My homegirl Kimmy was visiting NYC this weekend and wanted to meet up, so I suggested we hit up Miss Lily’s in Greenwich Village, at the corner of West Houston and Sullivan streets, for brunch.
For those who are unfamiliar, Miss Lily’s is, according to its website, a “Jamaican-style diner” that culls “from the diverse roots of Jamaican cuisine,” with a menu that offers “modern renditions of island specialties like jerk chicken, escovitch fish, oxtail and curried goat.”
Here’s my definition: Miss Lily’s is a hip spot that serves good-ass food and is populated by beautiful people — that includes the patrons and the staff.
I arrived before Kimmy (we both had subway issues because, as you all know, the MTA is a piece of shit), so the hostess Dejah set me up at the bar while I waited for our table to be ready.
While perusing the menu, I ordered the “One Love” Bellini, a delicious concoction that’s a mixture of sparkling wine with orange and passion fruit juices. Um, yum.
Soon the table was ready, and although Kimmy still had yet to arrive, I was seated and left in the capable hands of Maya, our server. She made sure to keep the Bellinis coming while I waited for my friend.
The spot’s decor is inspired by the diners, fast-food spots, beauty salons, record stores, and bakeries that cater to the West Indian diaspora, and features vinyl booths and walls covered with album covers that span more than 50 years of Jamaican music history. It gives off an authentic and welcoming vibe, and it gives you an inkling as to the type of experience you’re about to have.
Soon thereafter, Kimmy showed up, and after a bit of catching up, we ordered our meals. Since I had time to scrutinize the menu, I already knew what I wanted. When Kimmy announced her choice, however, I was shocked — not by what she ordered, but why.
You see, Kimmy is a native Floridian, and she opted for the jerk chicken. (Delicious, I might add.) But she then revealed to me that she’d never had jerk chicken before. I didn’t question this too much, but I did find it quite curious that a woman who was raised in Florida had never indulged in that particular Caribbean dish. I always assumed eating Jamaican food was de rigueur no matter where in Florida you grew up. Alas, I was proven wrong.
So, yeah, Kimmy ordered the jerk chicken. I, however, had a taste for eggs, and so I ordered the soft scramble with salmon.
As I gulped down more Bellinis and Kimmy sipped plain orange juice (she doesn’t drink), we continued to make small talk and catch up. That’s why I was so surprised at how quickly our food came out. Look, the truth is, most brunch spots take forever to bring out the entree. Miss Lily’s had out meals out to us in record time.
Kimmy’s order was a jerk grilled half-chicken with a side of rice and peas, cucumbers, and mango chutney. As Kimmy learned, the jerk spices and the chutney provide just the right balance of heat and sweet. She loved it.
As for me, I dug my soft-scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and shaved red onions, plus breakfast potatoes and toast. The eggs were perfectly cooked, and there was more than enough salmon in the scramble.
Son. I was like Emma Stone in Easy A.
Clearly, Kimmy and I had a great time. The food was on point, and the service was impeccable. Once again, I must give kudos to Dejah and Maya for making brunch such a pleasant experience. Those ladies are amazing, yo.
Further, everything was reasonably priced, or at least as reasonable as can be expected for a NYC brunch. I went with the prix fixe option, which gave me two hours of unlimited tasty “One Love” Bellinis with my meal for only $35. Score!
Miss Lily’s calls itself “an island vacation in the middle of a busy cosmopolitan city,” and y’know, that’s not too far from the truth. Great food, great people, great music (oh the soundtrack was pretty damn awesome), great time. I highly recommend it.
Miss Lily’s Soho, 132 W. Houston St., at Sullivan St.; 212.812.1482, MissLilys.com