I always like a one stop shop and Huckleberry Bar
, in the part of Williamsburg that has not yet been entirely consumed by gentrification and uber-emo trenders, is a gem. With a comfortable charm that feels both new and old, every walk is welcomed. And my walk was steadied by their selection of focused yet thoughtful food and drink. Thus my two visits, an evening and the subsequent sensible brunch, yielded fabulous edible finds for any time the clock tells - even for a slim wallet.
Opened in 2007 by team Andy Boggs and Stephanie Schneider, they were no strangers to the restaurant industry having worked for big brand name Danny Meyer (Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, etc.). Andy was determined to open a great bar in under-the-radar Brooklyn that left the oft-found pretension of Manhattan on that island. "Fancy without the fussy," he said, adding that being hospitality-driven is what sets this spot apart - and he is right. You will not find a smug eye-roll from the bartender if you mispronounce Cynar (chi-nar), an artichoke-based bitter; or if you disregard the thoughtful drink list and order a vodka-soda. The cocktails (spearheaded by Stephanie) run the gamut from seasonal to classics to unconventional concoctions. If you don't know what you want, you can order an expertly crafted bartender's choice, varied with any spirit of your choosing and a dash of creativity.
On my first visit I opted for the "Brooklyn" ($11), which classic "Manhattan" drinkers would appreciate. As a Bourbon girl, I was intrigued by their medley of Rye whiskey, dry vermouth, house-made bitters, and a touch of Maraschino liqueur. That requisite orange tang still made an impact in the form of a large citrus peel, and the chilled liquid was a lovely rendition on tradition.
Brunch booze made their marks as well, first with a bubbly "Botanical Garden" ($11) with gin, sweet vermouth and Prosecco, cleverly offset by bitters and zesty lemon. Nothing better than a sparkling start to the required brunch egg dish: this one a hearty bake of savory "Lamb Merguez" sausage ($9) stewed in a smokey tomato-harissa sauce. Nestling two soft, yolky eggs, with plush bread for the soaking, the depth of flavor and smooth texture only leaves you wanting more.
As a supplement, I cocktail capped my meal with "William Miller" ($11) another whiskey choice (surprised?), but this time a salty bacon-infused Bourbon with my name written all over it. Simply finished with more whiskey liqueur Drambuie (Scotch variety) and orange bitters, this drink is straight to the point - and to the head.
The citrus undertones would pair perfectly with my evening bar bites of Bacon-Wrapped Dates ($6) and Sweet Potato Salad ($7). The former was that satisfying sweet and salty palate pair stuffed with creamy gouda for that mild mouth-melt. Also complex on the tongue was the salad's soft sweet potato chunks accentuated by even sweeter dried cherries, but balanced by piquant arugula and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
This was just the beginning of Huckleberry intrigue, with a menu (conceived by Chef Seth Johnson) that has a manifold of titillating pickings and an extensive drink list that will take many visits to tastefully touch. With sandwiches, toasts, charcuterie and sweets, I already have my eye on the Rabbit Terrine, the warm Nutella & Ricotta press, and the "Hop Scotch Morning" (chai-infused Scotch, espresso, milk and coconut cream) that will certainly wake you up! If you haven't already, get hip to this non-hipster anomaly.
All photos by Rebecca Kritzer