Now for many brunch is the name given to the meal you eat between 11:00-4:00pm Saturday & Sunday, and a excellent excuse to drink (as much as you want) before 5pm. Myself and Jean Germain, had the pleasure of having a drink at Sofrito after covering a summer fashion show at Riverbank Park in Harlem.
While we were sitting refreshing ourselves on the couch next to the window overlooking the Hudson River, one of the managers Luis Reyes walked up to me and asked me if I was an actor, or something of the sort swearing that he has seen me before in some publication. I gave him my card and suggested that he may have seen me in a video ad or one of the video restaurant reviews I’ve done. Jean and myself found ourselves in a pleasant conversation with this gentleman, and he mentioned the extraordinary brunch party that takes place there every Sunday.
Jean and I told him that we will return on the following weekend (or the next) and will do a restaurant review of the place.
Jean made the reservations for us two weeks later, and told me that our table was set for 4:00 pm. A little late for brunch I thought to myself but there was no turning back now. Jean was stuck in midtown on the train and decided to take an Uber the rest of the way. I walked in and the place was crowded, filled with weekend revelers and a DJ spinning tunes that make you want to dance. Jean arrives and we head to our table, we decided to take a table outside on the enormous patio overlooking the Hudson River.
It seemed like almost every table was celebrating something, engagements, birthday’s, new addition to the family or just life in general. The party vibe was infectious as Latin music blared from the DJ booth inside.
Jean and I sat back and took it all in as we waited for our food. The brunch menu is a pre fixe of Latin brunch dishes (after all the name of the restaurant is Sofrito) and Luis extended us the bottomless mimosa’s. With all of this pleasant sensory stimulus, I forgot that it’s was after 5pm.
The décor inside the restaurant is bright and colorful which puts one at ease. Despite the fact that it was so busy, Luis told me that this is a light crowd for Sunday, while I was worried that the Fire Department would bust in at any moment to shut down this mega brunch party.
For appetizers I ordered the Ham and Cheese Croquettes which is made with black forest ham, aged cheddar with mango aioli sauce. Jean had the Carne Frita (crispy marinated pork chunks).
My appetizer was very delicious and I was sort of sad that there was only four of these morsels of tasty delight. Jean’s pork chunks seemed like a meal all by itself.
Our waitress was very attentive and friendly, in (fact she treated us like Jean and I were her own boys the way she dotted on us), and made sure that we had everything we needed when we needed it.
While I was trying to take notes and Jean was taking care of social media, we seemed to attract some attention from a near by table of women who seemed to be enjoying the food and view as much as we were.
They were trilled with Jean and I, and Jean finally put his phone down to appreciate the scene that was unfolding around us. Our Entree’s arrived so we had to divert attention back to the food. I had the Cheddar Scramble (hard to mess that up) eggs, aged cheddar, home fries and toast with avocado. Jean had the Pernil: Roasted Pork with pigeon pea rice and sweet plantains.
The food while good and of decent portions was not overly remarkable, but the Ham and Cheese Croquettes is something special and worthy of praise. The atmosphere and festive vibe makes it difficult not to have a good time. Table’s seem to merge with each other causing a chain reaction into one big brunch party, as people mingled and interacted with each other.
We came to the conclusion that everything that Luis told us about this Sunday Brunch Party was exactly that and more!
While the crowd was mostly Latino, it was fairly mixed and everyone was friendly and very festive towards one another (including us) and you got the sense of being at a huge family party where everyone is dancing and laughing.
It wasn’t long before Jean and I realized that we did not want to leave, and extended our stay just a bit longer as others approached us to engage in conversation and good cheer.
(Shasha dropped by to hang for a bit)
I must say that I was caught off guard by the effects of this magical brunch party, and must give it four and a half stars just for the vibe and ambience with it’s communal celebratory festive feel. I really enjoyed my time here (and so will you).
Sofrito is located at: 679 Riverside Drive in Riverbank Park on 145th Street in Harlem and 175 Main Street White Plains NY. SofritoNY.com/SofritoWhitePlains.com