Alvin & Friends is located in the heart of downtown New Rochelle, NY. It is known for it’s live jazz music scene and lively atmosphere. The main entrance leads you into the bar area where a beautiful baby grand welcomes you. The bar is a large open space that leads into the spacious dining room, and then eventually into the hidden back room. This back room is where we had the pleasure of brunching and yet, we had no idea it was even there! Alvin & Friends specializes in Southern and Caribbean inspired food.
The Bloody Mary
At first glance, The Bloody Mary at Alvin & Friends appeared to be thin, which is usually a bad sign. However, its thin viscosity was not a problem and the Bloody Mary turned out to be very, very good. It was well seasoned, slightly briny, with a low to medium heat level. Local Tasters found the Bloody Mary extremely enjoyable. It is well priced at $8.00 each.
The Brunch Scene
Ambiance does’t happen by itself. It must be created and Alvin & Friends is one of the only restaurants that seems to understand this. It is clear that owner, Alvin Clayton, cares about his guests and works hard to create an ambiance for them. The ambiance is created by the colorful artwork that lines the walls, all or most painted by Alvin himself, combined with the live jazz during brunch, and the personal touch of Alvin coming by each table to say hello. His warm and welcoming personality makes you want to become Alvin’s best friend! Brunch is suited for most groups of people including couples, families and friends. It is not suited for children who can’t sit still, as most guests are there to relax and enjoy cocktails and brunch. Alvin & Friends gets a big, shiny, gold star for brunch ambiance.
Good to Know
Bunch is served on Saturday from 11:30am to 2:00pm and Sunday 11:30am to 3:30pm. Outside of Brunch, there is always something fun going on at Alvin & Friends including a wide variety of talented musical guests and Trivia Night! Be sure to check out their calendar.
All about the Eats
The menu at Alvin & Friends is rooted in southern cuisine, making it difficult to choose because everything looks tempting on the menu! Some of the items that caught our hungry eyes were fried green tomatoes with rum-cured salmon gravlax served with soft baked eggs, open face grilled chicken apple sausage sandwich with brie, Creole mustard aioli and of course, classic chicken & waffles.
Ultimately, we decided on the Caribbean style eggs benedict which came with jerk hollandaise and includes a choice of side salad or home fries and the Mo’ bay omelet with jerk shrimp sweet plantain, peppers and onions. For a little extra indulgence, we ordered sides of grits and sausage for the table to share.
We were three Local Tasters on this particular occasion and shared everything. Although the eggs benedict were cooked well, we missed having either a meat, fish or vegetable layer in-between the bread base and the egg. The egg itself lacked a little flavor and an organic, farm fresh egg would elevate this dish.
The Mo’ bay omelet was cooked very well, but also lacked seasoning and had an overwhelming amount of somewhat raw peppers while an underwhelming about of shrimp. It was also unfortunately, a very watery omelette from the vegetables. This is any easy fix. I would recommend sautéing the vegetables in advance with some added seasoning, draining, and then adding to the omelette for cooking.
The home fries were THE BEST home fries ever! The unexpected sweet potato version of classic home fries were sweet, savory and cooked to perfection. You rarely see sweet potatoes mixed with peppers and onions and the combination is delectable and craveable.
Also great, were the sides of sausage and cheesy grits. They were cooked perfectly and we couldn’t get enough.
The Final Say
Local Tasters really enjoyed Alvin & Friends. The Bloody Mary, the friendly staff, and welcoming atmosphere all contribute to a great Brunch experience. What takes Alvin & Friends over the top is the live music (be sure to call ahead and confirm music) and the personal greeting from Alvin himself. While we saw some room for improvement in the main dishes, we also would certainly not call the food disappointing. It was very good with some elements best described as outstanding. All and all, the final say from Local Taste is a solid Thumbs Up, and we look forward to returning to Alvin & Friends, and not just for brunch.