China Grill is a really good restaurant in Midtown Manhattan - a section of New York City that is devoid of anything truly great as far as dining experiences go.
I've reviewed China Grill's dinner for the blog - creative Asian fusion dishes meant to be shared family-style - and recently checked out their brunch with my grandparents. I was pleasantly surprised, and thought the world deserved to know about this hidden brunching gem between Central Park and Times Square.
Oh You Fancy, Huh?
Here's the thing about China Grill. It's gorgeous inside. The ceilings are tall, the wait staff are dressed up, there's a beautiful bar and open kitchen. The moment you step in, you feel like you're somebody. You feel like you're a little bit fancy, or at least a little bit fancier than your typical boozy brunch spot where you and your friends eat greasy breakfast burritos and guzzle down mimosas made with $5 champagne.
The point is, China Grill feels classy. And what twenty-something doesn't like feeling classy on a Sunday morning?
A La Cart vs. Prixe Fixe
If you're doing brunch at China Grill - you're probably going to want to order from the price fixe brunch menu because ordering a la cart just doesn't really make a lot of sense financially.
You could order an entree for $19 plus a Bloody Mary for $14 (~$40 total once you factor in tip)
You could choose an appetizer and an entree ($26) and go the unlimited booze route ($16 for endless mimosas or Bloody Mary's) for a grand total of around $50 once you add tip.
$10 gets you an additional appetizer AND as many drinks as you want. Do the math, people.
If you're with a group, you're going to want to make sure you aren't doubling up on the appetizers. Instead, order one of each and you'll get to sample them all! On my visit, we got to sample the following:
Green Tea Donuts
Because once in awhile, it's OK to eat dessert first! These bad boys have a distinct fried-dough flavor that is delectable, while not exactly screaming "Green Tea." It's OK though, because once you dip your fried dough ball into the plum jam - you'll be hooked. This stuff is sweet, tart and refreshing! (Comes with 5 doughnuts)
Crispy Eggplant & Burrata With Miso Glaze
I liked this more than anyone else - probably because the miso paired with the crispy eggplant wasn't a typical flavor combo. But I for one loved the nutty, umami flavor of the miso glaze paired with the light, refreshing burrata. (Comes with 4 pieces)
Crackling Calamari Salad
This is one of the best dishes on both their dinner and brunch menus and it is MONSTROUS. It can easily feed 4 or 5 people with a decent amount of salad AND squid. The calamari is perfectly battered - not too much but still perfectly crispy. Spritz some fresh lime on top and this is a killer salad.
Chicken Thigh Skewers With Toasted Peanut Sauce
Whoah baby. What sounds like a pretty boring appetizer is actually pretty phenomenal thanks to chicken that is SO GOSH DARN TENDER. The peanut sauce is the cherry on top. (Comes with 4 skewers)
Yes, after feasting on all of those appetizers, I still had room for an entree.
Sesame Jumbo Lump Crab Benedict With Grilled Asparagus
Eggs Benny goes from drab to...CRAB with this take on the brunch classic. Absolutely overflowing with crab meat, this was a winner!
Yuzu Cream Stuffed French Toast With Lemongrass Caramel Sauce & Mixed Berry Compote
Talk about a sugar overload. This was super sweet, but oh so beautiful! Just look at it! This French Toast is TURNT.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit and you can really tell when you get into the center of the french toast and reach the yuzu cream. It's a little overpowering, but balanced by the sesame!
I don't know if I could eat this as my entire meal, but a few bites after my Benedict certainly satisfied my sweet tooth!
Other entree options include a pork belly scramble with potato hash, bacon and egg fried rice and a wild mushroom omelet with goat cheese and spinach.
This is a boozy brunch spot after all, so let's talk about what really matters - the dranks. If you're a Bloody Mary lover, you are in for a treat with China Grill's 4 specialty Bloody Mary's. Ranging from tequila to vodka to bourbon - there's a Bloody for everyone!
And most importantly, these Bloody Mary's come with built-in appetizers. They're the best for both your taste buds AND your Instagram account.
I went with the Deviled Bloody Mary which came with a skewer loaded with not only celery, greens, cucumber and celery but a Wasabi Deviled Egg! Oh, and instead of tomato juice it was CARROT JUICE based. Yum.
You Should Go.
More positives about China Grill as your next brunch spot? The service is phenomenal, it isn't super crowded, there's space to bring a group, it's centrally located and the presentation of each dish is superb as evidenced by the above pictures.