With every subsequent issue I receive in my mailbox, New York Magazine's restaurant listing pages progressively puff with an expanding Brooklyn section. No doubt the torrential food flood has leaked across the East River into the borough they are calling "the new Manhattan." Though I am not promoting that new nickname, I will confirm that as a resident of this fine borough called Brooklyn, the growing culinary presence is undeniable - and quite honestly, astounding.
But I am not one to complain, as my taste buds can't lie. In my many edible excursions, I've come across three recently opened Williamsburg restaurants (two of which happen to be directly across the street from each other) that each offered one noteworthy pick for Brunch, Booze and Bone: Fat Goose, Gwynnett Street, and Basik. Which pairs with which? Read on to find out.
Where: Gwynnett St, 312 Graham Ave, 11211, 347-889-7002
What: Parsnip Yogurt Muesli with Fall Fruits ($7)
The most unassuming brunch item in my mind is yogurt. Yogurt is typically boring. Yogurt I can make at home. Yogurt is yogurt. But not this one. Made from parsnips (a certain first for me) it had the liquidy texture of kefir milk and the slightly sour bite that I love in Greek yogurt. The sweet touch actually came from crunchy homemade muesli clusters (asking to granola) with earthy flaxseed and oats, laying luxuriously with sliced banana and dehydrated persimmon slivers on that milky bed. Talk about a wet dream; every spoonful was a subsequent surprise. I never thought I'd say this (blasphemy!) but I'd take this yogurt over a poached egg any brunch day.
(Owner: Carl McCoy, Chef: Justin Hilbert)
Where: Basik, 23 Graham Ave, 11211, 347-889-7597
What: Poppa's Pride ($10)
Mosey on over across the street for a happy hour treat. Bourbon seems to be the bar's choice (and mine) nowadays on the mixologist's menu. Without getting too fancy, this one beautifully showcases the round slightly sweet spirit that even whisky nay-sayers could cozy up to. Brightened with the fresh elements of mint, lemon juice, and soda bubbles, in the same shake it moderates the sweet scale with bitters and a kick of ginger. I'm proud of this drink, and I'm not even a poppa.
(Owners: Derrek Vernon & Jay Zimmerman)
Where: Fat Goose, 25 Wythe Ave, 11249, 718-963-2200
What: Lamb Shank ($23)
To what kind of bone did you think I was referring? A meaty bone of course, and here it is delivered with luscious lamb barely holding on before slipping off in succulent morsels into a pool of rich red wine chocolate reduction. The viscosity of the sauce is surprisingly not overpowering, but rather subtly soothes the gaminess of the lamb (which not a bad thing in my book, but I can understand the aversion). Paired with fluffy ricotta-spinach dumplings to soak up the juices, this (Fall only) dish will keep you warm for the winter.
(Owners: Leszek and Krystyna Gesiak, Chef: Jennifer Cole)