Flakey, doughy, fluffy, gluten-filled perfection—or, in a word, biscuits. But not all biscuits are created equal, of course. Some are flat and dense, some fluffier, seeking to scrape the skies. Whatever your predilection, the southern staple populates many a brunch menu, and in diverse forms. Plus, the bagel of the South (or are bagels the biscuits of the North?), transforms into a rich meal when paired with gravy, the Bonnie and Clyde of brunch, if you will.
Luckily, Brooklyn has many establishments that put delicious spins on biscuits and gravy (Think: gravy infused with sage) to create comfort food of the highest order. The best pairings know how to take a simple recipe born of economic necessity and innovate without betraying the simplicity of the dish. From the bonafide biscuit artists at Beehive Oven to robust vegan offerings, we believe Edna Lewis, whose biscuits once elicited “purrs” from Truman Capote, would approve.
This beloved Prospect Heights spot excels in everything from ambience to cocktails, but let’s zoom in on those house-made biscuits. Executive Chef Martha Cavarretta bakes them fresh on Saturday and Sunday mornings for brunch. They’re a treat unto themselves, but peppery pork gravy and pork sage elevates them with flavor that doesn’t overpower. It is a classic Southern gravy—creamy, tasty, and very filling. True to its name, the sunny space buzzes with happy vibes. Those hankering to feel more southern can do so in the form of their standout brunch cocktail the Touch Me Not, a refreshing combination of Gordon’s gin, St. Germain, lime juice, fresh cucumber, orange flower water.
It’s no secret that everything about Cafe Ghia is wonderful, try going around any normal brunch hour and you’ll see this Bushwick spot has captured many hearts. A place that offers two types of biscuits and gravy is worthy of such adulation. For the carnivores there’s a hyper rich bacon and mushroom gravy, while those seeking something lighter can opt for just plain mushroom. This is not to suggest the latter is plain, and Ghia’s take on the dish stands out for its multilayered, more nuanced gravy. Plus, the biscuits themselves are heavy, dense drops from heaven, and served with a choice of bacon or seasonal vegetable.
Next to but not overshadowed by the BQE, Veksler’s wisely places their Louisiana biscuits and gravy in the “not lighter” section of the brunch menu. Cheddar and slab bacon biscuits are homemade every morning, yielding a warm and doughy inside. These are topped with eggs then smothered with house made white gravy and crumble sausage. Rob Veksler suggests trying yours with a cold pilsner, a concept we stand behind. The space is as much of a draw for its food as it is for its homey, welcoming spirit. Pro-tip: Veksler’s also delivers in case you want your biscuits and gravy in bed.
The Brooklyn Star
Biscuits and gravy fit right in with Brooklyn Star’s decadent, southern-inspired brunch menu. Made from sausage gravy and served in their standard heaping portions, Brooklyn Star’s biscuits and gravy are not for the faint of heart. Their buttermilk biscuits are a standout on their own for balancing density with flakiness. What pushes this over the top (or edge, depending on how you feel about food comas) are the scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. It follows that chef-owner Joaquin Baca hails from Texas, where things are allegedly bigger and one might argue, better.
Beehive Oven Biscuit Cafe
Hailing from Texas, Chef Treva Chadwell knows biscuits. Her recipe combines higher-end ingredients with the legacy of her foremothers. Beehive Oven is a utopia for biscuit lovers, and their unique takes on biscuits and gravy do not disappoint. The Texas Hot Brown, an open faced biscuit with turkey, bacon, and sliced tomato topped with sausage gravy manages to combine such hearty items without overwhelming. Sausage gravy is flavorful without falling prey to being over-salted, which also applies to their biscuits. Props to Beehive Oven for creating biscuits that are flatter and dense while maintaining that doughy interior.
Pies N Thighs
One simply does not leave Pies N Thighs hungry. The popular purveyor of fried chicken takes southern cooking seriously, which naturally extends to the biscuits and gravy. Comically large buttermilk biscuits are smothered with a house made sausage gravy. It’s a hot, underrated contender to their chicken biscuit sandwich. The gravy is perfect and manages not to fall into the trappings of being overly salted. PS: you can also order sausage gravy as a side dish here.
Crown Heights’ purveyors of coffee and breakfast absolutely kill the biscuits and gravy game. With gravy made from ground Bison, we’ve never had anything quite like it. Homemade biscuits are heavenly, and the dish rivals some biscuits and gravy made in the South. Doughy on the inside without falling prey to over-fluffliness, they absorb the gravy in a gesture of utter symbiosis. It helps that Lazy Ibis has a welcoming vibe befitting the dish.
North Brooklyn’s favorite health spot churns out all manner of unexpected vegan dishes, from benedict to their biscuits and gravy. “Even non Vegan’s love it” consistently arises when one brings up Champs. The fact that they take a food item whose primary ingredient is butter and whip up something gooey, doughy and delicious, gives the phrase “i can’t believe it’s not butter” a higher meaning. Served with soysage, fresh sage and home fries, this is the closest approximation of guilt free and delicious we’ve tried.
All photos by Angela Datre.