Address: 247 South 1st., nr. Roebling St. (Williamsburg)
Timeless neighborhood haunt
Group dinner; Date; Bar bites.
Seven days a week. Dinner, Sun-Thu, 6p.m.-11p.m., Fri & Sat, 6p.m.-12a.m.
Miss Dish: House-smoked sturgeon; Duck confit; Meatloaf;
Price: Appetizers, $15 ; Entrees,$20 ;Dessert, $9.
A neigborhood restaurant worth venturing out of your own for in Williamsburg.
Have you ever envied a neighborhood for their restaurants? I have. There are so many great places to live in New York with so menu great restaurants. But if I ever mustered up the courage to search for a new apartment and pack boxes, I’d head to Williamsburg. That’s where Brooklyn’s dining scene really was born. Places like Stone Rose, Peter Luger, and have been around forever, but places like Dumont & Dressler changed the Brooklyn dining landscape forever. Chef Cal Elliot was instrumental at both spots.
Rye is Cal
Elliot’s first solo effort, but you can tell he’s a veteran in the kitchen. He’s implemented a wonderful American menu with equal parts
refined and retro touches. You’ll order the chicken, but what you’ll
get is a deftly roasted chicken, or a finely charred, slicedsteak flavored with red wine for two that fed four, crispy fries, and homemade cinnamon donuts for desserts.
Rye is a real neighborhood restaurant, the kind every neighborhood should have. It’s one of those rare spots where you can’t make up your mind because there’s so many great dishes on the menu. It;s the kind of place you could just order a great burger or an ambitious meal. It’s the kind of place where you hope your table’s not quite ready, so you can linger at their handsome, oak bar for a little longer and order a proper Hemingway Daiquiri with just the right doses of bitters, orange and whiskey, or a classic Southside. The dining room looks like something from the early 1900’s — a saloon of sorts with dim bare bulb lighting, a tin ceiling, and wood floors. There’s not a stich of artwork on the walls, no clever distractions — a restaurant where blackberries on the table seem entirely out of place.
Most of the food is excellent, but Cal Elliot is especially gifted with duck. I recommend you try the entree-sized appetizer of sliced duck coupled with a unique roasted red pepper and chutney and couscous, or a sweet duck confit served on the bone with shards of pecorino, wild mushrooms, and precious nibbles of gnocchi. I’ve never referred
to a meatloaf as magnificent, but this one was — a moist, sweet,
unctuous mix of pork, veal, and short ribs, sided by a stack of onion
The table favorite was pulled pork sandwich, piled with sweet shreds of meat, cole slaw, and pickles — a salty, sweet, fatty, and crusty combination. But my favorite is the house-smoked sturgeon poised over scalloped potatoes mingled with bacon and horseradish. The only dishes that missed were a wild striped bass in a watery saffron broth with listless cockles and an artichoke fricassee that paled in comparison to the rest of the menu.
The dessert menu is concise, but just as outstanding as the rest of the menu. I loved the steamed lemon cake with a fragrant Chantilly sauce and fresh mixed berries that didn’t seem remotely out of place, even in the dead of winter. There’s also one of those old school, wonderfully moist, chocolate cakes paired with a light vanilla ice cream as well as warm, crusty cinnamon donuts.
Cal Elliot has mastered the art of understated yet elegant retro cuisine. We could all use a restaurant like Rye around the corner.