Past the handmade scarves and jewelry, the ornaments, candles,cookbooks, lamps and other fun knick-knacks at The HôM Store sitsa small open area filled with five tables, tins of tea, and a smallkitchen where self-taught cook Daymein Forte crafts deliciousbrunch and appetizer dishes five days a week.
From omelets to salads, Forte is inspiring in his ability tocreate something delicious out of very little.
Between helping my mother in the kitchen and [stints at] aChinese restaurant and McDonald’s in high school, it comesnaturally and I enjoy it, said Forte. It’s a concept of acafé/restaurant and a storefront – you can eat and shop in onespot, like a glorified Cracker Barrel.
HôM is arguably better, the brunches ($12.95 on weekends, $9.95on Wednesdays through Fridays) merging comforting and homeyfavorites with the feel of eating something special that comes atfancy restaurants.
For example, the Autumn Harvest Salad with grilled chicken (add$3 for the chicken) was a study in contrasts, with the bittergreens providing counterpoint to the tart Gorgonzola, thesweet-tart of the dried cherries and the honeyed saltiness of thecandied cashew pieces. Textures also play off against each other,with the crunch of the nuts offering a foil to the buttery pearslices.
Meanwhile, the Huevos Rancheros appealed with three layers ofcorn tortillas and refried beans topped with two fried eggs, and alayer of sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, fresh tomatoes andpeppers. Each bite was like slicing into lasagna, and tasted greatwhen piled on a crisp tortilla chip.
Dessert was a Brooklyn-made Robicelli’s cupcake – from Bay Ridgeresident Matt Robicelli – from a selection that varies weekly. TheLiddabit combined dense chocolate cake with a cloud of delicate,light-as-air buttercream on top studded with peanuts and pieces ofcaramel. The Brown Sugar Pumpkin cupcake had a remarkably soft andnot-overly-sweet brown sugar cake topped with melt-in-your-mouthchocolate pumpkin buttercream. We highly recommend tryingthese.
The brunch menus at HôM change monthly, but usually feature sometype of salad, sandwich, pancake platter, egg dish and a heartieroption. The November menu will be unveiled in a few days, and willinclude a hearty line-up of past favorites such as hash-browncasserole, sausage biscuits and gravy, and chipped beef ingravy.
The brunches started two to three years ago as a way to giveback to the community, said Salvatore Forte, HôM owner and one ofthe newest Pioneers of Third Avenue. Back then, they were free as anod to the recession and the throngs of recently laid-offresidents.
Since then, HôM’s food and community offerings have expanded toinclude Friday Happy Hours from 5 to 9 p.m. – featuringoff-the-hook nachos and homemade sangria – as well as Full MoonDinners on the closest Saturday to the full moon each month, aThanksgiving Day dinner on the Saturday before the big holiday, andmovie nights in the back garden.
We wanted to create not only a store, but an environment, saidSalvatore Forte. We get a lot of people who come in to get awayfrom the hustle and bustle. It’s nice to see people leaverelaxed.
As Daymein Forte noted, It’s a HôM away from home.
8806 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Brunch: Wednesdays – Sundays from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Happy Hour: Fridays from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.