It’s easy to see why the patio at Terrine is a natural draw for the brunch set. Sunshine pours through the full branches of an outstretched tree in the middle of the courtyard, which makes glassware glitter under a canopy of red umbrellas. Verdant leaves spill over the walls and small birds hop on the stone floor beneath intimate tables of muffled chatter. It’s a lively, welcoming scene. But it’s almost more intimate to be inside in the late morning, when the bright dining room is quietly removed from the noise. Claim the corner just before the entrance to the al fresco space, where the dusty-red shade of the plush booth complements the whitewashed brick wall behind it. At that time of day, most of the curved wood chairs and marble tabletops will be untouched, and the gilded mirrors up against that brick wall will reflect just a few passersby. But classic reggae music will be playing overhead, just loud enough to create a steady calm. It feels like a retreat within an already blissful setting.
Order a rosa spritz, made with prosecco and Cocchi Rosa, from the dark-wooded bar nearest the street. As you sip, eagerly await the delivery of a thick croque madame, and then cut into its smoked ham, gruyere cheese and runny egg with a confident slice. While that's a dish that can be shared, a plate of the Terrine Benedict — with its layer of blue crab and house-made English muffins — is best kept to yourself. Eat slowly, perhaps ordering the house-smoked brisket hash for an added indulgence, as more people begin to arrive. And then, toward the end of the meal, make room for a seasonal tartine topped with fig and ricotta. When the plates are cleared, and fewer empty chairs surround this corner booth, leave feeling like the holder of a serene, delicious secret.