Place: Cafe Cortadito
Neighborhood: East Village, 210 E. 3rd Street (close to Avenue B)
The scoop: We made a visit to Cafe Cortadito on a hot Sunday afternoon. Although they offer outdoor seating, we opted to sit inside. We were seated at the table right by the door, so we got the best of both worlds — the fan and air conditioning from inside, but the fresh air coming in from outside. The front dining room is very tiny, with a large window that was open on this nice day. The decor features chandeliers and fun paintings on the walls, giving it a slightly upscale but friendly atmosphere. There is also another dining room in the back, but we noticed that they did not open this up until later in the afternoon. Neither dining rooms are very big, so we definitely recommend reservations if you plan on brunching here. The service was great. We loved that they left a pitcher of water right on our table. We were never waiting very long for food or drinks, and the servers were all very attentive. They did not rush us at all, and we ended up brunching for about four hours! We even had to request the check. Talk about a pleasant and leisurely brunch experience.
Bottoms up: Cafe Cortadito has a phenomenal drink special. For $21 (or $26 for a party of six or more), you get an entree and unlimited drinks. We opted to start with the sangria. We were surprised when the server asked if we wanted a glass or pitcher. What a great option! Since we were getting one white and one red to start, we decided to skip the pitchers, but we think it’s awesome that they offer this. We also noticed that they offered mimosas by the glass or the carafe. This is definitely the way to go to make sure that drinks are flowing during brunch!
Red and white sangria
We really liked both sangria options. They were strong, but refreshing. There was a ton of fruit in both, and the fruit was cut into perfect bite-sized pieces. This made the fruit easy to eat, as well to retrieve from the glasses. The white was crisp, but did not have an overwhelming fruity taste. The red wasn’t too winey, which is good for non-red wine fans.
Blood orange and guava mimosas
It was great to see alternatives to your typical mimosa on the menu. The blood orange flavor was not overpowering surprisingly. The flavor was good, but more subtle and less orangey than we expected it to be. It had more of a tropical taste. The guava was a little bitter and had a slightly sour aftertaste.
Chew on this:
Cuban flatbread / Complimentary with meal
This bread was sweet and came with butter already on it. There was a lot of butter, but this did not make the bread greasy or soggy. The combination of the butter and bread gave it a taste that reminded us of popcorn. This was the perfect way to start our meal and ensure that we had a little bit of carbs in our bellies to start soaking up all those sangria and mimosas!
Yuquita frita $6.95 / Fried cassava fingers with Cortadito salsa
These tasty yuca fries were a great appetizer. The outside was crispy, but not oily. The insides had a nice texture, and the yuca was not mushy. The Cortadito salsa was more of a mayo-based dipping sauce with cilantro (which Steph wasn’t crazy about). There was not a ton of cilantro in the sauce, but it gave it a nice flavor and complemented the fries perfectly.
Holguin / Poached eggs over seared ham on a croissant, finished with creole sauce
The holguin got my attention because it is very different from what I usually see on a brunch menu. I would describe it as a cross between an open-faced ham and egg croissant sandwich or a twist on an eggs Benedict. I was very happy with my choice. I was not sure what to expect with the creole sauce, but I liked that it was served on the side. It had a little kick to it and gave the eggs a little extra flavor. The eggs were poached perfectly, and they were nice and runny when poked. I liked that the croissant was on the bottom, because this soaked up the egg and made this meal a little less messy. The croissant was a little flat and not too buttery, which made it very easy to eat. There wasn’t a ton of ham, but it was tasty and you could see the sear marks on it. It went perfectly with the eggs and croissant. I would definitely recommend this dish.
Tortilla de platano con Ropa Vieja / Shredded beef over a sweet plantain omelette
When I saw this dish on the menu, I knew I had to order it. The omelette was served eggs Benedict style. I received two small, round omelettes with shredded beed on top. The slightly-sweet omelettes were a perfect accompaniment to the beef. I had had an omelette with plantains before this brunch experience, but this dish takes the prize. The shredded beef was juicy and packed with flavor. The side of black beans went well with the other items and tied it all together. After eating a couple of pieces of the buttery flatbread and downing numerous drinks, I was happy to see the dish came with a side salad and not potatoes. The dressing on the salad had a hint of sweetness. I was very satisfied with my meal and would order it again.
The final bite: We can’t say enough good things about Cafe Cortadito. It’s rare when a restaurant nails brunch on all three levels — food, drink and service. Brunch at Cafe Cortadito is not to be missed. This place is a gem!
Reviewed by: Jen and Stephanie