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St. Helen: Patron of Brunchtime Wonder

St Helen Cafe
Front window, St. Helen Cafe


St Helen Cafe Hot Chocolate
Damn fine hot chocolate


Goat-Cheese Bake
Baked goat cheese & pears with toast

The service is slow. We are unconcerned.

At Enid's, mere blocks away, we'd still be shifting weight on the corner with the cattle-call throng of hipsters in leather boots and vintage accessories. We'd wait for Gelles and watch jealously, hungrily, as group after group of brunchkateers hear the tables calling. They sashay through the velvet curtains, coffee cups sloshing. They will eat. You will wait.

Here at St. Helen, we are waiting on slow service, yes, but we are shocked to find ourselves sitting. We have coffee.

Gelles won't arrive for another 45 minutes. When he does materialize, the rest of us will have just received our lovingly baked dishes. He will look at our hot plates, look at his watch, order a coffee and bemoan his bad parking karma.

The coffee is good. The hot chocolate is surprisingly good. There is much in the way of toast. There is Nutella. The food is unrushed, unfussy and affectionately prepared in the way our mothers might, if they were professional cooks with a well-stocked kitchens and really good knives.

There is much wood here. One tries to remember what the space looked like before St. Helen Cafe opened. How much of the detail is old? How much is cleverly made to look old?

The decor — including the clean bird-and-axe crest — is so deftly tapped into the past year's sweetly creepy whitewashed sparrow-vine-and-deer trend, it gives off an uneasy vibe. One is almost scared to be seen in it, lest the fad crest, fall and froth into the shamefully passé during the few moments while our eggs cool.

Thankfully, the trend holds, the eggs satisfy, the lattes are lovely and the check is very reasonable. No mean feat in brunch-mad Sunday morning Williamsburg. Thank you, St. Helen, for small miracles.


St. Helen Cafe
150 Wythe Ave.
(Btwn 6th & 7th)
Brooklyn, NY
718-302-1197

3.16.2006

3 Comments:

Blogger Floh said...

One blog and i'm hooked on your site. i doubt i'll ever be lucky enough to visit St. Helen, being a continent away, but i'm going to be pouring over all you have to say (and show) about food, glorious food!

thank you for being there! :)

3/17/2006  
Blogger MissGinsu said...

Aw, that's too kind of you to say!

If you ever visit NYC, let me know, so I can point you down the path of maximum delight for the dollar!

Best,
Miss G.

3/17/2006  
Blogger Floh said...

Last time i visited NYC was over 15 years ago (went to La Luna in Little Italy if i recall correctly) -- i'd love another shot and you can bet i'll contact you if i ever get the chance to go again. :)

i should be in Las Vegas, Portland, Oregon, Salem, Oregon, Montana for Custer's Last Stand re-enactment and Utah sometime in June.

i'm most certainly planning to go to a restaurant recommended by my cousin in Las Vegas called Rosemary's.

here is Rosemary's Restaurant website (it happens to be a link to her recipes, this one) and cousin loved the Rosemary’s Buttermilk Roasted Rack of Lamb with Black Olive Creamed Potatoes, Fried Arugula and Rosemary Lamb Jus. i'll have that then! :)

http://www.rosemarysrestaurant.com/recipes.html

Regards, Floh

3/18/2006  

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