Where to Brunch: Poco

Standing at the corner of Avenue B and East 3rd Street, you’ll find Poco, a tapas and brunch restaurant known for its bottomless drinks and upbeat vibes. I visited Poco on a Saturday morning for my best friend’s birthday brunch. This East Village hot-spot can be best described as a party-style dining experience perfect for birthdays and celebrations.

At the beginning of the day, service at Poco would have gotten a 2/10 rating from me but that number eventually increased. My group had a one o’clock reservation for a party of fifteen. Half of us arrived on time so I went to find a hostess to check in the group. I hovered around a tiny space by the entrance for a few minutes and finally a woman walked over and checked us in. We were asked to wait outside while our table was cleaned off. I only saw a few tables on the main level and worried  how they planned on fitting all of us. After forty-five minutes and two visits back to the hostess stand, we made our way to a long table downstairs with enough space for everybody. After putting in our orders for drinks, the service picked up immensely. Our server was attentive, full of energy and magically cut fifteen pieces out of a 8 inch birthday cake.

Via @PocoNYC

The entrees we tried included Poco Benedict which almost everyone ordered, steak, egg and cheese sandwich, pulled chicken sandwich, and vegan smoked maple mac and cheese. The portions are small but the food is prepared well, both in flavor and appearance. I had the steak sandwich and was very satisfied. Medium rare steak and scrambled eggs were sandwiched between a toasted baguette and paired with avocado sauce. Alone, the eggs were bland but combining it with smokey cheddar and creamy avocado brought it to life. I was the only one who got the sandwich and the only one who left the table feeling full. The $2 up charge was worth it. The Poco Benedict was served on an arepa with chorizo sprinkled on top. The crunch of the arepa balanced out the poached egg with the chorizo giving the plate a nice kick. The mac and cheese was good, not great. The panko bread crumbs were a nice touch but the flavor of the cheese sauce didn’t really excite me. While the meals were enjoyable in taste, some of our group did end up making a stop at the pizzeria next store after we left.

Via @PocoNYC

The drinks are the star of the show at Poco.  Bottomless options include mimosas, Bloody Marys, red sangria, and white sangria. I went with the mimosa and loved it. I’ve been so used to my mimosas being made with Prosecco but the Wycliff Brut they used here was enjoyable. Drinks are bottomless for 1.5 hours. If all guests are over 21, you can get a bottle of champagne for the table which helps control your OJ to champagne ratio. If everyone isn’t participating in the bottomless brunch, a server walks around and fills your glass. Our cups were never empty and our server was flexible with us trying the different drinks per round.

One of the upsides of Poco compared to most NYC brunch spots is they do a Friday brunch as well.  All in all, the ambiance at Poco guarantees you a party in your seat. The music plays all through brunch and your glass stays full. I wouldn’t make the trip for a meal alone. However, for a special occasion that warrants bottomless mimosas, Poco is a good time. Considering we had a forty-five minute wait even with a reservation, I wouldn’t recommend just walking in on a weekend.

 

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