Last year, we called out Forbes Traveler for fumbling their New York choices on a list of America’s best brunches. Given another shot for 2008, Forbes has screwed the pooch yet again this year. Of last year's four honored restaurants, they cut Cookshop and Prune — you know, the places actual New Yorkers might go — so only Norma’s and Balthazar remain this year. According to Forbes, Norma’s has “redefined brunch” — we assume by marking up their eggs to four figures — while Balthazar is better than a Parisian bistro because of their no-smoking policy. Really? Norma’s isn’t even the best place to eat in the Le Parker Meridien (burgers, anyone?), and Balthazar at brunch is full of braying ladies who woke up early to eat there.
Brunch is utilitarian; that’s why the menus are the same everywhere you go. Until Forbes comes up with a list of which brunches are best for a queasy stomach or to see someone in the cold light of day, we’ll stick to nursing our hangover at a quiet, half-empty location.