It’s the name that tempts you at first then you discover the place and fall in love! It was only eight when I pushed the door open of Joseph Leonard’s little heaven. Occupying the corner of some traditional quarter feeling like old London, a small restaurant, kind of a “bistro du coin”, this home away from home is the perfect stopover for every person seeking calm and serenity in the early hours. Dimmed lights, wood, stylish yet authentic decorative items, photos here and there, an old clock, travel bags, mirrors and the bar. It’s enchanting, it’s magical, I felt good the minute I walked in.
Why the name I ask... Joseph and Leonard, names of the owner's grandfathers. Look around and you’ll see their pictures alongside the grandfathers of other investors. Meet Sean, the waiter, one of he happiest and most professional waiters I’ve ever met, blue eyes, Belinda hair, a huge smile, he just makes things work to perfection! Taking our order, serving coffee and opening the old fridge to prepare yogurt... I felt so good, again and again.
Let’s talk about the place. Five windows give a pleasant view on to the street in action. Wood is the main material, high stools, thick rugged wooden tables, old style black chairs with brown leather, a simple bar without any neon lights advertising material. An old clock from the fifties reminds you of the time. A white ceiling, a wall of bricks, re-purposed materials... mirrors, lots of them. It feels like home, home up in the village, the house of grandpa.
The breakfast menu is restrained and simple. No waffles and no pancakes but a simple selection of eggs and sausages.
A fork, knife, and spoon on a linen table napkin. A glass of water with a green bottle to refill. Every table has sea salt on it probably to decorate it or to bring good luck. Even coffee is served in a traditional English pot.
The food is succulent, prepared with style and finesse, more like art:
- Imagine a plate of smoked salmon with broccoli, cauliflower, flatbread, pumpkins cut in cubes and two poached eggs with a curry sauce. Very good quality salmon, cooked vegetables with a light flame roast, perfectly poached eggs and that sauce which is a premiere for me. I’ve always asked for a hollandaise or expected it for breakfast and never imagined having a superb curry sauce with my eggs. That’s gourmet food prepared with simplicity and love!
- Two poached eggs with a thick toasted pain de campagne spread with mashed avocados mixed with spices. This is not real! This is magic, surely not simple food. I licked my lips again and again while that fiesta of food played around my mouth.
- Brussel sprouts for breakfast with sriracha sauce, who would have said! A plate of pan-fried Brussel sprouts and a croissant stuffed with scrambled eggs. It’s simply excellent! Breakfast at Joseph Leonard is different from any I’ve ever had in New York. It’s simple yet innovative and classy.
I’m not sure if you want to read a review about the toilets but they deserve a line. It just feels like home; the mirror, the display, the candle, the cabinet, the napkins and amenities. I even took pictures.
More than words can say, this place put me in a great happy mood for the day! One of the “Must Dos” in New York City: go and have breakfast at Joseph Leonard.