Neighborhood: Chelsea, 207 W. 14th St. (off of 7th Ave.)
The scoop: My sister and I were looking for a conveniently located brunch place where we could grab a quick bite on a Sunday before heading to a Yankees ALDS game. Coppelia is the latest hot spot from Chef Julian Medina and the YB & Co restaurant group, which also includes Taqueria, Bistro Mexicano, Yerba Buena LES and Yerba Buena Perry.
We arrived at Coppelia just in time because after we were seated, a crowd of people formed outside. There is ample seating room, with a bar and tables in the front and booths and more tables in the back dining area. We were seated at a table up against the front window, through which the sun beamed for most of our brunch. These tables are very close together — uncomfortably close to a point where we could hear everything our neighbors were talking about. Coppelia’s décor was fairly simple. Framed photos of old cars adorn the brightly colored walls. It has a trendy diner feel, except you’re not getting diner food. You’re getting top-notch brunch classics with a Cuban twist at a ridiculously reasonable price.
Our server was very friendly — he made recommendations and explained drinks and dishes. He apologized when we waited longer than anticipated for our meals.
Bottoms up: Coppelia doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages, but they offer a variety of coffees, teas and fresh juices.
Mexican hot chocolate $2
This is the one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had! It was creamy and warm — not burn-your-mouth hot — and was served in a big cup. You could taste and smell hints of cinnamon in the drink, which had a foamy head. I couldn’t believe it was only $2! So much better than hot chocolate you’d get from Starbucks and pay double the price.
Strawberry guava juice $4.50
We wanted to try the watermelon or passion fruit juices, which were both on the menu but not being served that day. He recommended the strawberry guava and said that it was a bit sour. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of the juice. It would be very refreshing on a hot summer day.
Guava juice / $4.50
The server brought over the guava juice with the other juice and said it was on the house. What a nice gesture! I could taste hints of banana. It literally tasted like liquid fruit.
Chew on this:
Pan Frances $8.95 / Challah French toast, bananas, dulche de leche
Wow! This French toast dish was excellent. When I ate a piece with banana, it tasted like banana bread. I like how they used dulche de leche instead of syrup. It changed up things a bit. The dulche de leche wasn’t overpowering, so tastes of the bread and the sauce were equal … and equally delicious. The soft, warm bread was sweet enough that you didn’t even need any sauce. If you’re looking for a sweet entrée, you can’t go wrong with Pan Frances, but Coppelia’s blue corn meal pancakes also looked very good.
Crepes $7.95 / Two scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese
I had no idea what to get for brunch. I wasn’t in the mood for anything in particular, which ultimately affected my final decision. Since Kelly was going with a sweet entrée, I decided to go with eggs. This dish contained way too much cheese. I scraped off practically all of it. I didn’t think the cheese would be poured over the crepes. I figured it would be stuffed in the crepes with the eggs and bacon. The eggs and bacon were good, but their flavors were drowned out by all the cheese. One positive is they don’t skimp on the amount of food. There were so many great-looking options on the menu, and I chose the dish that wasn’t a standout.
The final bite: Even though my meal was less than stellar, I really enjoyed my experience at Coppelia. I have a hunch that if I had gotten a different entrée, I’d be giving this spot four mimosas. I look forward to another brunch visit to try other dishes and get more hot chocolate!
Reviewed by: Stephanie