Macondo – 157 East Houston Street, Manhattan, New York
It’s no doubt that New Yorkers love their boozy brunches and Macondo is a well-known spot to congregate. The Saturday before Hurricane Sandy, Hailey and I met up with my brother and his girlfriend, Caitlin, at Macondo to grab brunch and a couple drinks.
Macondo gets very busy come the afternoon but we were eating early (at least for your typical brunch) so our 11:30 a.m. reservation wasn’t a problem. The restaurant was practically empty with a couple tables sporadically populated. Macondo is long and narrow with a bar upfront and a larger space in back with a few booths to accommodate larger parties. One of the most unique parts of Macondo are the barstools out on the street. Instead of having tables on the street, there are four barstools lining a window directly from the street to the bar.
According to Macondo’s website, its menu bings Latin street food to the gourmet level by offering seven different signature items representative of cuisines from all over the Spanish-speaking world. I don’t think this was all captured in the brunch menu, it’s most likely for dinner, but nevertheless the brunch menu definitely has plenty of Latin options on it. I ordered:
- Bread Basket: crispy Colombian bunuelo cheese bread, served with guava butter
- El Monumento: grilled chorizo, fried eggs over mashed green plantain and roasted onions
- Along with our food, we of course took advantage of the all-you-can-drink special
The bread basket was a big disappointment. It’s not cheap – $10 for a eight pieces – which is pretty steep for bread. Basically, I would describe it was fried dough that comes out in small (about the size of a golf ball) pieces on a plate. Sure, because it was fried it tasted great, but I don’t think it was worth the price. My main dish, El Monumento, was delicious. It’s a little on the small side so don’t expect enormous portions. However, it had a lot of flavor. The chorizo was very spicy, which I loved. The only thing I would remove from this dish are the onions. They did make the presentation more colorful but I didn’t like the taste of them at all. Lastly, I can’t forget about the drinks! The mimosas we ordered were delicious. There are three different flavors to choose from and they were all equally delicious. The service was slightly slow even though we were some of the only people there, but then again, we probably didn’t need to be pounding mimosas at 11:30 a.m.
Macondo is a solid boozy brunch option. It’s a well-known and popular spot down on the Lower East Side so if you do choose to go, be sure to make a reservation. The food is good, but don’t expect oversized portions here. Let’s admit it, the real reason you’re heading to Macondo for brunch is for the drinks, and they deliver in this department. The mimosas are strong and they try to keep your glasses filled as best they can. If anyone wants to grab brunch at Macondo, I won’t object. I’ll be back again and recommend it.