Open-air and upper class is the best way to describe one of New York City’s most revered restaurants; Isabella’s. It wasn’t quite noon on a Saturday afternoon when I walked into the bright, breezy dining room. Men sipping on dirty martini’s and women with Mimosa filled flute glasses reassured me that brunch in New York is not a lost art. Marble floors, palm trees and thatch chairs had me scouring the bar for Humphrey Bogart nursing a Bourbon Whiskey. The large glass doors that line the perimeter open up to the southwest corner of the Museum of Natural History, creating a unique relaxed comfort only the Upper West side can provide.
The lunch menu and special brunch Eggs Benedict menu screamed gourmet Americana. Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich, Free Range Turkey Burger and Seared Scottish Salmon were all tempting choices, but I put the Grilled Steak Sandwich to the test. Between two pieces of toasted rye bread were medium grilled sirloin steak, mozzarella cheese, watercress and horseradish mayonnaise. The medley of flavors had me anticipating each bite. Accompanied with the sandwich was a serving of beer battered onion rings. Although the onion rings didn’t stand out as anything gourmet, it did compliment the flavors of the lunch.
My fiancé, who is partial to Eggs Benedict, couldn’t help but order from the extensive list of the Benedicts menu. Smoked Salmon, Crab, and Filet Mignon Benedict are unparalleled items on a typical breakfast menu, but it was the BLT Benedict that got the call. An open faced English muffin was topped with lettuce, slice of tomato, thick apple wood smoked bacon, two poached eggs and smothered in creamy Hollandaise sauce.
The lunch menu ranged from $10.50 to $17.50 per plate, but the quality of food and preparation makes it well worth the price. Reservations for Isabella’s are highly recommended. The high quality and unique menu is no secret to local New Yorkers and you can expect a full house at any given time.