For many countries around the world, Sunday is known as the day of rest. In New York City, “rest” on a Sunday translates to that small window of opportunity in the week to discover all the city has to offer. For Sunday in Brooklyn founders and long-time Brooklyn residents, Adam Landsman, Todd Enany, and Jaime Young, Sundays would offer respite at the end of a long work week, “a day to celebrate the city, the food and beverage industry, and family and friends.”
Finding joy in exploring all the culinary riches of Brooklyn, they realized they wanted to offer the same experience to others with their own interpretation of the classic, neighborhood restaurant. With Landsman and Enany carrying ample restaurant experience as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Operations, respectively, at Major Food Group, and Chef Jaime Young having refined his culinary expertise over three years as Chef de Cuisine at two-Michelin-starred Atera, the fit seemed natural and so, Sunday in Brooklyn was born.
The three-story, red-brick building with black-trimmed windows sits on a quiet Brooklyn corner, its interior offering all that New Yorkers crave on this restful day of the week. With unfinished low ceilings and cozy leather booths overlooking a solid, walnut bar and old-fashioned furnace, Sunday in Brooklyn is reminiscent of a country cabin, carrying all the same warmth as the Sunday memories of your childhood. Yet, this inviting neighborhood joint remains urban chic with its marble tabletops, white walls, and geometric planters and shelving. The intimate space is cozy but not to be underestimated. On the main floor, the espresso bar and market area across from the open kitchen offer takeout drinks, fresh pastries, and homemade provisions, providing guests with the opportunity to recreate their Sunday in Brooklyn experience at home. The second floor features a spacious dining room; equal parts rustic and bohemian with its potted palms and hanging fur rugs, while the third floor houses a private dining room with skylights and a fireplace. In the summer, the open kitchen extends outdoors and a rooftop garden is adorned with strings of hanging lights.
In less than two years since its opening, Sunday in Brooklyn has quickly established itself as one of the city’s most coveted brunch spots. With its fluffy brown butter pancakes and modern American sandwiches, New Yorkers are happy to wait hours for the popular Egg & Sausage with cheddar and gochujang aioli. Additionally, a more underrated treasure of Brooklyn, is Sunday in Brooklyn’s dinner menu; where soulful American flavors with a modern flare, that initially won over New York City’s brunch crowd, are applied to Chef Young’s evening creations.
With ingredients sourced from the New York tristate area, each dish is striking for its freshness, only further accentuating the celebration of all things American. The traditional crouton, often a bland addition to a typical Caesar salad, here offers texture to a colorful Winter Greens Salad with crispy garlic and walnut Dijon. The use of nuts is prevalent throughout the menu as Young tells me he finds nut butters to be more flavorful and easily digestible than their dairy counterparts. Perhaps this is his secret to making every dish so layered in complexity and rich without becoming overly heavy.
Smoked soy accentuates a tender cut of roasted hake with crispy Brussels sprouts and a cocoa-chili butter reminiscent of a spicy Mexican mole. The Scallop Crudo drizzled in white sesame butter is paired with delicate enoki mushrooms and balanced with sweet yuzu and green apple. Dishes are further elevated by the seasonal nature of the menu, enabling Sunday in Brooklyn to ensure every ingredient has the utmost potential to shine.
In an industry where ‘local’ and ‘farm-to-table’ have become buzzwords loosely used by restaurants to attract clientele, it is rare to find a chef that is wholeheartedly passionate about sustainability. For Chef Young, the dining experience provides an opportunity to educate others on the food production process. Sunday in Brooklyn’s deep relationships with local farmers and producers is not only motivated by a desire to deliver the finest ingredients, but also to build consciousness around where the food on the plate originates. By recognizing that the exceptional quality of each bite can be partially attributed to the fact that the ingredient traveled a short distance from a nearby farm, diners become aware of the benefits of eating local. The kitchen’s dedication to maintaining a low-waste ethos is also more than a marketing strategy as they are constantly developing innovative ways to reuse ingredients.
While Sunday in Brooklyn has already set the standard for the perfect New York Sunday brunch, the restaurant is on its way to setting the bar for what the new American neighborhood restaurant can look like. No longer does it simply serve as a convening spot for the local community, Sunday in Brooklyn demonstrates that the neighborhood restaurant can offer an unpretentious, fine-dining experience while remaining true to the all-American classics. They show us that the modern neighborhood restaurant is one that supports the livelihoods of our further-off neighbors on rural farms and fisheries, and is committed to reducing waste to ensure that future generations can enjoy Sundays in Brooklyn.
We caught up with the three founders to find out more about the restaurant’s early beginnings, their sources of culinary inspiration and of course, how they like to spend their Sundays in Brooklyn.
How did the three of you come to meet and what prompted you to create Sunday in Brooklyn together?
Adam Landsman: Jaime and I met at Grayz almost 10 years ago, and Todd and I met at EMM Group 8 years ago. Jaime had just left Atera to pursue his own venture. At that time, Todd and I were working at Major Food Group but we were thinking we wanted to do something in our neighborhood that we felt was missing. After running into Jaime at the Union Square Greenmarket, our values aligned and we decided to start the conversation.
What are the secrets to your successful collaboration?
AL: Trusting each other, listening to each other’s feedback, as well as the feedback from our guests.
Todd Enany: I also think that our experiences and work history are quite diverse. We each bring a different perspective of the industry to the table. The dynamic we have as a team truly creates something pretty unique.
What was your favorite neighborhood restaurant growing up?
AL: I didn’t really grow up having family dinners or eating good food. It was mostly cereal, candy bars, and the occasional fast food run. Usually, I would just grab something from the cupboard. My first restaurant was Ledo’s Pizza–I ate there a lot.
TE: My parents took us to this small Mexican restaurant, Panchos, in Long Beach, California (where I grew up) on special occasions. It was a family-owned business, and the owners worked their butts off. The food was authentic, as was the staff. They always remembered us and made us feel at home.
Jaime Young: Every weekend my parents took my sister and I to a local luncheonette in Long Island. The food was your typical luncheonette fare, but it was prepared by some interesting people. Everyone there was a character! It was special in that everyone from the neighborhood knew each other. It was a close community that shared simple food and conversation.
Do you still find time to explore the city as a trio? If so, what are some of your favorite hot spots?
AL: We try to take one day off together so we can explore a bit more. We have a weekly meeting at Reynard, which we like a lot. We’re also just big fans of Williamsburg, in general, so spots like Llama Inn, The Four Horsemen… Jaime loves the hot chicken at The Commodore. We all love what Fredrik [Berselius] is doing at Aska, but don’t have the opportunity to go there as much as we’d like. The Richardson has a lot of meaning to us–lots of days and nights spent there.
What does a typical Sunday look like for each of you?
AL: Today it’s very different! Sundays are crazy at the restaurant. Our Sundays are spent making sure our guests have the experience we always hoped to have on Sundays when we used to be off!
What are the sources of inspiration for your menu?
JY: My inspiration comes from my team and from what’s available. We work with some great purveyors that source the best of the season and what’s local.
How do you balance making the menu approachable and in line with your “neighborhood restaurant” concept, while keeping dishes inventive and modern?
JY: For me, it comes from utilizing my own flavor memories and experiences and building concepts through those memories. That’s what helps me to connect to people and that is usually where we start. Following that idea, we apply small twists and techniques that modernize and/or elevate those experiences.
Since the menu is seasonally-driven, what ingredients are you most looking forward to working with this spring?
JY: Anything green! I love spring greens–also, any and all spring alliums.
What are some of the ways that Sunday In Brooklyn executes a low-waste ethos?
AL: The cross-utilization of product! For example, our bar will juice lemons and limes and our kitchen will dehydrate the spent fruit and grate that onto the food for citrus. Right now, our bar is talking about doing an infusion with spent banana peels. There is a lot of collaboration between the different departments. One man’s trash, you know?
What motivated you to start integrating practices that support sustainability in your kitchen?
JY: I think as chefs we have the opportunity to influence how people view food and how they eat. Practicing seasonal cooking, being aware of how we can minimize waste and utilize the entirety of an ingredient is an important part of our philosophy. The impact on the environment based on the choices we make are motivators for us. Sourcing from producers that care about how they grow or raise their animals has a huge impact on flavor. All of these factors are motivators to choose and buy from sustainable sources.
Article and photography by Anna Haines