A-Roma Bakery

So recently I’ve moved to a strange new land. Granted, it’s only about a 5 minute bike ride from my old place and I get off at the same subway station, but still I find myself on the other side of the BQE, and with very little knowledge of my surrounding restaurants.  A-Roma Bakery was my first new venture, and a very pleasing treat for a full day of moving.  The panini’s were good (not mind-blowing, but good) but the pastries were delicious.  My sister and I had chocolate macaroons and some kind of almond croissant treat, and they were just as good as they look (which is something I’ve found to not always be true since working close to china-town bakeries). If you’re in the neighborhood and in the mood for something sweet, I would definitely recommend it.

Grand at Borinquen, Williamsburg Brooklyn

Cariño

From the owners of the fallen restaurant Bonita, comes Cariño. Unlike the rest of Williamsburg, I was never particularly impressed with Bonita and I also wasn’t especially impressed with Carino. Everything was ok, but (I guess it’s the Mexican food snob in me) I’ve had better for cheaper. I have to admit, there was a really nice spiciness to everything they make and the guacamole, though over priced (7 dollars for about a tablespoons worth) was pretty good as well. Overall though, I probably won’t be visiting again, however, this place has received a lot of good reviews, so if you’re not accustomed to good Mexican food (i.e., not from Texas, the southwest, California or Mexico) please, visit and make up your own mind about it – you might love it.

84 S 4th Street, at Berry, Brooklyn

Sui Ren

photo via http://www.suirennyc.com

In the heart of Williamsburg, it was a bit unexpected how empty Sui Ren was at dinner time on a Saturday night, however we pushed aside our normal reservations towards empty restaurants and found ourselves a very comfortable neighborhood japanese spot. The service was pleasant and the prices were reasonable; most entrees ran between $8-15. I have to admit, I don’t know that I would necessarily make this a destination were I not in the neighborhood, but the food was pretty solid. The Kamo Ramen was a little bland, I would suggest the Miso Ramen.

Pies ‘n’ Thighs

photo from piesnthighs.com

If you love fried chicken (which I’m assuming everyone does) or southern food, eat here now. Probably the best fried chicken I’ve had. We ordered the chicken and waffles, the biscuits and gravy and a sweet tea, all of which was gone in less than 10 minutes. The waffles were just the right amount of sweet and the chicken the right amount of juicy. Aside from this being the favorite hipster hangout of the moment, the whole experience was enjoyable. The prices were very reasonable, our waiter was great, and we even left with a cinnamon roll on the house as an apology for being out of donuts (which claimed to be the best in New York). Sadly, the cinnamon roll was not great; don’t accept that as a donut substitute. I’m looking forward to returning and trying some pies, which I’m really hoping are as delicious as their chicken.

Really though, just look how cute the owners are in this picture. This picture alone makes me want to eat there.

North 4th and Driggs, Williamsburg

Rye

I’m hesitant to write about Rye because it seems like the type of place that people guard jealously from people that aren’t hip enough to know it’s there. It sits on a mostly residential block behind unmarked doors and if not for the address matching the address we were given, we could have spent the rest of the evening walking past it looking for it. The food, though served in disappointingly small portions, was absolutely delicious. The eight people at our table ordered 7 different entrees, and everyone was pretty happy with what they ordered. I was particularly fond of my steak served on top of spinach (shown above) – so juicy and flavorful. Chris ordered the pork belly sandwich which, though it was the smallest sandwich ever served as an entree, was pretty amazing as well.

One of our friends ordered the meatloaf sandwich and, for some reason, it was the exception to the rule – it looked to be a regular sized sandwich- but on the whole though, I would recommend getting some appetizers and/or sides because it’s unlikely you’ll be satisfied from the entrée alone.

If you’re going, which you should, come prepared to spend some money, it’s not exactly cheap; we ended up spending about $30 per person without ordering drinks.

As a special bonus, in the trend of many other Williamsburg restaurants, they had fantastic smelling soap. I don’t know why restaurants have suddenly decided to spring on the fancy soap, but it really raises my opinion of a place when I come out smelling better than when I went in.

247 S 1st Street, btwn Havemeyer and Roebling, Williamsburg

Motorino

picture from slice.seriouseats.com

Motorino was recently rated the best pizza in New York, which is a lot to live up to. We ordered the margarita doc pizza, and though it was very, very good, could I safely say best pizza in New York? I’m not really sure, though I have to admit it was definitely among the better pizzas I’ve had here. The meatball’s couldn’t compare to Chris’s mom’s, but still, not bad.
I’m looking forward to trying it again, though getting one of their pizzas with prosciutto or brussels sprouts to see what they can do. Also, if you’re planning on going, Tim had the good sense to take me there at 6:30 on a Tuesday so we were seated immediately, but I hear it gets really crowded and people regularly wait one to two hours for a table.

319 Graham Ave, Brooklyn

Le Barricou

Some friends invited me here for brunch this weekend, and I have to say I’m a little disappointed I didn’t find out about this place sooner.  The food and drinks were pretty cheap, and both were definitely worth the trip.  I was told ahead of time that the bacon would be amazing and, I have to admit, it stands apart in the bacon world as being particularly delicious.  I was also extremely pleased with my apple omelet, though I think my favorite part was the chocolate croissants they left on the table when I sat down.

533 Grand Street,  between Union and Lorimer

Jimmy’s Diner

photo from Flickr

We were told (by the menu, multiple times) that this was the best fried chicken in Brooklyn and I have to say that I was definitely pleased. We ordered the fried chicken plate and chicken and waffles. Luckily, I’ve already had the pleasure of experiencing chicken and waffles and knew the glory of the dish is hot sauce on the chicken, syrup on the waffle. Jimmy’s Diner tried to mislead us by putting a large bowl of gravy on the table- don’t go there.

Our one disappointment were the fried deviled eggs, which was a risk to begin with, that tasted better once you peeled off all of the fried and just ate it like a normal egg. Though, I have high hopes for the fried pickle chips next time we go.

577 Union Ave between N 10th and N 11th

Blackbird Parlour

You have GOT to be kidding me. I’ve tried this place twice, the first time the service was not great, but acceptable. Went back a second time today with my boyfriend (snowpocalypse 2010) craving a cozy atmosphere and yummy food. We were seated immediately and given menus. The place was maybe 40% full. Very slow.

We waited THIRTY MINUTES to place our order. After numerous times of making eyes at our server, she finally comes over with a totally unacceptable attitude. During this thirty minutes of waiting to order, we saw at least 2 parties order and receive their food. People who came in after us got their food before we even ordered. I made eye contact with her multiple times, signaled for her to come over and we were still ignored.

So when she did take our order, she didn’t write it down. I’ve seen a lot of amazing servers do this. Not her. She had to come back because she forgot what we ordered. We ordered 2 burgers. How hard is that? We also ordered 2 different beers. My boyfriend got his and after 5 minutes mine didn’t show up. We pulled over a new server (who I think was the owner) asking where my beer was. He told me they were out of Magic Hat. So that means our server just didn’t tell us they were out and decided I’d be better off with NOTHING.

Now, onto the food. The burgers were actually quite yummy. I know the slow service did not in any way represent the kitchen.

I will never give Blackbird Parlour any of my money ever again. The two tables on either side of us had the exact same problem. It seemed as if our server just decided to ignore our side of the restaurant. The couple next to us discussed walking out, as did we. But after trudging through the snow and finding several places closed, we were quite hangry (hungry+angry) and didn’t want to give up the prospect of full tummies. I can’t believe this establishment allows its employees to act this way.

BTW, according to our bill our server’s name was Malo.

197 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg

Chimu

Chimu is an excellent little Peruvian restaurant right off the BQE in Williamsburg.  Each course of the meal was great and we will definitely be going back for more.  For an appetizer we had a delicious avocado stuffed with shrimp salad.  I went with the lomo saltado for an entree.  It was excellent.  A Peruvian/Asian stir fry dish containing steak, potatoes, onions and tomatoes served over white rice.  Karyssa had spaghetti in a basil and Spanish cheese sauce topped with a grilled steak.  It was really tasty and not what I would have expected to find at a Peruvian restaurant.

The presentation of the food is amazing and watching neigboring tables be served their plates is a great way to discover new things on the menu.  The portions are large and the prices quite reasonable.  The service was good and I believe the owner or manager is present many times helping out around the restaurant.  He easily sold me on the special of the day; a delicious tres leches dessert.