The crowds of tourists inching their way along Broadway in Soho is more than painful on the weekend. Stopping every few metres to crane their necks at the buildings, discussing which shops to go into and gawking at the food truck that line the street is more than I can handle. Cafe Select is a few short blocks away on Lafayette – close enough as an escape if you tire of shopping, but just far away that the tourists don’t know about it and you’re surrounded by Soho locals.
The inside is charming with a ceiling covered with fairy lights, but during the day and particularly in Summer, the prime seats are the 4 small tables out the front; seats arranged to create the perfect view for people watching.
The menu traverses across American, Mediterranean, Italian, but it’s most distinct slant is towards German/Austrian. Rosti, spatzli and bratwurst all make an appearance, but my pick is the schnitzel. A thin crumbed piece of chicken breast, accompanied by a simple potato salad and a basic green salad, it’s simple, but executed well. All the usual Brunch suspects are there and include a crispy rosti accompanied by bacon and a couple of poached eggs. Seemingly dry on arrival, once the yolks are broken, the dish becomes that magical combination of salty, crispy and creamy.
Cocktails are ideal for the last vestiges of Summer; various combinations of prosecco, mint and lemon slip down all too easily.
If you want to feel like a New Yorker, do what I’ve done; nab a street table, order brunch and a cocktail and watch New York go by. It really is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.