Place: Marco & Pepe
Neighborhood: Downtown Jersey City, 289 Grove St. (off Mercer St.)
The scoop: Marco & Pepe is one of my favorite brunch places in Jersey City. Unfortunately, on the weekends, it can get very crowded, and you can wait a long time for a table. I’ve also had dinner at the restaurant, but dinner isn’t a standout like their brunch. One of the reasons why I like their brunch so much is that it is offered on weekdays (except Monday, when the restaurant is closed). I thought there was no better way to cap off my time in Jersey City than to spend a Friday afternoon having brunch at Marco & Pepe.
When I arrived for brunch, there were a couple of small parties sitting outside. It was a beautiful day, so I decided to brunch al fresco and read my magazine I brought along. Their outdoor seating wraps around the front of the restaurant. The 10 outdoor tables are metal and are very small and circular … perfect for 1-2 people. These tables inside are a bit different. The restaurant gets so crowded on weekends that you can feel kind of cramped. But, on this day, I had plenty of space to myself.
There weren’t many patrons at the restaurant at this time, but it took awhile for the server to take my order. I knew what I wanted going in, so I didn’t have to mull over the menu much. After that, service was good. The server left a full bottle of water on my table for me to fill up my water glass when it was empty. I always like this, so you don’t have to track down a server for more water.
Red Sangria $7
Enjoying a glass of sangria outdoors on a summer afternoon is wonderful. That’s just what I did at Marco & Pepe. The sangria was strong and refreshing. There was no fruit in the sangria. The drink came with only a wedge of lime. This was no problem as the sangria was still very tasty.
Chew on this:
French Toast $12 / French croissant, Vermont maple syrup, berries
There are many words I can use to describe Marco & Pepe’s French toast, but none will do the dish justice. This is the best French toast I have ever had. I’ve had the dish on multiple occasions, and I’ve never been disappointed. It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. This dish ranks on my top five of best brunch dishes in the NYC area. The bread is everything you want it to be — a little crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. Whoever thought of the idea to make French toast out of a croissant is a genius! The strawberries and blackberries were fresh and full of color. I ate pieces of strawberry with each scrumptious bite. This French toast is heaven on a plate. I’m extremely sad when I finish it. Call me what you want, but I never leave a scrap on the plate. In case you don’t want a piece of divine sweetness, the ham and eggs dish is also stellar.
Double Cut Bacon $3.50
I wanted a little meat to go along with my sweets. This bacon was super thick, a little too thick for my liking. While I did think the bacon was good, I would have preferred it was thinner. Part of that is my fault since the bacon is advertised as double cut. Regardless, the meat did go well with the French toast.
The final bite: Avoid the large crowds and have brunch at Marco & Pepe on a weekday. Order the French toast! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Stephanie