Today is a chilly autumn Sunday and this morning I happened to find myself in the Brooklyn Diner on 57th and 7th.
Do you ever have those moments where you’re walking down the street and you absolutely need pancakes? That’s where I was this morning around 10:45am, post church service, destined to find somewhere to eat pancakes.
I started walking in the direction of my train station, not sure if I would just head back to my neighborhood and figure out what to eat once I got back uptown. But alas, my cravings could not wait the 4 stops uptown on the C train.
While I was thinking through my plans, I came across a diner called the Brooklyn Diner. Interesting, I thought, seeing as though we are in the heart of Manhattan. Shouldn’t it be called the Manhattan diner? And far more importantly, do you think they have pancakes?
I walk up to the side entrance and open the first plastic door (you know when the city starts to get cold and restaurants start to put plastic barriers outside their doors to keep the cool air out?) A plump older man greets me with such vigor, I’m almost caught off guard. He approaches me with his kind eyes, purple button-down shirt and sharply square glasses.
“Welcome!” he shouts, leaving me to wonder if he works at the diner while secretly hoping to be discovered for his 10/10 greeting.
He proceeds to check my vaccination card and asks if I’m meeting anyone.
“Nope,” I respond, “just me.”
His face lights up with a crooked teethed smile. “Brilliant. Follow me.”
He leads me into the real diner door where I am told to wait for the hostess to come and show me to my seat.
Along comes a little man with a disposable mask cupping his chin, a straggly go-t sticking out and the aura of both Martin Short and the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
“It’s just her.” Says the enthusiastic plump man in the purple shirt.
“Great, right this way,” the hurried rabbit/Martin Short look-alike says.
He leads me to a the back wall where there is one long booth with accompanying small tables. He takes one seat setting away and prompts me to enjoy my visit.
I remove my coat and settle into my booth seat that overlooks the diner. A friendly server approaches me and takes my drink order. I went with tea after finding out they do not have any almond milk for a latte. He leaves to get my tea.
Now for the important part: the menu. I am pleased to tell you that they did, in fact, have pancakes. Phew. Mission accomplished.
My waiter returns with a lovely red kettle of hot water with the tea I ordered and I put in my order for pancakes. I pour a glass, seep the tea, and enjoy the first warm sip. I look out at the life happening around me, realizing I’m in a prime people-watching seat.
Let’s go back to the host with the go-t, shall we? This man, shuffling all around the diner as if he is horribly late for an appointment is dressed in a loose interpretation of a work uniform and bundled in a rainbow striped scarf, tied so tightly I wonder if he can breathe under there. He also wears square glasses, but instead of wearing them on his face like the plump purple shirt man, his are so far down his nose, I’m worried they will fall off. The falling glasses, in turn, result in a very scrunched nose. I’m actually not sure exactly what his job is, but he is very busy and takes it very seriously.
The Brooklyn Diner is just like every other classic diner. They have tiled floors, a big stainless steel kitchen for everyone to observe the hustling kitchen staff, large murals of baseball games painted on the walls around me. What I am surprised to notice with the diner ambiance is the music selection––not that you can hear much of it. If you focus your ears over the loud-talking customers and clatters of dishes, you can hear it––a soft classical piano.
I’m not sure what I imagined would be playing as background music in a diner, but I surely was not expecting classical.
Now for what we have all come here for: the pancakes.
Ascending onto my little table is a stack of 3 gorgeous golden-brown buttermilk pancakes, the smell enticing my nostrils. I pour the provided syrup over the pancakes, and go in for my first bite.
Brilliant. Cooked to perfection. Full of flavor. Fluffy, warm, practically melts in your mouth.
These pancakes, dare I say, are the best I’ve had in the city yet. Mission. Accomplished.
Overall experience this morning at Brooklyn Diner: 4.3/5. Would recommend (order the pancakes).