Restaurant: Lido – 2168 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 117th Street, Manhattan, New York

Since moving to South Harlem roughly three years ago, I’ve seen numerous changes along Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Starbucks, a new grocery story, bakeries, two beer gardens and many new restaurants have all opened and the entire neighborhood has drastically changed as young families continue to move into the area. In fact, the New York Times has published two articles about the new “uptown restaurant row” and boom in area housing.

Photo Courtesy of Lido

One of the areas great new restaurants is Lido.

I ventured out to Lido about a year or so ago when it first opened for brunch. During that meal I remember that the restaurant was empty but the food was some of the best I’ve had in my neighborhood. I was puzzled why people were beating down the door. However, when I returned to Lido a year later for brunch, it’s clear that the word has spread. The restaurant was packed and there was a great buzz in the atmosphere as waiters and waitresses scurried around from table to table and the bartenders mixed mimosas and Bloody Marys.

The brunch menu at Lido is nothing out of the ordinary – omelets, granola, French toast, sandwiches, etc. However, the food is prepared with care and all of the dishes have a tremendous amount of flavor. Between the three of us that were at brunch, we ordered the following:

  • White Polenta: mushroom, ragu, parmigiano reggiano, poached eggs
  • Omelet with Mushroom: guanciale, caramelized onion, goat cheese
  • Baked French Toast: berries and cream, Vermont maple syrup
  • Side of Bacon
  • Grilled Bread: butter, house made jam

I had the white polenta all to myself and I was glad I wasn’t sharing. It was delicious. Overall, there was a lot of flavor packed into this small skillet. The polenta was topped with mushrooms in a sweet sauce which was then topped with two poached eggs and a perfectly seasoned grilled piece of bread. The yolks of the poached eggs ran into the other components of the dish and after shoveling down as much as possible with my fork, the bread was a perfect way to soak up and enjoy the remaining sauce.

White Polenta

While I didn’t have any of the omelet or baked French toast, I will say that judging by my friend’s expressions and the clean plates in front of them, these dishes were also equally enjoyed.

The one complaint I do have is about the side of bacon. I like my bacon extra crispy and unfortunately, Lido doesn’t seem to endorse this. The bacon that we received was not crispy and dripping in fat. I mean, I understand that I’m not eating the healthiest food item in the world, but at least limiting the amount of fat I see dripping off of my food would be a nice consideration next time around.

The Verdict

For anyone that lives in or around South Harlem, I highly recommend visiting Lido. For a reasonable price, you can get some delicious food without having to deal with the often hectic brunch scene further down into Manhattan. If you do go, be sure to make reservations. While Lido is not as popular (yet) as some of the city’s big name brunch destinations, the word is spreading and people from throughout the Upper West Side are starting to venture further uptown to check out what all the commotion is about. I haven’t stopped in for dinner yet but I can’t wait until I do. I have nothing but high expectations for this restaurant as they continue to serve up great food and become a neighborhood gem.

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