03/30/2012 09:19 am ET Updated Apr 06, 2012

The Federal Does Brunch: Wabbits And Waffles, Jackalope Benedict Highlight New Sunday Morning Fare (PHOTOS)

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.



Brunch At The Federal