary, but it sounded good and it was! Not only was it a great deal (bacon averages around $6-8 as a side during brunch), but there was also several pieces which could be shared among a group. It wasn’t too crispy or under-cooked.
The final bite: I can’t remember the last time I got such an incredible brunch deal. Not only do you get a drink with your meal, but you also get two sides. The food was excellent, down-and-dirty comfort food that might make you think you’re in New Orleans. I would be more than willing to go back again!
Reviewed by: Erica