Restaurant Review – Ze Cafe

I have never been one for breakfast foods. I know,  I must be crazy. Brunch on the other hand gives me the best of both worlds; I can get the lunch-y dishes I prefer while my dining companion can get the breakfast foods that are probably more suited for the hour.
Ze Cafe is a beautiful cafe located in Midtown East serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea along with Saturday and Sunday brunches. The first thing you notice when you walk in is that the interior design is absolutely gorgeous. Assorted flowers and potted plants act as centerpieces for some of the larger tables but can be seen lining the wall as well. Apparently, the cafe is affiliated with a neighboring florist around the corner who provides them with floral arrangements. The center of the small, open room is occupied by a table holding various french pastries on glass cake stands. Large windows that make up the front of the cafe let in a flood of natural sunlight that illuminates the entire cafe.

Croissant, Chocolate Croissant, Sour Cherry Scone
Blueberry Jam, Orange Marmalade, Strawberry Jam, Honey Butter
Considering it was around 10:30am on a Sunday morning, the cafe wasn’t too crowded nor was it too empty and we were seated immediately. I ordered the Duck Confit & Eggs and an orange juice (which, I was informed, was freshly squeezed but just not by them) while my sister ordered a coffee and the Oatmeal Brulee with Fresh Fruit (blueberries). After ordering, we were given a trio of blueberry and strawberry jam and orange marmalade to go along with three of their pastries which come with the order of an entree. The croissants were golden brown and flaky on the outside but soft on the inside which allowed for a perfect pairing with the jams (the blueberry jam was absolutely heavenly). The sour cherry scone was just OK. Nothing special but still delicious nonetheless.
Duck Confit and Eggs
Trumpet Mushrooms, Scallions, Crackling, Fingerling Frites, & Mesclun Salad
Oatmeal Brulee with Fresh Fruit
Our entrees came out fairly quickly. Sadly, I thought the duck slices were on the dry side and the fingerling potatoes on the side seemed undercooked and hard almost. The mesclun salad, however, was pleasantly refreshing with a slight acidic vinaigrette that cut through the heaviness of the whole dish while the trumpet mushrooms were probably my favorite part of the dish. The oatmeal brulee was delicious albeit on the sweet side which I would probably attribute to the sugar both in the oatmeal and on top. However, the oatmeal was nice and thick with hefty oats and the tart blueberries helped with the sweet taste that seemed to overpower the whole dish.
Overall, the atmosphere and decor impressed me more than the food. It was definitely nothing to write home about. Having been there before and eating a delicious tartine, my sister noticed that the menu was entirely different. We asked our server if they often rotated menus but he told us that there was actually  a new Executive Chef who changed the entire menu just a week ago, so keep that in mind if you’re looking forward to their famous banana and mascarpone french toast!
Ze Cafe
398 E. 52 St., New York – (212) 758-1944

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