Dive into brunch in a big way at this rustic NoMad spot

By James Oliver Cury

If there’s one person who can provide excellent service while managing the volume of BLACKBARN—a multi-level, creative American restaurant across the street from Madison Square Park—it’s Chef/Owner John Doherty, former executive chef of the famed Waldorf-Astoria kitchen, who worked there for over 23 years. For large groups and intimate parties alike, BLACKBARN is brunch heaven.

Walk past the chopped wood in the foyer, and you enter the “tavern”, the first of many rustic-chic rooms where bands often play during this weekend meal. The restaurant’s modern farmhouse interiors extend in all directions from here: there’s an upstairs and a downstairs, several small rooms for private functions, and a main dining room with an open kitchen, high ceilings, and criss-crossed blond wood rafters overhead. To supply extra urban barn vibes, they’ve hung vintage farming tools on the walls juxtaposed with industrial materials, and added sliding red barn doors.

The menu—farm-to-table fresh, naturally—is full of tempting options, featuring 21 main dishes, four sides, a chocolate cherry ice cream bomb, a prix-fixe option, and four types of Mimosas (winner: passion fruit).

Several dishes stand out in this crowd. In the huevos department, it’s the egg yolk raviolo, a single large pasta pocket that melds egg yolk with mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, spinach, and black truffle emulsion, making for one deliciously gooey treat. There are plenty of alternative egg dishes, too, including a farmer’s omelette, an egg white frittata, and an excellent eggs Benedict.

If you have a sweet tooth, there are two equally impressive elevated staples to choose from—sweet potato pancakes, topped with a dollop of delicate spiced whipped cream, candied pecans, and two strips of maple bacon; and a super-thick, wonderfully crunchy cornflake–crusted French toast, which draws extra layers of sweetness from brandy-caramelized New York state apples, mascarpone whipped cream, powdered sugar, and a hint of cinnamon.

The surprise hit, cordoned off in the list of sides, is the chipotle BBQ-glazed bacon steak, which is actually a slab of succulent pork belly surrounded by an artful constellation of sauce-dollop polka dots and colorful peppers. And if all you want is a liquid brunch, there’s always the “bottomless build-your-own Bloody Mary bar,” a creative cocktail buffet station in the center of the room stocked with veggies and more for a fun, personalized experience. Cheers!


Tavern Dinner: Mon 3 PM–10 PM; Tue–Sat 3 PM–11 PM; Sun: 5:30 PM–9 PM
Main Dining Room Dinner: Mon 5:30 PM–10 PM; Tue–Sat 5:30 PM–10 PM; Sun 5:30 PM–9 PMs
Brunch: Sat 11AM–3 PM; Sun 11AM–4 PM
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM¬–3 PM

price range

$18 (corn flake–crusted French toast) to $25 (shrimp and grits)