Cock and Bull Brunch is no Load of Baloney

When your Saturday morning dawns late, accompanied by a face-assaulting headache, puffy eyes and a stomach that writes checks its proverbial ass is pretty intent on cashing, brunch offers a ray of shimmering hope through the hangover cloud. If you want -- actually, if you need -- to eat the first meal of your day in a space just slightly brighter than a closet at an hour no earlier than noon, the Cock and Bull is the place to be.

The Lakewood pub (nay, institution) looks like it could've survived the Great London Fire of 1666, though the food 'n' booze is as fresh as whatever they're serving at the Uptown yuppie gastropub of the moment. Brunchers have the option of availing themselves of the full menu, plus specials -- salmon, burgers, cheese plates and the like -- but the affordable and diverse brunch offerings should help keep last night's liquor down just fine.

While the only real cure for a hangover is a lengthy and luxurious nap, a big, steaming plate of food pile works pretty well until you can figure out where you left your underwear and scrape together some change for a cab ride home from wherever it is you woke up. "But Andrea, you haven't yet explained what food pile is!" you're saying to yourself. I am saying to you, "Let me tell you about food pile."

Food pile is a pile of food. Nachos are a food pile. A loaded salad is a food pile. A hamburger is food pile. Anything where you can take a big stab with a fork or massive bite and end up with pretty much every flavor on your plate in your mouth at once is food pile. And that's what my Brooklyn Cadillac Fried Egg Sandwich was. Texas Toast, fried eggs, bacon, ham, maybe some avocado and sharp cheddar, heck I don't know. It was food pile! Every bite was satisfying and taste-packed.

Man o' the Hour, ever more dietarily discerning than me, opted for the huevos rancheros and looked like he was having a pretty good time with them, but I am not totally sure of this because I had two Bloody Marys and watching him construct fat, egg-filled rolls of salsa and tortilla goodness was making me dizzy. Please allow me to advise you: If you intend to have two Bloody Marys at the Cock and Bull, bring a designated driver. By 1 p.m., I was pretty well buzzed. Spicy and well-garnished with a salted glass, Cock and Bull 'Marys are nothing to sniff at and plenty to slurp up.

Cock and Bull prices are reasonable, which is nice considering how much money you probably spent at the bar last night (friend, if tequila shots sound like a good idea, tequila shots are the worst possible idea.) While the wait staff can be stretched if a big crowd comes in, they do their best to accommodate everyone -- our waitress even slipped our food order in before that of the giant group next to us. Food pile was promptly delivered and devoured in the soothing darkness of one of Lakewood's finest eating and drinking establishments. This Cock and Bull story is, indeed, no load of baloney.

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