The 5 Best Pancakes in NYC
Shrove Tuesday -- the final day before Lent begins -- is celebrated in Christian countries around the world as the last gasp of excess before 40 days of self-denial begins. In the UK and Ireland, Shrove Tuesday celebrants are served up stacks and stacks of pancakes, giving rise to the name “Pancake Tuesday.” Pancake Tuesday origin myths abound, but flapjacks were the perfect way to use up a household’s store of butter and eggs in advance of the fasting season.
Even if 40 days in the desert isn’t your thing, you can still join in the pancake celebration this week. I’ve made it easy by rounding up New York’s five best baked, buttermilk, and Bunyan-approved stacks.
Pancakes for dinner: Simple but luxurious, the kind of choice you dreamed about making when you were a kid. Clinton Street Baking Company works the griddle from 5:30 to 11pm so you can live the dream. Served with gooey Maine blueberries, banana and walnuts, or huge chocolate chunks, their pancakes are fluffy, golden brown, and served with melted maple butter. You can get them for brunch, too, but why wait until the morning?
Ringing in at $6.75 (including a coffee until 11:30 AM), Johnny’s Luncheonette has the most reasonably priced pancakes on this list. And they should be cheap! They’re diner pancakes, after all, made without fuss or fancy toppings, designed to stave off hangovers or give your toddler something sticky to throw. Johnny flips exactly the sort of pancakes you crave from a diner: thinnish and dark and not perfectly round, served up in a noisy, narrow space that smells like a strong cup of joe.
Made with -- you guessed it! -- buttermilk. Buttermilk Channel’s pancakes are especially tender and the slightest bit sour, their tops laced nearly black from the griddle. They’re served simply, with butter and a jug of maple syrup, and they really they don’t need any further gussying up. (A side of bacon couldn’t hurt, though, especially dragged through the syrup). There’s always a wait for brunch, but it’s to be expected -- Brooklyn is Brunch City, and Beyonce ate here once.
Baked in the oven instead of flipped on the griddle, Le Barricou gives their pancakes an even golden crust and nearly an inch-high rise. Served two-to-an-order with fresh berries, sweet strawberry butter, and maple syrup, they’re a sophisticated French take on the rustic Dutch Baby, which is traditionally baked in a cast iron pan. The pancakes take an hour to make, so order a drink (or two, or three) and toast to your day of excess.
Jacob’s Pickles serves a gridless take on the sweet-and-savory chicken and waffle combo, resting their buttermilk fried chicken and bacon atop pancakes, instead. The crispy fried chicken is great on its own, but what can’t be improved by a run-in with some maple syrup? They open at 10 AM on the weekdays, allowing you to celebrate the holiday properly (and without the long weekend wait). Now you just have to convince your boss that “Pancake Tuesday” is a good excuse to come in late.
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