Whenever I am in New York City over a weekend I try and talk at least one friend, if not all, into going to Brunch, and preferably to Pastis. I am not sure why I like Pastis so much. It is always overcrowded, noisy, somewhat pretentious and there is always a chance that someone will bang into you, knock something over you or just be downright rude… maybe that is what I like about it. It feels very New York to me. One thing I can say is that I have never ever been disappointed with Brunch.
On this particular occasion, I talked Laurie into going with me. It wasn’t difficult as she had heard a lot of good things about Pastis and had never dined there before. As usual the place was packed to every corners, with a line going almost out of the door with pushy people. The hostess was incredibly friendly and told us we could possibly get a table quite quickly as we were only a party of two. We decided in the end to grab a seat at the bar. I have actually never sat at the bar before so this was a new adventure for me.
I found the bar staff totally efficient, just friendly enough and knowledgeable. There is no over the top friendliness here, but that is also something I quite like as it is not phony. The place is so fun to look around. The look and décor is classic French bistro with tiny tables, menus on mirrors and so loud you can barely here yourself speak. On a nice day, which this one wasn’t, there is also outside seating. The crowd is an eclectic mix of famous, tourists, uber fashionable, nouveaux riche and totally pompous. I love it. There are not many places in Boston where people can be such a varied mix and so unique at the same time. Pretentious people who behave as though they are just better than everyone else just make me laugh and there is definitely plenty to laugh at in Pastis.
James, the bartender who looked after us came over with menus. I decided on the Croque Monsieur and Laurie went with the Croque Madame. We also had a glass of Chablis each. The Croque Monsieur is an absolutey favorite of mine and utterly delicious. The “sandwich” is huge. Two large round pieces of bread with cheese, ham and béchamel – perfect. The béchamel is salty and tasty and not over the top or overwhelming in flavor or quantity. James suggested we try it with a side of mustard, which gave it such a kick my eyes did water a little. The mustard was so hot it could clear up any common cold! It is wonderful with the Croque Monsieur. I tried very hard to eat the whole thing but I just couldn’t. Laurie said it was even better with a broken egg on it. I will try that next time.
We decided to hang out a little longer as it was raining heavily outside and the people watching was just too good. Of course, the Chablis helped! People just kept bumping into me at the bar. I had the rudest couple that basically lent on either side of me practically feeling me up to the point that I was thinking of filing a sexual harassment suit. They just kept reaching across me for their drinks, used me as an arm rest and basically make out over me. I have very sharp elbows so I used them often :). I just don’t understand discourteous people at all. To be honest it just added to us having a good time and giggling a lot at the clientele.
James checked in with us often but not so much that is was over the top. We had another glass of wine because it was still raining. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it! This place does not stop with foot traffic. Even into the later hours of the afternoon after they stop serving brunch and hadn’t started to serve dinner, the people do not stop coming in.
I finally ended my long afternoon with a hot, strong coffee (or two) and spent the rest of my time at Pastis laughing with Laurie and Tricia, who had also turned up to join us and talking to the bar staff. I love this place. If you want to enjoy a New York brunch in a loud, bustling, people watching environment with great food, Pastis is a great place to go. Sadly, no famous people for me to see this time.