Penelope Cafe – 159 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, New York
I’ve been wanting to give Penelope a try for a long time. Unfortunately, it’s a weekend hot spot for brunch crowds, resulting in long lines. Luckily, I was able to give it a try last week on a Wednesday when crowds were lighter (so I thought).
Even on a weekday, Penelope was packed. Hailey and I were fortunate to snag one of the few remaining tables. Walking in, it almost feels like you’ve been transported to New England. Penelope gives off a warm, inviting and cozy feel, welcoming you into its small dining room.
The service at the beginning was poor, to say the least. I overheard that the restaurant had its staff holiday party the night before and our servers must have been nursing some serious hangovers. However, they quickly made up for it and immediately got things on track – excellent service following an early stumble.
I’m a huge fan of breakfast sandwiches so from the menu, Hailey and I split the Penny Egg Sandwich and Andrey’s Egg Sandwich.
The Penny Egg Sandwich is made of scrambled eggs with American cheese and pesto on either an English muffin or fresh baked croissant. This was my favorite dish. Get the English muffin. They were so soft and fluffy and were the exact opposite of the crispy, crunchy bread I was expecting. The pesto dominated the flavor of this sandwich and it felt like a light alternative to the heavier omelette or French toast options on the menu.
Andrey’s Egg Sandwich consists of scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and peppers, topped with grilled chorizo and sundried tomato pesto on an English muffin or freshly baked croissant. For the Mexican omelette lovers, this is your breakfast sandwich. I wasn’t a huge fan of having peppers in my eggs (so why did I order this?) but the chorizo was tasty, although not as spicy as I expected it to be.
Penelope was a solid breakfast spot to hit up on a weekday. However, I don’t see what the enormous lines are for during the weekend brunch hour. The food was good, but I think the tiny interior and limited seating is what contributes to the enormous weekend lines. If you’re going to go, get there early. However, with lots of breakfast and brunch options throughout New York City, I’m going to keep exploring instead of visiting Penelope again.