Jun 15 2010

New Brunch Spot: ilili Restaurant

Published by Andy at 10:34 am under Brunch Spots

ilili Restaurant (236 5th Ave) has been churning out some of the city’s best Lebanese food for more than two years now.  Only recently, however, have they begun offering a weekend brunch.  We stopped in a little while back to check out chef-owner Philippe Massoud’s Lebanese-American take on our favorite weekend meal. While it’s not gonna be your new go-to Sunday-Funday boozy brunch spot, ilili is your place when you’re looking for a nice, classy brunch in a sleek, chic space with great music, solid food and a central location close to Madison Square Park.

A quick glance at the brunch menu (prix-fixe or a la carte) and you can see how well Philippe Massoud’s lamb and mezze-heavy Lebanese-Mediterranean cuisine translates to brunch.  Overall, the menu offers a nice balance of breakfast and lunch focused dishes.  You can opt for either the $25 Prix-Fixe which comes with your choice of a brunch entree, a brunch side dish, a breakfast drink (coffee, grapefruit juice or orange juice) and a brunch cocktail (pomegranate cava, mimosa or bellini) or go a la carte.  We went prix-fixe and enjoyed everything we tried. Lamb, as you may imagine, plays the leading role here, making appearances in the Lamb Dip, Lamb Burger, Braised Lamb Shank Sandwich and in the side order of Lamb Sausage.  But don’t ignore the egg dishes, featuring two varieties of eggs benedict and three sunny-side-up skillets.  Jill ordered the Kashkaval Eggs in Cocotte (three sunny side up eggs with sheep milk cheese and black truffle) and I went with the Truffle Eggs Benedict served with a prosciutto-like meat called basterma.  I’m not sure which one I liked more. The Kashkaval was deacadent in all its rich, cheesy, truffle-y goodness.  Just look at those specks of black truffle! And the truffle eggs benedict, while a bit more traditional, was enhanced by the earthiness of the black truffle. We also enjoyed ilili’s take on hash browns in dumpling form.

For our sides, we went with the veal bacon and the lamb sausage.  Both were delicious.  The veal bacon tasted better than it appeared.

Overall, we had a great brunch.  I think an all-you-can-drink brunch option would be a great addition here (I’m biased of course).  It’s a shame that ilili has such an amazing bar/lounge space that is under-utilized during brunch.  I could definitely see this place turning into a fun, brunch party scene with a dj (there’s a full dj booth in the bar area and an amazing sound system).  Barbounia added an AYCD brunch option not too long ago and it really transformed the vibe there into a more energetic and lively brunch scene. Who knows, maybe ilili will follow suit.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “New Brunch Spot: ilili Restaurant”

  1. New Brunch Spot: ilili Restauranton 15 Jun 2010 at 11:18 am

    [...] Source: Wined & Dined [...]

  2. [...] Kashkaval Eggs for brunch at Ilili: “Decadent in all its rich, cheesy, truffle-y goodness.” [Wined & Dined] [...]

  3. [...] A lot of love for ilili lately: NYC Foodie has a full rundown of dinner, while Andy over at Wined and Dined was impressed with its new brunch menu. [...]

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