On the hunt for a lunch/brunch spot whose griddle cook we don’t know by name, Gothamist headed to the newish Cheryl’s Global Soul, a cozy little eatery from Food Network personality Cheryl Smith (of Soul Kitchen).

The restaurant’s comfort is encapsulated by Smith herself whose long plaits and almost cherubic grin made us forgive the spotty climate control (Cheryl’s vacillates from bitter cold to dry heat). In fact, her warmth nearly had us forget that she’s spent much of her life in a kitchen (Marion’s and Tocqueville to name a few), until she barked for a beer and guzzled it with impressive, even endearing vim.

The décor is minimal; limed brick, planks of rough-hewn wood wrapping the ceiling and northern wall, and a handful of basic, modern chairs—all of which, on a recent Sunday, were happily filled.

TheSteve.jpgAnd with good reason. Cheryl’s opens at 9 a.m., with a selection of pastries baked fresh on premises. A lunch menu features well-portioned sandwiches like The Steve, a perfectly executed B.L.T. piled thick with slices of maple-cured bacon, or The Heidi, a lighter option made with boiled eggs, avocado, sprouts and finished with a delicate herbed vinegar. We couldn’t resist a pot of Cheryl’s crispy fries, sprinkled liberally (too liberally for our dining companion, just perfectly for us) with coarse salt. Brunch items include Poached Eggs on smoked trout hash, dense slabs of French Toast and fluffy pancakes studded with fruits from the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.

With entrees ranging from $13-22, Cheryl’s dinner menu is a bit on the steep side for the neighborhood. But dishes like Bulgogi-Marinated Rib-Eye, Grilled Jerked Chicken Wings (an appetizer), and Tamarind Roasted Chicken will likely call us back for a second round.

“Every culture has soul food,” says Smith of her simple menu that trots from North Africa and Japan to the Southern states without missing a beat. “This is just the way I like to eat.” Last weekend, no less than twelve members of the Smith clan were gathered around a table sharing bites of red velvet cupcakes. You can’t get more soulful than that.

Cheryl’s Global Soul
236 Underhill Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Photos by Daniel Krieger