My husband and I recently ate brunch at The Marshal in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York. One thing I can say for sure: The Marshal is fearless in the face of cholesterol. Most items come with cheese or bacon, and often both. The restaurant serves duck bacon, pork bacon, and sausage. For an extra charge, even the butter can come with bacon. As for cheeses, you can find dishes with Swiss, burrata, blue, mozzarella, cheddar, ricotta, and “farm’esan.” Because the chef embraces local products, many of the above come from New York state.
Ambience: Local casual
Alcoholic beverages: Yes
Best Non-Egg Dishes: biscuits, mac and cheese
Most popular based on other tables: Short rib hash with poached eggs; stuffed French toast; deviled eggs
The Marshal is a tiny restaurant that feels like a local hangout. Its long, brick-walled interior reflects Hell Kitchen’s working class roots and its gritty history. It serves farm-to-table comfort food with touches of the gourmet, although I’d never in a million years call it fine dining.
To be honest, I’m not a brunch person, mostly because I have an aversion to eggs. Unfortunately, when I’m on the road, Sunday lunch in the U.S. almost always means brunch. For me, a good brunch place must offer appealing non-egg dishes as well as lunch-like items. We were attracted to The Marshall because of its wood oven, local ingredients, and the dishes I could, or rather would, order.
Late Morning Comfort Food
We started our brunch with drinks. My husband went for his staple, a Bloody Mary. Our server convinced me to try the Marshal Spritzer. Even though I’m not a spritzer fan, I decided to follow his advice. I enjoyed the bitter orange liqueur, rhubarb syrup, club soda, and NY state sparkling wine cocktail. I liked that it wasn’t high in alcohol, with just enough to give it a refreshing pep.
Since we wanted to sample, we started with biscuits, splurging on the bacon brown sugar butter to go with the included cherry preserves and house-churned honey butter. We also ordered a small Bacon, Apple, and Blue Mac & Cheese to share. The biscuits were hot and delicious, more solid than fluffy. The mac & cheese could have used more blue cheese flavor. Despite that, both dishes satisfied, so much so that I wished we hadn’t ordered sandwiches as well.
My husband raved about his D.L.T. with its Hudson Valley duck bacon, lettuce, tomato, and smoked paprika remoulade on 7-grain bread. I was less enamored with my “grilled” cheese and bacon. The sandwich, having been semi-toasted in the wood oven, didn’t have the necessary crisp exterior or a wood-smoked flavor, although the N.Y. cheddar was appropriately gooey. Both came with local potato chips. The two sandwiches looked identical, although they tasted quite different.
Service was friendly, if a little harried. Definitely make a reservation. While we were there, patrons eventually filled every table, and some were turned away. Since the restaurant seats maybe 30 people, it can easily max out.
If you are in the Hell’s Kitchen area, close to Times Square, then The Marshal is a solid choice for a comfort food brunch. Don’t expect standout dishes, even if some of the culinary touches elevate the food from average to good. But for a local experience, our brunch was well worth it.
Debbie Lee Wesselmann