Brunching The Weekend Away @ Holden & Astor


Just a pinch of salt away from Jean-Georges’ Spice Market is the latest eatery to join the ranks of this trendy and quixotic area of town we call The Meatpacking District. One step up from the cobblestone street is Holden & Astor — bright and airy during the day, romantically candle lit at night — the interior is appointed with rustic lanterns, an exposed brick wall and wood beams plus two ominous, sepia prints watching over the dining area. I could identify the Junior Astor but I think the other was his wife, I’m not certain. I was distracted by the vines that stem from a muralled wall and recessed faux-tin ceiling. Regardless, it’s about the cuisine. Right?

Upon entering, you will more than likely be greeted by the handsome and debonair Sam, and catered to by a group of well-trained, friendly professionals. The room is comfortable with a pleasant ambiance and you are able to hold a conversation while hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s play in the background and uplift the spirit. It’s promising to become the latest haute spot for foodies, fashionistas and Highline Park escapees: It’s already making a name for itself by word of mouth.

Starting this Saturday and Sunday, November 15th and 16th, Holden and Astor will be offering brunch with distinct menus on each day along with the option of some of their popular dishes as well as standard brunch items: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with maple cream and berries, Astor’s Omelet with goat cheese, spinach and mushrooms, Mac & Cheese, ditallini cooked risotto style with wild mushroom, fontina and truffle (above), Croque Monsier on country bread, ham, swiss and fried egg. The menus are varied with something for every discerning taste. I recommend the “Mac & Cheese”, Ohhh la la!

The buzz on the cobblestone is that their bar (Mixologist: Sam Ziar) is quickly becoming renowned for their inventive libations. During brunch they offer several spins on classic cocktails: The Bloody Cobblestone is made with vodka, gin, tequila, spiced homemade tomato juice, shaved horseradish and pickled goods. I’m not sure of what the “goods” are but give it a shot. Their Brunch Martini is concocted with gin, lemon, cointreau and homemade orange marmalade. I thoroughly enjoyed the citrus flavor of their signature Sheep Meadow: vodka, salers, carpano bianco, a drop of absinthe. Baaa-liscious! Or try the Lure: lure vodka, lemon, lavender, coconut water, fruits rouges (above).

Holden and Astor is named after Lieutenant Colonel John Jacob Astor IV and his architect, L.C. Holden, big shoes to fill and one of the wealthiest families that owned most of this neighborhood during the 1900s.

It’s now in the hands of Nick Boccio, Shawn Kolodny and Ryan Tarantino, as well as the chef, Carmine Di Giovanni.

Here’s a toast to their longitude and our extended weekends!

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