A Review of Brunch at CK 14 (a.k.a. Crooked Knife on 14th)
In New York City, ritual meets athletic sport every Saturday and Sunday in the form of brunch. Lasting anywhere between one to four hours, groups of young urban dwellers spend their early afternoons pouring as many mimosas, bellinis and Bloody Marys down their throats as they can in order to take advantage of their limited-timed drink refills.
It was fitting that midway through my meal at the Crooked Knife on 14th Street, or CK 14, a group of people who had just finished the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon sat at the table next to mine. Yes, people who had just run 13.1 miles in a different borough trekked to Manhattan to enjoy CK 14’s brunch offerings. I’d say that was a sign that CK 14 was a winner when it comes to brunch. My own experience suggested that as well.
If you look at each room of the restaurant and feel they all come from different restaurants, then you understand the overall aesthetic of the environment. It’s very mis-matchy and eclectic, but somehow it all works and can be summed up with one word: fun.
A wooden table sits next to a marble table, and both of them are encased with a booth covered in a burlap-sack type material. The brick wall stands across from a wallpaper-covered one with beautiful geometric flowers that almost seem three dimensional.
Probably the best part about the overall ambiance is the lighting. When you walk into CK 14, you walk into a basement, but once you walk past the front room (which is notably darker– would be good for a dinner setting but not a brunch), you find yourself bathed in sunlight thanks to the two large skylights above. There’s also a back patio, which was set up for a large party, and is so quaint that I am already planning to celebrate every major life event with brunches in that space.
Also worth noting was that throughout my time at CK 14, the soundtrack was packed with some of my favorite throwback jams, including Keri Hilson’s Pretty Girl Rock and Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, so the general vibe was upbeat and enjoyable. Since my table happened to be right near the speaker, the music was a little too loud, but that isn’t a big problem when the jams are so great.
The menu hosts a good variety of everything you would want from a good brunch and then some.
My friend Emily got the Sausage and Egg Burger ($16), which was topped with bacon, American cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and cajun remoulade and served with home fries and cheddar slaw.
She loved her meal, though the cheesy coleslaw was a little too cheesy, and the sausage that she loved was also overpowered by the cheese. Em reported that she would have chosen a different kind of cheese if given the option. But the eggs were perfectly poached and not too runny, and the brioche bun didn’t get soggy at any point of the meal. From what I tasted, I agreed that the eggs were nicely fluffy and the cheddar slaw was a little too heavy.
We also got mimosas, which were good, but not the best I’ve ever had. Speaking of beverages, as a coffee-holic, I was disappointed by the coffee. It was not hot enough and I would have liked to have gotten more refills.
For my meal, I ate the Salmon Hayek Benedict ($15), which consisted of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, and smoked salmon.
I loved this meal. The eggs were perfectly poached, the bacon was intensely crispy– almost burnt, which is how I like it (I didn’t even ask for that, how did they know?!), great hollandaise sauce, and the salmon added a nice saltiness to it. Overall, I loved the meal. The only criticism I have was that the salad was over-dressed and I would have liked more salmon, as it was lost in the hollandaise and bread flavors.
All of the servers and hosts were very friendly, and generally helpful. We only were ‘checked on’ once during our meal, which could be good or bad depending on how much waiter-interaction you prefer. I personally would have liked a bit more attention, just for the coffee, but that’s my own addiction that I should probably sort out elsewhere.
The Bottom Line:
We left feeling satiated but not saturated, and most importantly, we enjoyed ourselves. I will definitely go back to CK 14, maybe to try an omelette next time or perhaps a side of chili cheese home fries.
Although this meal was generously provided by the restaurant, Better Than Ramen’s writers pride themselves in sharing their honest opinions
232 W. 14th St. (West Village/Chelsea)
New York, NY 10011