Place: Docks Oyster Bar
Neighborhood: Midtown East, 633 3rd Ave. (corner of 40th St.)
The scoop: We ended up at Docks after our original plans at Park Avenue Tavern fell through. We had made reservations for a Saturday brunch there, but were informed when we arrived that they only had brunch on Sundays (even though it says Saturdays and Sundays on their website and even inside the restaurant!). So, we left Park Avenue Tavern and headed east. Although this area of the city doesn’t offer many good brunch options, we were hoping to find something or head down to Murray Hill. We stumbled upon Docks when we got to 3rd Avenue. It was starting to rain, and we saw the sign for the $23 bottomless brunch. This seemed like an enticing deal, so we decided to give it a try. You can’t go wrong with unlimited drinks … right?
Docks is a huge restaurant. There was ample seating, and it was less than a quarter full when we arrived. The ambiance is slightly upscale and classy. Since there are many office buildings in the area, this restaurant gets packed on the weekdays during lunch. It wasn’t really the best atmosphere for four girlfriends to chat and sip on unlimited mimosas. It’s more of a place where you’d meet for a business lunch. While our waitress was very nice, the drink service, in particular, was very slow.
Bottoms up: The $23 bottomless brunch option offers bottomless mimosas or bloody Marys. We all went with the mimosa and were really disappointed with the lack of alcohol in the drinks. It was more like bottomless orange juice with a questionable splash of champagne. Based on the first two rounds, it was hard to tell if there was any champagne in it at all. We finally said something before the third round of drinks. Although there was a slight improvement after that, the mimosas just weren’t that good.
Chew on this:
Bread and muffin basket / Complimentary
This basket of assorted breads and muffins was a nice way to start off brunch. While the cornbread muffin was dry, the spiced muffin was very tasty and moist. It seemed to be flavored with hints of cinnamon and pumpkin and was a yummy fall muffin. The orange preserves, which had a jelly-like texture, were a good spread for the biscuits.
Eggs Benedict / Poached eggs, hollandaise sauce with choice of Canadian bacon or Irish smoked salmon
Since we were in a seafood restaurant, I decided to order the smoked salmon . The salmon was definitely the best part of my dish as it was very tasty and easy to eat without a fishy taste. I was very disappointed with the eggs. I kid you not, they served two hard-boiled eggs on top of the English muffin. I never in my life have seen hard-boiled eggs served in an eggs Benedict dish. I know the menu says “poached eggs,” so maybe the chef was confused. I have no idea! As I sadly poked my eggs, the waitress came by and asked if everything was fine, and I gave the weakest, “It’s OK,” response. I ended up scooping some of the yolk out of the eggs and tried to enjoy the egg whites, salmon and English muffin. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased.
Cajun omelette / Pepper, onion, Andouille, crawfish
The Cajun omelette was very good because it was not dry and had a lot of crawfish in it. The home fries were good, too, due to the fact that I did not need to add anything like pepper, salt or ketchup. They were small soft cuts with lots of small cut-up peppers (red, green, yellow) to add some flavor.
Scrambled eggs / Smoked salmon, caramelized onions
I think my meal ended up being one of the better options off the fairly limited menu. The eggs were cooked just the way I like them — not too done, not too runny. Usually, I like to have meat with my eggs, but I really liked the salmon. It didn’t have a fishy taste and added a heartiness to the eggs. I was disappointed there weren’t many onions mixed in. I wasn’t crazy about the home fries, which contained red and green peppers. They left something to be desired. This scrambled-eggs dish wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but was decent overall.
Cheese omelette / Choice of gruyere, Vermont goat or cheddar
Based on the way that the description of this entrée is worded, you would think you had a choice of three cheeses, right? Apparently not. This omelette is not to be confused with their spinach and goat cheese omelette, which looking back is what I should have gotten. All I wanted was goat cheese, but wanted to skip the spinach, so I thought ordering a straight-up cheese omelette was my best option. When I told the waitress that I wanted goat cheese, she asked if I wanted the spinach and goat cheese omelette. I said no, and that I wanted the cheese omelette with goat cheese, as that was listed as one of the available cheeses. So she asked if I wanted the Vermont, and I told her that if it was goat cheese, then yes. I ended up with a cheddar cheese omelette. I’m still not sure if this was due to miscommunication or if goat cheese is really not an option. I could have dealt with the mishap if the omelette was good, but it wasn’t. If you look at the picture, it looks like the cheese is oozing out. That was not the case. Most of the cheese just ended up outside the omelette as opposed to inside. The omelette itself was fluffy, but the lack of cheese could not save it.
The final bite: Although it seems like you can’t go wrong with a bottomless brunch, that wasn’t the case at Docks. The food was not good enough to save the bad drink experience, and we left unfulfilled and unsatisfied. It’s hard to find a decent brunch in this part of the city, but if Docks is your only option, keep looking!
Reviewed by: Jen, Stephanie and Victoria