Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday Splurge: Benchmark (Park Slope, Brooklyn)

I went a few weekends without going to brunch... in essence, committing social suicide. Brunch is the name of the game on weekends in New York City. It's what we do. It's just as certain as the only certainty in life -- death.

...Well, maybe NOT QUITE that serious. But still, very serious indeed.

To get back on the horse, I decided to try one of Park Slope's newer restaurants, Benchmark. Benchmark 'features a New American menu focused on pasture-raised animals and locally-grown produce' (from their website). I had heard good things and wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Let me tell you, the fuss was all because of the atmosphere. This place is beautiful. It's off a side street, so you don't normally pass it unless you're headed down 2nd Street specifically. The entrance is flanked with potted flowers, which lead you through an outdoor alley (not the creepy kind) full of tables. The alley opens up into a smaller outdoor space bordering a garden.

Yes, we haven't even gotten to the actual building yet! Quite amazing by space standards in NYC! The actual indoor space was small but sun-filled, as the doors and windows open towards the garden. It was love. I felt like I stepped into a friend's backyard... and I totally planned to be the guest that overstayed my welcome, make no mistake.

We sat outside and started the morning off with the Bloody Benchmark, a twist on the traditional bloody mary, using bourbon instead of vodka and garnishing with a piece of beef jerky. For $6, it was a steal compared to other places in the neighborhood!

Next up was the brunch pre-fixe for $14. For the first course, we both chose the Organic Seasonal Lettuces with yuca, black pepper roasted strawberries, goat cheese and truffle vinaigrette. It was definitely fresh and innovative, but a bit lacking on the dressing. Maybe I should've asked for more...

For our entrees, I chose the Benchmark Dry-Aged Burger with Gruyere Cheese and Handcut Fries, and Adam chose the Short Ribs Benedict with Hollandaise and Breakfast PotatoesThey were both good, but I have to say, I wasn't WOWED. Again, that could have been because of our choices. 

Benchmark's food was on par with upscale bar food, but I wouldn't expect anything more (hey, a girl can't give glowing reviews every time!).

With that said, I would most definitely recommend it for brunch, IF for the atmosphere alone. It would be a great place to sit outside and enjoy some drinks or a light bite with friends.

339 2nd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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