54 East 1st Street between First and Second Avenues
about $75 for three, without drinks, without tip
Prune’s selections are influenced by different cuisines and that’s exactly what I liked about Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s style. The tripe is a must-try even though you don’t like tripe. In Barcelona, I ate a lot of tripe. Prune’s version is Milenese, topped with a delicate dollop of pesto and shredded cheese. It’s light but beefy at the same time. I only wished it was served with country bread so I can scoop up the sauce. The skate wing comes with capers; simple and understated. Now, can we talk about the roast beef? I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything as good. It’s soft, it’s bloody and just so damn tasty. Both dishes came with potato slaw sprinkled with Hungarian peppercorns. You crush them with each bite and then there’s that burst of spicyness which gives the side dish its entire personality. We made room for the thick homemade apple pie with buttermilk ice cream. It was the perfect way to end a nice long lunch. The golden-brown sugared crust was such a treat.
I’ve always wanted to go to Prune but could never make myself walk over to the east side when I’m deciding where to go for dinner. I also don’t wake up early enough to make it downtown for a weekend brunch. When they announced that they are finally serving lunch during the week, I had no excuses left. I’ve seen a line outside Prune during warmer nights, but it was quiet when we walked in on a Friday afternoon. There was ample natural light which makes you just want to sit back and stay. Prune was the chef’s childhood nickname, but I can easily call it Home.
Updated, 2007: There was a long line for Sunday brunch even though it was almost 3pm. We decided to wait for 15 minutes next door with our iced coffees. We walked back to check if we can finally get a table, but we were told that we have to wait another twenty minutes. I was grouchy and hungry, so I told the Dr. that I can’t wait any longer. We started to walk away from Prune when I heard the maitre d’ call my name. She said she was going to seat us in the next five minutes and asked us to wait just a bit more until they clean the table that just emptied. I appreciated the fact that the maitre d’ just didn’t let us walk away. She could have easily picked any of the other couples waiting outside. We were lucky to be squeezed in and so we celebrated with bloody marys, stewed chickpeas, lamb sausages and a ham and cheese sandwich.