33 Avenue B between 2nd and 3rd Street
Located in an area of the East Village that I had yet to discover, I felt transported to Old San Juan (sans beaches) when walking into Poco Restaurant. Owned by restaurateur Sara Grizzle (formerly of Redemption Grill and Essex) and with cuisine spearheaded by the Food Network’s award-winning chef, Abe Lopez , Poco is becoming increasingly more well-known and the place to turn to for a “Sunday Funday” brunch. Could it possibly be due to their $20 all-you-can-drink mimosas and 1 entree special? Or the complimentary rounds of delicious shots brought to everyone every hour? Or is it the open-air buzzing energy surrounding everyone? Or tantalizing tapas dishes which I have never encountered before? It’s really difficult to pinpoint just one thing, but something is keeping Poco’s customers there for hours at a time (particularly our group who spent 5 hours there upon our visit).
My main criteria for finding a restaurant that I will return to again and again is that I end up not being able to stop thinking about its food the next day; difficult for someone who thinks about food a lot. Eternal thanks to my lovely friend Clarissa – because of her insistence for our group to stay until 5pm just so we could try the steak lollipops, I now cannot stop thinking about them. Referred to as “arguably one of the greatest things in the history of mankind,” this juicy, marinated skirt steak smothered in manchego cheese and served on skewers had me hooked. Too bad there we could only have a few each! Greedy Larisa wanted to distract her brunchmates so she could steal theirs. Earlier in the day, my brunch entrée choice was the Poco Benedict, a rather new foray for me into the egg world since runny egg yolk is not my bag baby, but my curiosity was piqued by the chorizo listed on the menu. It came served with hollandaise sauce on top and chorizo and was nestled on a bed of fried manchego cheese with a side of greens that had a wonderful sweet citrus-tasting dressing. While I was enjoying this delightful concoction I was also secretly eyeing what my brunch partners were having (a girl can look!). Many opted for the grilled chicken sandwich, which looked so tasty served on grilled bread. Probably one of the greatest things about this brunch was that despite the near-maximum damage done to our tummies and liver, minimal damage was done to our wallets with the $20 special.
One last important thing to note is that one of Poco’s specialties is Lobster Macaroni and Cheese. Although I passed on this for the Poco Benedict, a friend had this the following week at her Sunday Funday and called it “bliss on earth.” I’m not 100% sure I believe her, so looks like someone is going to have to go back to Poco to verify this …