12 Chairs Cafe really embodies everything I want in a restaurant. It hits on all cylinders of food, service, and ambiance. Their original location is a tiny storefront in Soho which has been around for over 10 years. They opened a second location in Wiliamsburg a few years ago which is my preferred location (pictured above).
The atmosphere at both locations is relaxed and comfortable. Their Brooklyn location is open and airy with tons of natural light. The space is very comfortable and surprisingly spacious for a New York restaurant which is typically jam packed with tables. Service is sweet and casual. They have a killer cocktail list with a ton of inventive options to choose from.
The menu has all of the Mediterranean classics that you would expect. They aren’t pushing the barriers of creativity here but no one needs that to be the case. The menu is huge and they do great versions of the comfort food you love from that part of the world. If you want to share, check out the grape leaves, baladi eggplant, and any of the hummus spreads. I am particularly critical of falafel after having eaten them on every corner in Israel. Theirs are crunch and packed with flavor. For brunch I go with either the Israeli breakfast or the shakshuka. Typically I find lamb burgers to be dry but their version is moist and topped with salty feta. This is the kind of food that is packed with veggies, good for you, and also super filling. Here’s what we had:
Israeli Guacamole - served with toasted pita
Hummus Falafel - served with warm pita bread and Israeli pickles
Shakshuka - two eggs poached in a spicy Moroccan tomato sauce; served with Israeli salad
Israeli Breakfast - two eggs any style served with chopped Israeli salad, assorted cheeses and dips, includes coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice
French Toast - challah bread; served with fresh fruit and cinnamon
Lamb Burger - ground lamb meat topped with feta cheese, red onions, Israeli pickle and spicy mayo; served with long cut home fries
Photo: From the Grapevine
Address: 56 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012