Jennifer and I came upon The Usual on the way to go running in Prospect Park (no--we didn't eat instead of run), and made note for brunch. We returned later with big appetites, and found a table for two right away.
The atmosphere is casual, but doesn't have squeaky plastic booths but rather cafe style seating. The menu is pretty classic diner, though, with lots of options. We did what we do best in brunch situations: ordered something sweet, ordered something savory, and split them between us. Above you see the waffle with strawberries, and below an omelet with turkey sausage, onion and cheese with home fries and toast. Prices are standard, our bill came to about $19 with all this and hot tea.
The waffle wasn't unusual or over-the-top, but well done. It was crisp on the outside, pillowy and chewy on the inside, and the strawberries were fresh. The omelet was also good, not as fluffy as it could be, but good with a good portion of tasty toppings mixed in. The homefries weren't my favorite-- I like them crispy-- but not bad, either. The portions were appropriate, especially since we were so hungry. We ate it all, but were full afterwards. All-in-all it was a solid brunch.
I would recommend this place as a solid brunch spot in Prospect Heights if you live in or are visiting the area. Nothing spectacular, but still pretty delicious and sometimes nothing will do but some eggs and a waffle. Nice place to reverse your calorie burn after a run. -Laurel
Yes, we ran. I was unbelievably proud of myself. We decided in that run to start training for mini-marathons. Since that day, Laurel has continued to run, and I've...not. But here I pledge myself to start running for realz.
Ok, now that that's out of the way. Exercise really does burn calories to give way to starvation, and while The Usual isn't that mind blowing, the food is definitely filling, tasty and cheap. Our waffle was sweet and flaky, just like a belgian waffle should be, and the omelet wasn't spectacular, but the sausage inside was the perfect counterpart to the onions and cheese. And unlike my dining companion, I love home fries soft or crispy or pretty much any way (I love potatoes), but these potatoes lacked a certain pizazz. Nothing ketchup and salt won't solve, but my favorite homefries are those that don't need any extras.
The Usual is cute inside, and while the place is very diner-y menu wise, but it's more reminiscent of a down home local family joint, rather than the diner from Seinfeld, which had more of a ... dirty feel (is it just me that thinks that?)
Either way - if you're ever around going for a run, you should stop by. Or if you live somewhere close, you should make it your place to hang. Or if you have to pee, you should check out the tiny bathroom. - JenniferAddress: 637 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn
Payment: Cash, Cards
Take Out: Yes
Open Late: No
Bar/Happy Hour: No