Almost eighty years ago, Empire Diner made its debut, but more recently, it was reopened, revamped, and about damn time I went. So, I was off to Chelsea for brunch to check it out.
As a genuine boxcar diner, it made me a bit nostalgic of the late Relish Diner in Williamsburg, one of my old favorite spots (RIP). Inside, the aesthetic is clean, crisp and modern, but still pays homage to the old school diner vibe.
Everything on the menu sounded amazing, but I had to start with the Bruleed Grapefruit (toasted brioche and cinnamon cream cheese). I’ve had a grapefruit brulee before, but this one was a bit different. Both delicious, but this one had a bit of a different play on it, incorporating the brioche and cinnamon cream cheese. I really loved this, the different flavors and textures compliment each other so wonderfully. The tartness of the grapefruit is offset from the crisp, sweetness of the sugar, the savory, buttery brioche, which is pretty unreal, and the creaminess of the cinnamon cream cheese.
Then, for my entree I had to go for the Buttermilk Pancakes (fluffy pancakes, maple syrup, blueberry compote). Man alive, these were some incredible pancakes. They were light, pillowy, but still rich in flavor, and the blueberry compote was totally clutch. You can taste the simple freshness and flavor of the blueberries, unlike some of these overly sugared, artificially flavored versions at your run-of-the-mill diner. Pour some maple syrup on this bad boy, and you’ve got a slam dunk, right into my stomach.
Name: Empire Diner
Location: 210 Tenth Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Absolutely. The atmosphere is awesome, the food is delicious and the service was excellent.
Would I recommend it? For sure, you won’t be disappointed. It’s also located right by the High Line, so, go have a great meal and take a stroll to then think about how awesome your meal was.