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Brunch has always been a wonderfully relaxing and appreciated innovation, a sort of very pleasant way to spend a weekend afternoon, and thus, there are many variations on a theme. But for the quintessential brunch experience, youd be well-advised to stop in at Aunt Suzie (247 5th Avenue, between Carroll Street and Garfield Place; 718-788-AUNT or www.auntsuzie.com). Started just a couple of months ago, this new addition to the repertoire of the already wildly successful and very longed lived establishment is a five star winner that has it all, including something for which Aunt Suzie has always been known: very affordable pricing and if you have kids with big appetites, the brunch is a veritable bargain. First off, the place is just charming warm, welcoming, an extension of your grandmas own living/dining room filled with real family photos and whimsy. Service is friendly and first rate, its tone set by Irene LoRe, your charming owner/hostess, who named the place after her mom, Suzie. Thats Irene, the Shirley Temple mop-topped look-alike in the photo, top left, on the wall as you walk in, with her three sisters surrounding her moms image. The rest of the walls are decorated with Brooklyn memorabilia tracing the familys Brooklyn roots old school photos, family get-togethers, friends, etc. The place itself is as comfortable as a favorite old chair. The large, heavy wooden tables are surrounded by purposely mismatched chairs and a couple of ornately carved benches for two. The original wood floors and tin ceiling bespeak the vintage age of the space. Theres open weathered brick along one wall; different floral soft cloth napkins are at every setting. Come to Aunt Suzies brunch starving because if you dont, youll end up over-eating anyway, and there simply wont be tummy room to hold it all. The brunch is done as an all-you-can-eat buffet affair, with five different stations for you to visit. So take your time and eat up, nibble, sample, come back for seconds and thirds. The centerpiece is the make-your-own omelet station with a twist: the fillings are all in front of you in large bowls and you fill your own smaller bowls with whatever and how much of each you want you dont have to depend on the guy behind the table as you usually do. You decide if you want a mountain of onions, or just a touch of tomatoes, an embarrassingly large pile of cheese or just a smattering of sausage. There are fresh mushrooms, too, plus hot peppers, chunks of ham, broccoli florets and more. You give the very obliging cook the innards and he makes it fresh for you. And fresh it is, by the way even if you order egg white omelets, as I do, the egg whites are not from some carton, but from freshly cracked eggs. The finished product is first rate, cooked as ordered maybe you like your eggs a little runny, maybe you like them well done thats up to you. And maybe you want one of each thats up to you, too. Dont be shy if youre still hungry. Fill up the rest of your plate with generous helpings from the chafing dishes that offer up crisp bacon, excellent sausage, very good home fries, slices of ham, challah French toast and freshly made scrambled eggs. Of course, there are breads and bagels, jams and butters, too. Adjacent to the omelet station you can sample some made-to-order, light as air crepes filled with fresh papayas or homemade chocolate syrup, the latter, like everything else, made from scratch. Both toppings, along with plenty of powdered sugar, go very nicely with the exceptional Belgian Waffles, also made to order, ?-inch thick, perfectly formed, wonderfully light and airy, with a special homemade batter that is again, several notches above the norm. So take your overflowing plate and eat up, and then come right back because you missed a whole other section of the buffet: the pastas, meats and fish. This afternoon brought Chicken Piccata, sausage and peppers that got rave reviews from every table in the place, Cheese Tortellini in a vodka inspired sauce with sundried tomatoes, onions and peas, plus Fettuccine Alfredo, Pasta with Broccoli, as well as Rigatoni with a chunky fresh tomato sauce garnished with capers and accents of sundried tomatoes. Of course, there were the many add-ons too, each in their own bowl, to customize these dishes: string beans, herbed fresh carrot strips, and baby cauliflower; theres also a green salad. Now, you have certainly undone the notch of your belt a couple of holes by now but leave some room for dessert, of course: chocolately brownies, fresh pumpkin pie, a crowd-pleasing chocolate mousse, and first-rate, homemade creamy rice pudding. All this and beverages too: mimosa or Bellini to start, or wine or beer; plus pitchers of orange juice, coffee, tea and soda. Happily, Aunt Suzie offers brunch on both Saturday and Sunday, 12-3 p.m. The cost is a very easy to take $15.90 for everything and a mere $5.90 for kids 11 and under youd spend more than that for a lousy breakfast at the local coffee shop. MasterCard and Visa are accepted.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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