Sarabeth’s & Good Enough to Eat: NYC’s Best Pancakes?

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NYC Food Guy is a pancake fan but it’s hard to find good ones. The best I’ve had in the city so far are the Banana Walnut Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter at Clinton Street Baking Company. I’d heard good things about Sarabeth’s & Good Enough to Eat so I decided to see how they stack up to the best. Read on to find out how they fared plus a word on Sarabeth’s crab cake sandwich & Good Enough to Eat’s omelets.

Sarabeth’s Buttermilk Pancakes with sliced strawberry & banana ($13.50)

Good Enough to Eat’s Lumber Jack (Two Buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two pieces of bacon – $10.50) & a side of biscuits with strawberry butter ($2.25)

What Makes A Good Pancake?

  1. Light and airy
  2. Unique, homemade flavor which separates it from other pancakes
  3. Though they may be a struggle to finish, you want to keep pushing because they’re so good
  4. Extra points for banana or other fruit mixed INTO the batter (not just on top)

Sarabeth’s

I’ve seen these pancakes on several top lists and the place certainly looks nice enough to work some magic on the flat griddle. Unfortunately, looks were deceiving. Solid on presentation, poor on execution.

  • Pancakes were bland, generic and doughy. Finishing them was an unrewarding struggle.
  • Buttering the pancakes is key to deliciousness, make sure you do that quickly so it melts in.
  • Maple syrup was authentic and warm, no artificial flavors here.

Sarabeth’s Iced Coffee

The one saving grace of the meal. For around $5 you get a nice little pitcher of strong Iced Coffee, good for at least 2 and a half, maybe three glasses, depending on how much milk you use.

Other Sarabeth’s Notes

Two women next to me ordered the crab cake sandwich ($19.50). They said the biscuit-like bun, Sarabeth’s English muffin, was tough and the matchstick fries were cold and stale.

Good Enough to Eat

Unfortunately, being mobbed every weekend has gone to their heads. They’ve got a unique menu but portions are small. As a result, reasonable prices aren’t so great anymore. You need to order a feast like the Lumber Jack (strawberries cost extra) below to get some bang for your buck.

  • Pancakes are light and airier than Sarabeth’s but lacking in the flavor department
  • Make sure to spread the strawberry butter and syrup all over to make up for that
  • Order a side of fresh, tasty biscuits and strawberry butter to fill out your meal

The desserts are homemade, tasty and always changing so make sure to ask what your options are. I recommend the coconut cake with cream cheese frosting.

Good Enough to Eat’s Omelet ($10.25)

The combination of a hastily prepared omelet and an underwhelming portion of fillings plus the absence of any potato side (i.e. home fries) makes for an overpriced omelet. Again, the bread & strawberry butter are the only saving graces.

Conclusion

Neither Sarabeth’s nor Good Enough to Eat’s pancakes can shine the shoes of Clinton Street Baking Company. While both places are more fun that the neighborhood diner, I think they’re being buoyed by hype and their names more than the quality of their food. If you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars, you can at least thank the NYC Food Guy for pointing out both restaurant’s shortcomings. If you know of any great, under the radar pancakes, please send them my way in the comments section.

Sarabeth’s

423 Amsterdam Avenue at 80th Street
New York, N.Y. 10024
(212) 496-6280
1295 Madison Avenue at 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128
(212) 410-7335
40 Central Park South b/t 5th and 6th Ave.
New York, N.Y. 10019-1633
(212) 826-5959

Good Enough to Eat

483 Amsterdam Ave at 83rd St.
New York, NY 10024
(212) 496-0163
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17 Responses to “Sarabeth’s & Good Enough to Eat: NYC’s Best Pancakes?”

  1. Amy Says:

    Did you know that Sarabeth’s Kitchen is going to takeover the Lord & Taylor’s restaurants over the next two years? Perhaps the now national restaurant has lost their hometown recipe. I hope not.

  2. Amy Says:

    We tried to eat at Sarabeth’s there last Sunday but the long lines were uninviting. Instead we went to the upstairs Fairiway Café and had a great breakfast; home made blintzes , scrambled eggs, rosemary potatoes, and toast. Nothing pretentious just a tasty, filling and true NYC experience. Great $$$ value.

  3. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Amy,

    I was actually in L&T today and saw a sign for Sarabeth’s. Can’t say I’m excited about that, L&T had a good chocolate ice cream cake that I’d heard about but didn’t try. I wonder if they’ll keep that on the menu.

    Smart move going to Fairway Cafe. I’ve been once and had a great meal for a good price as well. I split a burger and a turkey club and both were quality. I heard the pizzas are kind of blah, however, so if you go back keep that in mind.

    If I want a good breakfast on the UWS, I’d head over to Barney Greengrass for a meal that hasn’t changed since the early 1900s. Delicious Bobka and lox and eggs in a place that feels like Grandma’s kitchen. Quality.

  4. kristen Says:

    i think your problems were in your choices… Sarabeth’s Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes are about the greatest thing on earth… i cant comment on most of their other breakfast but rest assured that the lemon-ricotta pancakes rock.

    Good Enough to Eat makes some awesome (if not authentic) Huevos Rancheros… and most of their breakfast specials are pretty good… However, i will grant you that the strawberry butter is the best thing there…

  5. Katie K Says:

    The pancakes and french toast at Il Bastardo are great and I’ve had them a few times. $9 each and filling enough. I actually used to go to Sette every weekend for brunch because the deal was good and my friends and I could sit and talk for four hours with unlimited mimosas! Sette went away but re-opened under a different name I believe, and with the same owners as before (they own Il Bastardo as well).

    I plan on going back!

    7th Ave & 21st street.

  6. problem child (3) Says:

    kristen, i think nycfg has bigger problems than his choices from restaurant menus!

    food guy — what sorts of edibles do you recommend for use in the bedroom? this would be worthy of a post…

  7. phil Says:

    well isn’t that naughty…….

    genoa salami?

  8. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Kristen,

    I’m not a lemon guy so I won’t be trying the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at Sarabeth’s. I don’t think you can really put Lemon Ricotta Pancakes in the same category as the buttermilks. They’re a totally different breed.

    As far as Good Enough To Eat, I’ve never had the huevos rancheros, but I’ve definitely seen them and they do look good. As far as specials go, they’re all nice in concept but as I said in my review, the small portions negate the good intentions.

    Katie K,

    Il Bastardo looks pretty cool. $15 bucks for all you can drink is definitely legit. I’ll have to put it on the to do list. Thanks for the recommendation. What are some of your other favorites in the city?

    Problem Child,

    Stick with desserts and you’ll be fine.

    Phil,

    Gross.

  9. Mike V. Says:

    Awesome posts, my favorite new blog! 🙂
    Here’s the banana pancake (about a foot across and delicious) at Hash House A Go Go in San Diego:

  10. jeff c. Says:

    Good Restaurant in the W Village has good pancakes. Go checkit.

  11. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Mike V,

    Thanks for the kind words man. I really appreciate it. Those look like some seriously delicious pancakes. How’s the weather in San Diego? Starting to get cold over here.

    Jeff C,

    Thanks for stopping by dude. Solid Yelp page, a lot of quality reviews.

    I reviewed Good a few months back and was very pleased. You are right about that place. I went with the cream cheese stuffed banana french toast, however, and was happy with the choice. I found the toasted almond pancakes to be good but not the best. Here’s a link to my review.

    Where do you go for your pizza and burgers? How about wings?

  12. Sweet Freak Says:

    If you’ll accept french toast as the alternative pancake, then you must try newcomer JoeDoe and old faithful, Extra Virgin. They both use bananas and mascarpone, and they’re absolutely otherworldly.

  13. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Sweet Freak,

    Thanks for the recs. JoeDoe and Extra Virgin’s brunch both sound damn good. I’d probably hit Extra Virgin’s first and get some fries with gorganzola fondue in addition to my french toast with caramelized bananas and whipped mascarpone.

  14. Serafina Says:

    The BEST pancakes in NYC are at the Pershing Square Cafe on 42nd St. (across Grand Central). These are the truly best I’ve ever had in Manhattan and always go back for them. Try the buttermilk pancakes and tell me what you think.

    -S

  15. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Serafina,

    Tell me more about these pancakes. That’s a big claim. Have you had Clinton Street Baking Company? What makes these so delicious? What else is good there? More importantly, where are some of your other NYC bests? Burgers? Pizza? Wings? BBQ?

  16. wordbond Says:

    I am not a big brunch guy,however the lemon ricotta pancates at the four seasons[hotel 57 e. 57th] are wonderful. Other breakfasts there are also very good. Pricey yes however the ambience,service and quality of the food more than compensate!!

  17. Jennifer Says:

    Lord and Taylor should get rid of SB before they get sued. The staff tries to cheat, harass, and even threaten thier customers. They think their customers are out of town and do not know better,

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