If Alexander Hamilton were alive in 2012, he would totally hang out at The Federal Food, Drink, and Provisions. Not because chef Cesar Zapata supports the Jay Treaty -- kind of a moot point these days, so we didn't ask -- but because the joint is the future gastropub patriots would have gone nuts over if it traveled to 1790 in a Dolorean: it's got a liberal post-colonial application of cotton ticking, DIY wood paneling, and a farm-fresh salute to American fare served in delightfully uncommon ways.
The surprising Upper East Side shopping plaza spot has made a name for itself with distinctive dinner fare like the Jar-O-Duck and Wild Boar Sausage and Buffalo-Style Pig Wings, but its owners are ready to spread their (Bald Eagle) wings: Sunday brunch service was introduced two weeks ago, and like dinner, it doesn't disappoint.
Wabbit and Waffles combines crunchy and slightly sweet with a rabbit leg nestled against a waffle firm enough to meet it with kumquat thyme butter and smoked maple syrup; pecan sticky buns were the right and sinful amount of doughy; and grits were topped with exotic mushrooms and corn. Being avowed sausage lovers, we had to try the Jackalope Benedict with its rabbit and venison sausage and 2 poached eggs on a biscuit, and loved every savory bit (in fact, we've never had eggs so perfectly poached anywhere else on earth).
The famous Jar-O-Duck -- slow-cooked Hudson Valley bird served alongside candied sweet potato and charred fluff -- is also along for brunch, as is a heaping plate of delicious French Toast Bananas Foster. The menu is rounded out with items like steak and eggs, watermelon radish salad, pot-o-mussels, pig ears, cornmeal flapjacks, apples and bacon, butternut squash, and so on -- not to mention a list of pastries like Cranberry-Lemon Scones, Double-Chocolate Bacon-Bourbon, Coconut Cream Pie, Gigi's Sweet-Potato Pie, and Thyme-Cornmeal Cookies -- and nothing we tried wasn't entirely note perfect.
As noted curmudgeon Lee Klein wrote in his glowing review of dinner, "When a cool neighborhood joint with great food opens, eat there." Check out The Federal's brunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- valet is $3 if the lot gets full, and there's no need for reservations for parties less than six.
Perhaps best of all: bottomless Mimosas for $14 a person. We know, we wish it happened Saturdays, too.