Restaurant Review: Williamsburg Chique and Not-so Chique!

Throughout the past one and a half years I’ve had many chances to try out great and bad restaurants in Williamsburg. It’s only a short hop on the G-train from where I live and it’s very convenient in terms of being able to stay in Brooklyn but still get the busy vibe of Manhattan streets, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, I won’t bother, it’s simply too complicated to explain!

Anyhow, Williamsburg can be very chique once you trot away from the walked-by-many-appreciated-by-few roads of Bedford Avenue and Co. Matter of fact, I rarely even go to Bedford Avenue anymore just because this entire stretch down to the Southside turns into a true frat house atmosphere once we hit the weekend hours. And who needs that when you can simply walk down another street and land somewhere truly interesting? Yes, that’s exactly what I think, too.

Therefore, instead of getting of the Bedford Stop on the L-train, ride one stop further and make your way to Lorimer/ Metropolitan Avenue. It is here where you will find…

1) Dumont

Now this is a pretty chique restaurant compared to some of the washed down bars you have in its proximity (take Union Pool, for example). I’ve come here for birthday dinners and on other occasions. Originally known for its burgers, it has strutted far away from that reputation. One time I tried the shrimp fettuccine, which I can recommend once it is in season again. The veggie ravioli is equally as good. But the true hit was the Dumont Salad with its Danish Blue cheese, radish, pecans and the slightest hint of its balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Dumont's shrimp ravioli
Dumont’s shrimp fettuccine

There is always an appeal to dishes where you can taste they are home-made and not factored down to the conveyer-belt-atmosphere found elsewhere. Dumont also has a great cocktail list but unfortunately I have not yet come around to trying these out. Next time for sure!

2) Dressler

I went here once, for a friend’s birthday. It was pretty amazing. Due to the servers knowing him, we got a higher end treatment (and lots of water refills, even though our glasses were still full). It is owned by the same folks who opened up the Dumont, an already classy joint off of Lorimer. But the Dressler is definitely its higher end version. Look at its proximity to classics such as the Peter Luger Steakhouse and you will understand why. It’s breathtaking and awing but in the end, it is a restaurant. The food is on the pricier side so be prepared to bring your second wallet tucked in your nice tuxedo.
When we went here, we got the butternut squash ravioli. A gift from anywhere but earth! The marinated beets were also appealing and great for starters. They have a nice selection of wine and cocktails, just like the Dumont!

Beets appetizer and home-made pasta
Beets appetizer and home-made pasta

Given the fact that all of this happened post-Sandy (about five days after the mega storm), I was greatly impressed at the freshness of this food and the cheerfulness of the place. We even discovered an Indian actor sitting at the bar (but of course you don’t disturb these people or gawk at them..).

3) Walter Foods

Another goody, especially when it comes to brunch. I can highly recommend their Bloody Mary’s (so rich in ingredients it will make your head swirl when you see the amount of olives you are able to snag). Also, their French toast has left a lasting impression, especially after coming here more than a few times already. If you are not into sweet stuff, try their egg dishes or, even better, oysters. That’s right, they offer oysters for brunch (market price, usually).

Mouth-watering French Toast!
Mouth-watering French Toast!
Oyster time
Oyster time

Walter Foods has an outdoor patio in the back, and it’s especially gorgeous in the late summer/ fall time of the year.

4) Rye

Rye is simply amazing when it comes to brunch, and food, and pretty much everything else. Walking in here was impressive by itself. The décor was very classy, resembling rustic wooden creations in Germany, but then more elegant due to the white table sheets. We sat at the bar, so no white sheets for us. However, after waiting some time for our food to arrive, we did get the chance to taste one of the best gourmet pieces I’ve tried in New York so far!

I ordered a Croque Madame. For those of you who’ve been to France: It’s similar to a Croque Monsieur. The last Croque Unisex I had was in Paris. This one at Rye was so much better than anything I’ve tried in the French capital (I am unsure if this is a compliment or not, but let’s let it sit there for a minute). My friend had the omelet with sides – equally appealing and also tasty.

Croque Madame
Croque Madame
Omelet with side of salad and toast
Omelet with side of salad and toast

I glanced around and saw a random girl order the French toast. It was such a large amount, I would recommend splitting it among two people. Seriously, her oversized plate was clustered with the goodies! Since we were pretty full, we didn’t get the chance to try out their home-made donuts. Next time for sure!

5) Mother’s

Now to the not-so-chique: Mother’s is a joint that has a dive-bar-kinda vibe. Other than that it has one of the best veggie burgers I’ve tried in this area and one of the cheapest. For 7 bucks a pop you can get a full burger. Meat costs extra, I believe you would pay 8 dollars. Cheese is 1 dollar. Then you can choose between either a side of fries for $2 (totaling everything to an even $10) or a basket of fries for $3. For some reason we always end up getting the basket because our thought process is that we can simply share it and save one dollar (instead each of us getting a side of fries). A basket is humongous, though, so half of it goes uneaten. I am not sure if I should approve of the waste of food or the savings of money… They have decent beer, too. Gaffel Koelsch from Austria, who couldn’t say no? If you’re in the Graham avenue area, feel like having solid bar food and not waiting too long, this is the place you should end up at. As simple as that!

Williamsburg is so darn close to Greenpoint that I have decided to come up with a special post on restaurants in the former Polish neighborhood soon. Keep tuning in for the best of the best, or at the very least, the most interesting when it comes to a German discovering her eating ways through New York errr Brooklyn!

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