Meb Byrne


In american, food, greenwich village, healthy, nyu on September 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm

When you need a respite from your frustrating, pedantic, work-a-day life, don’t just take a coffee break; go to Recess.

Recess, squatting on University Place at 10th Street, is a throwback to elementary school, with all the perks of adulthood thrown in. The walls and ceiling are modern, jagged, like pieces of a geometric puzzle. Mismatched striations of wood, blond and brunette, are sutured together at awkward angles and cover every surface. Zebra-striped ceiling panels, angled spotlights, and trapezoidal wall posts add to the Picasso-esque feel of the interior. A long central table is reminiscent of elementary school cafeteria tables, though this one is scattered with copies of the Wall Street Journal and the Daily News. The front wall is floor-to-ceiling glass, making it one of the best indoor people-watching spots in the Village.

The menu concept, as the cafe’s name suggests, is a grown-up twist on grade school. The sandwich menu is scant yet solid. The Mac Daddy, hearty toasted whole wheat bread smeared with macadamia-almond butter, raspberry preserves and sliced banana, is way better than any Wonderbread concoction you munched as a kid. The Say Cheese is slathered with four types of cheese and leaves your fingers greasy; pair it with the TnT Tomato Soup for a piquant match. My favorite, the Can’t Beet It, is stuffed with beets, hummus, sprouts and avocado; it practically announces how healthy it is with every bite. (Protip: when choosing a side dish, get the marinated cucumber salad.)

If you’re looking for an excuse to wake up early, a variety of breakfast toasts (including one called The Wonka- I’ll let your imagination run wild) and $2-a-cup coffee should do the trick. Recess also whips up smoothies and frozen yogurt concoctions, good for any hour of the day.

Just like Mom used to say, use the bathroom before you go. No, seriously. Recess’s restroom is decked out in wall-to-wall mirrors and a super-cool faucet system that descends from the ceiling, reminiscent of a California miner’s panning chute. This bathroom pass is almost as fun as Recess itself.


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