On a chilly morning in Boulder it’s not the Flatirons that get us out of bed but a stack of fluffy pancakes. The only trek worth troubling the snow leads us to Rosetta Hall, a European-style food hall opened in October 2019 in the heart of downtown. Cozy with 10 restaurants and two bars, Rosetta is home to the best locally sourced eggs benedict and Colorado smoked trout bagel this side of the Mississippi.
Brunch at Rosetta Hall’s mainstay breakfast joint Brooklyn Breakfast offers a small yet intentional menu that honors and elevates nothing but the classics. Blooming with seasonal produce and savory local meats, Brooklyn Breakfast is a reminder that a simple brunch can be sacred. (Add a fresh-squeezed brunch cocktail and it’s transcendental.)
The protector of the menu is Executive Chef Joseph Lee; a seasoned cook who cut his teeth at the iconic Krupa Grocery in Brooklyn before venturing westward. Lee isn’t trying to shake up the brunch scene with hubristic breakfast burgers and menus the length of CVS receipts. He humbly perfects the classics.
“Pancakes and syrup, eggs, toaster, farmer’s breakfast with really nice bacon,” Lee says, “But we use high-quality ingredients, really well executed. When interviewing chefs, all we ask is ‘can you make me a French omelet?’ Never take for granted the technique required to cook the perfect egg.”
Lee is anything but the egotistical chef we’ve come to expect from reality tv. He is humble and precise, a patron of the art of eggs and pancakes, going so far as to put the credit of taste on local farmers that provide him with superb seasonal ingredients.
Lee believes the greatest food cultures of all time thrived by eating things that were local and in season. He calls Boulder’s local farmers “magicians” with eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumber, then closes the curtain on his own talent allowing the plates to do the charming.
The magic of Brooklyn Breakfast extends far beyond the ingredients and culinary talent, into the meal itself. “I’ve always seen brunch as a really social time,” Lee says. "People come in with a group of friends for mimosas and a nice breakfast, hang out for hours, and celebrate being together. Right now, we need that.”
During snowstorms and distancing, tired and grey mornings, when you need the classic beauty of a plate long-loved and perfected, Lee and his team are there. With a stack of fluffy pancakes, rich coffee, and a place to feel warm with wonder.
What Do You Recommend?
Lee’s brunch favorites include the classic pancake, “really light, tall, and fluffy with housemade blueberry maple syrup.” Or if you’re hankering for a savory dish, order the smoked trout sandwish. Local bagels, local greens, eggs sunny side up, “some of the best products I’ve seen here or in New York,” Lee says.
What Should Never Be On a Brunch Menu:
“I’ve always seen these really big sloppy enormous burgers on brunch menus. But throwing an egg on it doesn’t deem it brunch-worthy.”