Michael White's Altamarea Group owns many restaurants. Thirteen to be exact. Having worked at one of them, I can safely say (well, with perhaps a little bias) that his staff makes the best pasta in the country.
But you won't find tagliatelle Bolognese at all of his restaurants. No, at his cozy spot in Tribeca, The Butterfly (225 W. Broadway, 646-692-4943), you'll find all-American classics and comfort food: the kind of food I order when I'm not on a diet, and I want the world to know.
When I stopped into The Butterfly for brunch, it was full of casual, chic downtowners, many of whom were in gym clothes with strollers. I wasn't in gym clothes, but I was sporting my stretchy pants -- for good reason.
Faster than I could spew gossip from the weekend, our cheery waitress zoomed to the table with a plate of brunch corn dogs. Simultaneously light and airy, and artery-clogging, they were so satisfying, especially when dunked in the mixture of syrup and butter on the side.
Then came the corned beef hash with massive hunks of corned beef tossed into a plate of browned potatoes and caramelized onions. Topped with sunny-side eggs, it was a diner special made even more special with TLC and quality ingredients.
My Southern dining partner told me the fried chicken was up to snuff, while the biscuits were soft, hot and buttery. The Nutella French toast my neighbor was eating also looked delicious.
To pair with our meal, we enjoyed a special bellini topped with Vitamin C crystals (for health?), but you'll also find Whiskey Sours, Palomas and a refreshing Tom Collins daily on the menu.
While this Michael White establishment didn't have me downing the usual charcuterie, pasta and cheese, it still had me wishing for a crane to lift me to my bed -- in the best possible way.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City and writes a bi-weekly column for amNewYork.