Agi’s Counter is a breakfast and lunch charmer

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If Agi’s Counter was in your neighborhood, you could be there every day. It’s like a café in a Netflix original series where the whimsical main character spends long afternoons scribbling incredibly artistic annotated sketches in a Moleskine notebook. Still, Agi stops short of turning into a twee due to her own genuinely darling character.

Agi’s glass door opens to the shorter side of its L-shaped counter. Beautiful pastries are laid out in the corner, while the kitchen where they are made is just beyond. The longer side of the counter leads to a pale wood banquette backed by deviously elegant floral wallpaper in soft hues. The restaurant with Jewish and Eastern European influences is named after a former teenage food blogger chef Jeremy Salamon’s grandmother, and her design also evokes the cool matriarchs.

The menu is short but already animated a few months and modifications after Salamon (snack bar, The whirlwind) opened his first solo spot. the leberkase ($15) seems to be the most frequently recommended: a breakfast sandwich worthy of the New York cannon that places a thick slice of pork pie, mostarda pear, and a fried egg between two hearty slices of toast that deftly resist substantial toppings. It’s a dizzying way to start the day and big enough to share.

Lunch includes a food plate ($17) with the aesthetic appeal you’d expect from any August restaurant in New York. Thin, palm-sized spelled crackers hang in a generous portion of pâté alongside a dense and tangy Hungarian chili spread, pickled cauliflower and cucumber, and deviled eggs topped with ‘a sunny dollop of egg mousse and a touch of dill. The plate sits on a silver stand, literally elevating the very notion of a snack plate.

Agi’s counter is only open until 3 p.m. (dinner service is in the works) with clean lines between its breakfast (opens 11:30 p.m.) and lunch (closes 12 p.m.) menus, but the executive pastry chef Renee Hudson sensational baked goods are available while they last. For example, after I started unrolling the lovely swirls of a Ferdinand bun ($6) one recent morning, I overheard someone else grab the last few minutes later. The Hungarian dessert is lightly buttery with an almost creamy interior and a flaky, sticky surface.

The Gerbeaud cake squares also terrific ($4.00), with layers of cookies, nuts and apricot, a chocolate ganache top and a pinch of salt cut like little emerald pendants seemed to last a bit longer long, as well as the new two-bite vanilla vollmond (“full moon” in German) cookies ($3.50). They and each of the exceptional confections also travel well to bring a bit of Agi’s cinematic magic and great menu items wherever you go.

Vitals

The atmosphere: Bright with flattering light and telegenically chic with comfortable counter seats, a bench seat in the back and a jazz soundtrack lightly filling the charming space.

The food: Menus with Jewish and Eastern European influences with stars like the leberkäse breakfast sandwich and the exceptional Ferdinand roll for dessert or anytime.

The drinks: Coffee and espresso drinks, tea and some specialties such as homemade sodas.

Timing Tip: Agi’s counter only serves breakfast and lunch for now, but you can take occasional pop-up dinners before its official launch in the evening, including one planned for Valentine’s Day.

Agi’s Counter is located at 818 Franklin Avenue and is open Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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