Last month, Jess had a little brunch get-together with her sisters and a few of her closest friends to celebrate her birthday this year at Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar located inside The Mondrian Hotel in SoHo.
There are two entrances to the restaurant -- above is the restaurant's own entrance from the street, covered in the loveliest of ivy on an intricate iron gate.
The other entrance is through the lobby of The Mondrian Hotel, leading into the restaurant's bright and gorgeous greenhouse dining room.
Jess actually went on a dinner date at Isola with a charming guy, and she loved its romantic and lovely atmosphere that she thought it'd be the perfect spot for a late Saturday birthday brunch. Her hunch really hit it out of the ballpark! The light, even on that rainy Saturday, produced the most beautiful shots.
No brunch wouldn't be complete with brunch cocktails like the limosa mimosa (arancello and prosecco), bellimi bellini (white peach limoncello and prosecco), and bloody caprese (Absolut vodka, Tanqueray malacca, tomato juice, balsamic vinegar, caperberries, and grated Parmesan). All perfect to toast with and all delicious to sip and taste.
Jess and the girls toasting to her birthday with brunch cocktails.
The brunch spread was perfection.
Jamie and Jill got the lemon ricotta pancakes with macerated berries and candied Sicilian pistachios. These came highly recommended by our server. I didn't get to have a bite myself (mental note for the next brunch visit here), but from what Jamie and Jill reported, they were absolutely fantastic -- fluffy, lightly savory, and refreshing (gotta love lemon zest on anything!). There was a tad bit of sweetness from the syrup and tartness from the berries, and the Sicilian pistachios were a nice touch. Definitely getting these next time!
Jess and Jen both had eggs al forno with roasted tomato, Tuscan kale, guanciale, and herbed breadcrumbs. Though it looked really heavy and thick, this dish was quite the opposite. It wasn't too much sauce -- just the right amount to add some dimension of flavor to the eggs (and for enjoying the thick slice of toasted bread that came with it with the dipping/sweeping of sauce). The savory and meaty guanciale gave the dish a very eggs-and-bacon type composition with an Italian twist. Definitely recommended if you're in the mood for something a little heartier and warm.
Marcus had the smoked salmon with chive cream cheese, sesame bagel, red onion, and capers. This was a very dainty yet delicious dish, so good for those looking for a lighter option. Can't go wrong with chive cream cheese!
I tried the porchetta hash with potatoes, kale, roasted red peppers, leeks, and two poached eggs, which was really, really great. It wasn't at all salty with the porchetta cooked to a tender temperature. The potatoes in the hash were well-browned while the veggies gave the hash some flavorful texture. Add some runny poached eggs on top, and you have one solid brunchin' ahead of you.
The girls at the bar alcove located inside the bar/library opening to the lobby of The Mondrian Hotel (also part of Isola, too, I think). Look at all those multi-colored blue bindings!
My favorite trio of sisters in the trellised walkway of The Mondrian Hotel. Happy Birthday to Jess!! :)
Findings: We all loved Isola Trattoria and its bright and energetic ambiance as well as its idyllic décor and energetic DJ-curated music during late brunching hour (around 2:30 PM). The atmosphere was made even more lovely with the stellar offering of Italian-inspired brunch fare and cocktails -- everything we had the pleasure of ordering was absolutely delicious with all of us leaving satisfied and content. The prices weren't too steep, and given the quality of service, atmosphere, and of course, cuisine, this will easily make a much frequented brunch spot for me. Perfect for locals and out-of-towners alike, for weekend brunch or an intimate celebration, Isola is simply captivating in all aspects of the meal, so I urge you to head over there before too much word gets out of this oasis of a restaurant.
Price point: $12-13 for each brunch cocktail, $15-19 for each colazione (breakfast) dish.
--May 18, 2013
Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar
9 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10013