Usher in a taste of the South with brunch at The Pink Teacup

The title of this post features a play on words. You won’t be able to know yet what that play on words entails, but I’ll give you a clue:

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Ok, I’ve given it all away but first the doorway:

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Welcome to The Pink Teacup. Located on Grove St. between Bleeker and Bedford in The West Village, The Pink Teacup (I’m taking this from its website): “Brings the best in Southern cuisine to this side of the Eastern US border.” (I’m not sure I understand that geographically, but I do understand it thematically.)

To test the validity of their claim, though, I brought along with me two Southern food experts: Stella R. and Mark B. both from Tennessee.

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We waited outside about 15 minutes for a table. The people in line were pretty jovial and good-spirited. During this period, we studied the menu (this was Sunday, by the way, so we were there for Sunday brunch) and made some significant choices regarding what we would order.

I decided, then and there, that no matter what I was going to order a sweet tea. It’s been a long time since I had sweet tea. So when we were sat (SEATED SEATED, ok, I’m working on it) I ordered a glass.

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It was terrific. So far, so good.

My big choice, as far as food went, was between blueberry pancakes and bacon OR fried chicken with apple fritters. Since you can get pancakes anywhere, really, I settled on fried chicken and apple fritters, as did Mark. Stella, the vegetarian, stayed vegetarian and ordered pecan pancakes for herself.

Then we waited a long time and this is where we can usher in the Usher reference. Mark said rather casually to Stella: “Do you know the singer Usher?”

“Yes,” said Stella.

“He’s sitting right there.”

I swivelled around and sure enough, there he was, in a booth in the back. I mean, I’ll confess, I don’t know anything about Usher but I did sort of recognize him. At one point, they turned on Usher music and Mark was embarassed for him. Coincidentally (or because of it?) Usher left while his song was playing. We saw the waitress pick up the cash and the check and follow him outside but I’m not sure what their exchange was like. I do know a little girl ran out after him and she came back, beaming, holding an autograph.

As for our food, it took a long time to come. When it did come, Stella’s pancakes had a fried chicken sitting on top of them. The waiter thought she’d ordered pancakes with fried chicken and she had to ask them to make the pancakes again because the pancakes were contaminated. It’s an unfortuante situation, but what are you going to do?

But here’s my fried chicken and apple fritters:

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Ah, health. Who says fried food’s bad for you? Everyone. Ok, well if fried food’s bad I don’t want to be good!

This chicken was terrif. Our waiter had asked us if we wanted white meat or dark meat and I initially ordered white meat but when he explained that dark meat is leg and thigh, I quickly switched to dark. I like a chicken leg more than any other part, really. It’s the most fun to eat.

Mark, Southern expert #1, agreed with my assessment of “terrif” and said, “This chicken IS really good.” As were the apple fritters.

Stella really liked her pancakes, even if they took a long time to come out. We also ordered a side of biscuits:

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Stella and Mark believed that these came from a can and I put up a fight, defending the Pink Tea Cup’s honor. If anything, the biscuits were really buttery. Tasting them, there was a slight hint of coming-from-a-canness but that’s a rough thing to accuse them of, and we don’t really know, do we? Or maybe that’s why Usher left?

I really like that The Pink Teacup exists and especially that it’s in Greenwich Village. As I make my way around New York for this site, I keep coming back to The Village and falling in love. I think all of my favorite restaurants are in the same 5 mile radius. Babbo, Spotted Pig, Blue Ribbon, Magnolia Bakery, Pearl Oyster Bar, Mary’s Fish Camp, Snack Taverna, Shopsin’s, Joe’s pizza, Joe coffee, Cones, John’s (more pizza), and still so many places I haven’t tried like August and this paella place that looks pricey but great. Why do I live in Chelsea again?

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