The Flatiron Pan-Asian has been catering to a largely European nightlife crowd since its opening in 2009. While its well-heeled clientele has paid the rent on the sprawling space, Pranna has not quite generated the necessary buzz to land on every New Yorker’s must list. Pranna aims to expand its base with a Saturday brunch party, and in late May hosted a press brunch to help get the word out. Given that the event had been planned for weeks, there is no explanation – and no excuse – for the mind-bogglingly slow service and staff disorganization at the brunch.
“Mad Brunch” at Pranna is intended to build a loyal following of daytime drinkers and dancers shunned by the exclusivity (and prohibitive prices) of The Oak Room or Bagatelle. At Pranna, $28 will buy you unlimited brunch cocktails and a choice of entrée from the versatile menu. The Asian Omelette – cilantro, mushroom, Thai bird chilies and goat cheese – had flavors less disproportionate than they sounded, but the eggs were a little dry and rubbery. But the curried potatoes and cauliflower – which accompanies some breakfast dishes and is offered as a separate side for $6 – was absolutely delicious, and will be the first thing we order if we ever go back.
The Seven Spiced Seared Tuna Salad was perfectly tasty, but those who do not like their tuna overcooked should beware. Knowing that tuna is traditionally served rare to medium rare, we requested that it be cooked slightly closer to medium, and it arrived more than well done. (We didn’t mind, but another table who did not request theirs overcooked did). The asparagus was perfectly grilled and nicely complemented the dish.
It required our dedicated effort (and more than twice the time we planned on for brunch) to take advantage of the free brunch cocktails. Our first round of drinks did not arrive until a full 30 minutes after we were seated, and our last round did not arrive until our meals (who also took their time getting to the table) had been finished.
As the day pressed on, more and more gaggles of attractive people (mostly women) arrived looking camera-ready and settled in for what was sure to be a long afternoon. Because the $28 Mad Brunch menu is such a good deal, we may come back one day when we are in the neighborhood and have plenty of time to kill.
Brunch at Pranna – $28