Stylized to within an inch of its life, The Breslin is a bar and restaurant built for hangovers and dares. Any place that features this many parts of the pig from the shoulder up seems to a non-pork eater as something of a fucking travesty. Headcheese, pig snout, blood sausage… Jesus, I just totally threw up my stomach lining. But that was probably because most of the time I’ve spent in here I’ve been so brutally hungover that when I read “boiled peanuts in pork fat” and “chicken liver parfait,” I almost passed out cold from absolute disgust. Luckily, the restaurant, even in the bright summer morning sun, is dark as a tomb and my green color didn’t disturb our waifish, tattooed, hipster waiter. Though I did see something on the brunch menu that involved absolutely no odd animal parts and intrigued me with its airy description that would hopefully tread lightly on my pounding head and hollow innards: a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich with bourbon and vanilla. I mean, shit, what could possibly go wrong?
But let’s back up. I sat at the Breslin bar the morning before this morning, drinking my first beer of the day. The bartenders were hipsters, no doubt, but also interested in chatting with me about their homemade, infused vodka and other spirits. They showed me bottles with shit floating in it that they planned to use in cocktails that I probably would never order. It was super low key and there was all sorts of baroque shit strewn across the walls to look at as they pulled another beer for me from one of the five beers on tap. The out-of-towners finally showed up, we threw our stuff in the tiny Sleep No More-looking Ace Hotel room upstairs and we realized our bunk had a wonky wheel. So instead of fixing it or wheeling in a new bunk, the fine folks working the front desk (and they really are the cat’s pajamas) upgraded us to a room twice the size of my first NYC apartment (see that cow painting thing?) that included a record player and a cool vintage fridge. Then we headed out for an entire day of debauchery, came back completely hammered, the guys from out of town cut ‘n’ scratched on the turntable (as did probably every dude who inhabited the room prior) and I listened to my buddy snore all night.
So then fast forward to the next morning as I skipped by the steel cut oatmeal and pig parts on the brunch menu and spied what is essentially and Elvis sandwich! And hot damn if that thing wasn’t the perfect cure for a night that I semi-remember. The Breslin provides a pretty unique experience in the scheme of things, so if and when those cousins from Kansas come into town and ask for the “New York Experience,” bring them here, get them a stiff drink and make them order some weird shit off the bizarre menu and they’ll go home crowing about how it just beats the crap out of the anything they have just about anywhere else.