Living in New York has been quite the invigorating experience, I mean it’s New York. Thus far it has been the most high-spirited, nocturnal, and scenic culinary adventure that I have yet to encounter. I went through a period of time when I rode the two hour train ride into Manhattan and strictly wanted to only spend my time in Manhattan. You know, Central Park, Times Square and all that jazz…but boy was I mistaken! There are so many beautiful little gems in the West Village, Manhattan lost by quite a bit in comparison to this place!
The brick streets are covered from block to block with quaint florist shops, simplistic boutiques, artsy coffee shops, and of course plenty of hole-in-the-wall restaurants. These places may be small in comparison to most, but they offer some of the yummiest cuisine that I have experienced since I’ve been in the Big Apple!
I mean honestly, nothing beats the architecture in this place. Every single building was unique in its own way and definitely created an “artistic feast for the eyes” when strolling down the brick-padded streets. Beautiful blooms, the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans dancing in the brisk air, and the perfume of impeccable culinary concoctions flooded the streets of the West Village. Can I go back already?
Alright, enough about the scenery. Truthfully, I could write a completely separate blog post just about how much I loved the surroundings and ambiance of this place. It was simply magical.
Yerba Buena is one of the loveliest places that I’ve had the pleasure to dine at. The staff was welcoming and constantly attentive, never failing to fill my glass before I even raised a finger! (And also never failed to make the best darn mimosas!) The magnificent atmosphere of the restaurant was further enlivened by the open window architecture, allowing for the natural light of the New York sun to permeate the entire place.
If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I absolutely adore restaurants with an abundance of windows! Nothing quite beats a bright and breezy New York morning, especially when that morning involves flawless Pan Dulce, baja fish tacos with jicama cabbage and chipotle slaw, scrumptious Manchego cheese croquettes, and a finishing course of churros with chocolate sauce and dulce de leche. Did I mention mimosas?
Have you ever heard the saying “There isn’t a thing that can’t be cured with breakfast food”? Well if you haven’t you just have, and I am quite the advocate when it comes to the validity of that statement! To start I ordered the Pan Dulce and my friends, let me just warn you ahead of time that this is not your typical French toast. This is the Godfather of all French toasts.
If you’re like me, French toast is normally just simple (and probably day old) bread dipped in vanilla custard and topped with a smudge of whipped butter and warm maple syrup. Well needless to say, this dish is definitely a “French toast 2.0”. If there is one word that I would use to describe this dish it would be guilty. Just pure guilt…in the absolute best way possible. I mean what’s not to love about delicate custard soaked bread fried to master that ambrosial sugary exterior, warm dulce de leche sauce swimming around the plate, fresh tangy berries, and caramelized bananas? Yeah, I figured there wouldn’t be much to say after that description. That may also be because my mouth is watering too much just at the thought of digging into this dish again, but who would complain about that? The component that I adored the most about this dish is the fact that they added probably the most unexpected ingredient to accentuate this pan dulce, Manchego cheese.
The attribute that I absolutely love the most about a chef is their ability to not only make a flawlessly crafted plate, but also the ability to contribute their own personal “flare” to the dish. Food is a way to communicate with people without having to use words and it can be the most powerful outlet when executed correctly.
When I took the first bite of this Pan Dulce all of my senses were completely invigorated, the flavor was sweet but not too sweet at all. The bread itself had maintained that delicate confectionary crust on the outside but burst into a tender pillow of brioche as soon as your tongue broke through the exterior. The berries gave a flavorsome burst of summer whereas the caramelized bananas gave that perfect almost “burnt sugar” component. The Manchego cheese was creamy and unctuous, beautifully overflowing over the sides of the petite brioche while contributing the most exquisite flavor to the overall dish. Combine that with the blissful beauty of golden dulce de leche sauce and you have yourself the most angelic French toast you could ever piece together.
I truly believe that there are two types of people when it comes to brunch: the sweet ones and the ones who reach for the savory. I’m guessing by now you have already profiled me into the “sweet category” and the dead giveaway might be the fact that yes, I had churros with my pan dulce. Judge me.
Onto more serious matters, let me just tell you that if you’ve had churros before I can guarantee that you’ve had them wrong unless you’ve had them from Yerba Buena. These crispy, crunchy, hand-held, cinnamon sugar coated pieces of heaven literally made my entire life in one bite. I mean seriously how can you not be overjoyed with a plate full of churros that are placed so elegantly on the plate…it’s like a piece of art within itself! They were honestly too pretty to eat! Well only for ten seconds…because then I devoured them like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Anybody who knows me knows that I also have quite the uncontrollable sweet tooth and let me just tell you, these churros were the most satisfying confection I’ve enjoyed in quite some time! There’s something about the combination of divine bittersweet chocolate sauce, perfectly crispy deep-fried dough dusted in warm cinnamon sugar, served alongside with, of course, more dulce de leche sauce. You may be wondering, “With all that sugar how can a dish not be overpoweringly sweet?”. Well, that would be an ode to the chef because I can tell you one thing for certain…that is a very tricky task to accomplish!
Clearly the West Village has earned its place on my list of favorites for incredibly obvious reasons. Colorful art galleries, street side flower stands, adorable shaved ice shops, and festive parks illuminate the often “dark” aspect to the concrete jungle. Besides being in a stunning neighborhood, this beautiful gem is an experience within itself! I highly recommend this place to anyone who is in the New York area in general. You better get over to Perry Street and check this place out! Cheers to Yerba Buena!