Bubby's. Masons, Marys, & Pancakes.
*UPDATE: Bubby's Brooklyn location has closed, but you can still visit Bubby's in Tribeca and at their new location at the High Line.* It is not often that someone welcomes news of an assassin, but the readers of this blog know better. The Assassin returns! And this time, he is in Tribeca, specifically, Bubby's, which has been a mainstay of Tribeca for over twenty years (they also have an outpost in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, though maybe not for long).
Originally cooked up as a pie baking outfit, Bubby's styles itself as a defender of the American table, and it certainly lives up to that name. With a menu that features mostly comfort food dishes associated with all parts of the country, patrons are served in a dining area that feels rather like a simple country-style restaurant run by your aunt or grandmother, if they could afford the ridick market rents of lower Manhattan, that is. Another divergence from the simple family-run formula is the hours. Bubby's is a (mostly) 24/7 operation, one that likely benefits from the hunger and cravings generated by the nearby nightlife locales (it is closed on non-holiday Mondays). The combination of the menu and hours makes it much like another Assassin reviewed location.
Upon walking in for brunch, my companion and I were asked to wait for a table. As you might expect of a successful restaurant in a neighborhood like Tribeca, there was a crowd. The hostess cheerfully asked if we would like space at the bar (which we declined) and pointed out the pies on display, which I will note looked quite delicious. Observing from a distance, the staff seemed very efficient in managing the conflicting duties of keeping diners satisfied with their food and drink while keeping them “moving” through their meal without seeming pushy. As a result, we were seated after only about a 10 minute wait. Walking into the dining area, my nose was greeted with a wonderful blend of scents, a blend that promised a good meal (not to mention, a blend that reminded my stomach just how long it was since it had last had a meal).
But as my stomach craved food, my liver craved Bloody! Bubby's entry into this field is the Spicy Bloody Mary, and I was eager to test their efforts. My anticipation did not last long, as the waiter came with the Bloody after only about 5 minutes. The presentation was most definitely unique. I did not expect the Mason jar container; though I have had cocktails in such containers, they have always been with cocktails whose name always betrayed a link to, shall we say, less urbane environments (this is by no means a knock against those establishments, I have had some of the best times of my life in places like those). I can also state that this is the first time that I have had a Bloody with a large slice of lemon floating on the surface of the cocktail, complete with flecks of freshly ground black pepper. Add to that a thick celery stalk and an old style soda straw, and the most unique presentation of a Bloody that I have ever experienced was complete. That said, my drunken adventures have proven to me time and time again that you should never judge a cocktail by its container. I dove in and was greeted with a good, but not overpowering, peppery kick, particularly towards the back of my throat. This was not surprising, given the freshly ground pepper I spoke of earlier, floating on its citrusy raft, but it was a nice welcome to the beverage. While it was not as visible as I have experienced in other locations, the horseradish added a bit of savory taste along with its own heat. The tomato juice used was good, though it was clear that it was a standard can supplied variety. The vodka was detectable, but not too up front, as it is in all good Bloodys. Overall the flavors mixed well with each other, creating a well-rounded and balanced experience that left me with a satisfied smile on my face. It was a good introduction into the brunch experience at Bubby's and one that left me prepared to take on the delicious pancakes there (pancakes that were almost as large as the table they were served on, and about as thick as the armor on a battleship.)
For a savory, well-balanced, Mason jar clad Bloody Mary with a nice kick, Bubby's Tribeca earnsCelery Stalks.
Bubby's 120 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10013. T: (212) 219-0666.