It’s like Christmas all year long at this place. I’m not sure why this is exactly, other than the feeling of being surrounded by wreathes and whatnot. The joint also tends to smell of cinnamon and coffee and syrup and toasty things. Ducking in out of the cold in this semi-subterannean space is both a warming and frustrating experience. There’s something cozy about the place–its sounds and smells and generally tight quarters–but there’s also the matter of standing there for what seems like years, trying to avoid waitresses, hosts, patrons and busboys while your name gets no closer to the top of the list. We stood there as we swore they gave away our table for four several hundred times. Again, the atmosphere was pleasant, if not somewhat chaotic, and we eventually had our name called just as I was about to steal a pancake off some unsuspecting Yuppie’s plate. We whirled our way around the wood space, passing tens of youngish women in long, dark coats and expensive hairdos, and finally arrived at our funky, little table. The brunch menu is relatively limited, and considering I don’t eat warm fruit or swine, my choice was basically limited to the chocolate chip pancakes (twist my arm). That’s a hard one to mess up, honestly, and they didn’t disappoint. The rest of our time there was very nice and relaxing, and the others in my party looked pretty well satisfied. Brunch places in Manhattan can be treacherous on weekends, and Danal is no exception, but if you’re able to find a time where the whole of the 300K+-a-year crowd hasn’t decided to descend upon this place, you too will go back to your one-bedroom box with the feeling of the holidays (and chocolate chip pancakes) in your heart.[MF]