In a rare act of fanciness, I agreed to spend more than $30 at a restaurant and went to Blue Hill. I could taste the difference. Though very expensive ($75 for the “farmers feast” price fix), they served easily the best breadsticks I’ve ever had, and a variety of pre-meal treats, as well as a palette cleanser in the middle. My favorite of these were 2 “cheese burgers” that were the size of those gummy cheeseburgers you find at the convenience store- I’m still laughing at them being called cheeseburgers. We shared the farmers feast and the Grilled Cobia (fish) which was just about the right amount of food for two. I think my favorite had to be the “This morning’s farm egg” appetizer, each bite tasted differently and equally delicious. I cannot actually say anything negative about any of the plates, they continually blew my mind. Well, maybe except for the desserts; we finished off with the chocolate bread pudding and honey crisp apples, that were both delicious but only about the size of my thumb. I usually need a little more dessert on my plate than Blue Hill has to offer. All of the plates were on the small side, so I would suggest using this to try as many different dishes as you can. It was really worth it, even if I can only afford to do it once a year. On a side note, I’m no win connoisseur, but we did the thing that no one does and ordered the cheapest wine on the list (which is still $48) and it was completely amazing. I strongly recommend the Domaine Grand 2009 from Cotes du Jura, France. And yes, I’m only writing this so I can have it written down somewhere for the next time I go to a wine store.
75 Washington Place, between 6th Ave and Washington Square W
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
Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t a French restaurant. It’s more of a mix of different cuisines found in New York- pho, barbeque, Italian and, ok, a little French. The waitress was really nice and the prices weren’t too bad, but the pulled pork sandwich came so soggy I had to quit half way through, and wasn’t really worth going at it with a fork and knife. Though, Chris ordered some kind of brisket sandwich that was pretty tasty. I’d like to give this place the benefit of the doubt- it seems to get a lot of really positive reviews online, and I really shouldn’t have ordered pulled pork since I’m a complete barbeque snob. On the whole though, I wouldn’t say it’s worth traveling to if you’re not already in the neighborhood.
522 Hudson Street
The New York magazine wrote a review describing this place as having “good, honest el cheapo grub”. I don’t know if perhaps things have changed since the Smith has opened, or they have a different version of “el cheapo”, but I wouldn’t describe this place as a great brunch deal. Most entrees were between $14 -18 and all the brunch drinks were $11.
The food was pretty good, but I don’t think the food is what’s bringing people to The Smith; it was completely packed with hip, attractive NYU students. This place is always busy, so you can expect to wait a while and like I said, the food was good but I don’t know that it’s necessarily worth waiting.
On a side note, for all my architects, they had great bathrooms.