Sweet Life: NYC’S Finest Pancakes
What’s more simple, sweet, and satisfying than a morning stack of pancakes? Whether you prefer them dressed the old-fashioned way with butter and syrup, or punched up with fresh fruit and other toppings, here are four spots across New York serving up some of the city’s finest.
If you’re staying at the Soho Grand Hotel, Soho Diner is awfully convenient. Tucked just next door the hotel, Soho Diner is one of the most popular brunch spots in Soho. Pancakes are one of their main attractions— serving vegan, banana pancakes (that actually use bananas in the batter itself!) as well as regular, buttermilk pancakes drizzled with real maple syrup and whipped butter. They’ve become a fan-favorite and a social media phenomenon.
When it comes to weekend brunch, few spots nail it better than this beloved 32-seater in the Lower East Side owned by DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg. Though there are no misses on the menu, it’s the signature pancakes (pictured) that have top billing. They’re subtly golden, extra fluffy—thanks to egg whites being folded (as opposed to mixed) into the batter—and piled high, before getting smothered with wild Maine blueberries and warm maple butter for an addictive sweet-salty finish.
What’s the secret to the popular pancakes at this charming French eatery in Greenpoint? Why, the humble cast iron skillet. Because it conducts high heat more evenly than a traditional pan or griddle, the morning treats develop a uniquely craggy dark crust to give each bite a satisfying crunch. Extra egg yolks in the batter lend even more richness and almost a cake-like effect, while Normandy butter and Vermont maple syrup root the dish in familiar territory.
The indulgent, over-the-top Banana Hotcakes Foster doled out during weekend brunch at this snug, but adorable Japanese cafe in the East Village are where brunch and dessert collide. The cakes are done up Japanese style, so they’re incredibly thick and fluffy, and generously crowned with bananas, black sesame, black sugar syrup, rum, and salted miso caramel ice cream. The dish is as rich as you imagine, so you’ll definitely require a nap posthaste.
This bustling SoHo bistro helmed by chef Andrew Carmellini turns out elegant, yet approachable cuisine day into night, but it’s the lemon pancakes that locals can’t get enough of. They’re extra thin, pleasantly chewy, with a subtle citrusy tang. Each serving arrives with four and is capped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and assorted colorful berries, making the plate as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate.
The pancakes from this cozy and colorful Southern-inspired restaurant in Morningside Heights are straightforward, sublime, and reminiscent of the ones from your youth. The house batter is made with four different types of grains, which yields gorgeously lacy around the edges and super springy in the center. Order them plain, or get them studded with assorted fruits (like bananas, pears, and strawberries) for an extra punch of aroma and flavor.
WORDS Katie Chang