Space is the ultimate NYC commodity and there’s often an nth of a degree between cozy and cramped in our restaurants. In fact, there’s a whole category of eateries here where you never want to be a party of three, unless you like crouching on a backless stool with your friends at their table for two. In other parts of this country, or even this state, this sort of spot would never make it, but here such restaurants often thrive. Why? Because they’re an excellent value. Fortunately, the Cornerstone Café doesn’t belong in the three’s a crowd category, but it’s still teetering between cramped and cozy. The sardine can conditions inside are helped by the high, airy ceiling and the sunny lighting. Surprisingly, they do take reservations. Unsurprisingly, reservations don’t mean much. We still had to wait several minutes for a table, but probably had an edge on the shivering horde waiting out in the winter cold.
We’re happy to report that there’s a good reason tens of brunchers weathered the cold to get a table. The food is simple, delicious, and a bargain. Firstly, twenty-five dollar pitchers of Mimosas or Bellinis: tasty, but flat. Perfectly poached Eggs Benedict at ten dollars is a steal; nothing earth shattering, but delicious. It’s even easy to overlook the under seasoned homefries that have the texture of previously frozen potatoes. Just be glad to save the carbs. Crêpes are unadorned, but scrumptious, delivering a salty, smokey, savory blend of pesto, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. Judging by the burnt brown of the omelet on the table to our left and of the baked eggs (a house specialty) to our right we lucked out with our eggs. Pancakes one table further to the right are more of a mountain than a stack and smell and look delectable. See, there are some benefits to cozy/cramped Cafés: vicarious dining. A few final notes: the coffee cups are adorable and were well attended by our lovely waitress. Overall, this is brunch well done on a dime.