What are your favorite restaurants in Williamsburg?
Personally I like La Brunette, Planeat Thailand (only the Thai food, the Japanese food is awful)and for a great slice of pizza -- Drigg's. I know that many new places have opened such as Bonita and Carmaya. I would love to hear chowhound opinions on your new and old Williamsburg favorites.
I'm a huge Cono's O'pescatore fan, although I have to concede that I only stumbled in the first time because I live on Graham and was feeling lazy. I also like Relish and the pupusas at Bahia (Grand St.); I'm actually not crazy about Planeat Thiland. I've been out of town most of the time on a fellowship this year, so I've missed most of the openings; I was quite gratified, however, to see that Aqua Santa had closed, as that restaurant has the distinction of having provided me with The Worst Dining Experience of My Life, no small feat considering that I grew up in a rural California bible-thumping town.
I went to Aqua Santa once last fall. I was seated with a friend in the garden, and, while I was sitting there (at about 7:30 PM), a couple of restaurant workers came out and began very noisily scrubbing down the patio. It took my server 20 minutes (from the time I started timing her, which was after I started getting annoyed that she was taking a while) to get my drink order; she brough me a glass of what clearly wasn't the wine I ordered (as tipped off to me by the fact that it was white, rather than red), hightailed it away from the table as I was trying to explain that I hadn't ordered white wine, and, when she returned another ten minutes later, and I explained the mix-up, didn't want to give me the wine I ordered because the wine had been "sitting out" (?). She took our orders, and my dining companion's meal arrived maybe fifteen minutes later; we sat waiting for my meal to emerge, and, after ten minutes or so of seeing neither my meal nor our waitress, I told my dining companion to tuck in before her meal got cold.
My companion was completely finished with her meal before mine arrived, which, again, turned out to not be what I had ordered (I had ordered a hearty pasta dish that included chicken, and received instead a salad with grilled chicken on top, which was lukewarm). I again told the waitress that it wasn't what I ordered, she shook her head at me, and told me it would be another twenty or so minutes before I could get a replacement entree. Since at this point we had been sitting at the restaurant for over an hour and a half, I opted to just eat what was in front of me; the chicken tasted like sawdust--no herbs, no spices, no pleasant grilled taste, no moisture--and there was no dressing on the limp greens. The best approximation I can make is "airline meal." I mentioned all of this to the manager on the way out, and he just shrugged at me. Good riddance to them going under.
When I used to live in W'burg I went to Driggs Pizza often. Their garlic and pesto slices were great, and the penne a la vodka was downright addictive (real heavy sauce). PlanEat Thailand has always been reliable for me, I still go there sometimes. Dumont and La Brunette have also served up some tasty meals. There is also an Italian pastry shop a few blocks off Metropolitan, on Lormier, I think. All of the classic desserts are available. Take out is better, as the table service is agonizingly slow. I used to like Vera Cruz, but the last few times I went the food sucked. I also used to go to some of the Polish restaurants in Greenpoint and scarf down an enormous plate of food for only a few bucks. Ah, such fond memories...
I noticed that our name had come up among this list of Williamsburg favorites. It was nice to see, but I wish you had given more details. For myself as a chef and an artist I really thrive off of any type of feedback, so let me know what you thought of the place, good or bad. P.s. you can see a recient review from the brooklyn papers at http://go-brooklyn.com/
re: Jacques Gautier (chef @ La Brunette)
I have to admit that I stumbled across the restaurant soon after you first opened and had a lovely dinner there. It has been a few months so I don't remember all of the things we ate but I found the food to be inventive and tasty. The service left a lot to be desired, the waiter was nice but did not know the menu well and when we asked for a Chimay the waiter didn't seem to know what that was and then she tried to serve it to us in a water glass. I assume that your problems with service have been worked out by now.
Do any other chowhounds have first hand experience with La Brunette?
I was laying low for the last few days since the DiFara fiasco.Now back to Williamsburg
1-Peter Luger-Despite the snarlyness of the staff
you cant get a better steak anywhere!
2-Relish-The best Catfish outside of New Orleans
3-Cheers-Porks Chops in the garden Yummy!
4-Spot-Great staff,Fresh Sushi
5-Hurricane Hopeful-Thank God for Ben! He makes a mean Chowder!
6-Driggs Pizza-The Driggs Special rocks!
7-San Marco-Plain slice done right!
8-Diner-Best cheesebuger in Williamsburg
9-Dumont-Neila is the nicest Waitress i can remember and the Sunday brunch is a winner!
10-Planet Thailand-I love the Alaskan King Crab
11-Matamoros-Fresh Sopes and Tortas
12-Cono-Best Italian food and Hero takeout
13-Fortunato Bros-After all that food you need some pastries and Gelato!
Thats off the top of my head.Im typing and Packing
for New Orleans for Quaterfest.
PS:Jacques im planning on trying you place as soon as i return from New Orleans
re: Philip DePaolo
Out of all the mexican places that are opening in the neighborhood Matamoros is the best (and least known).
I am surprised that Oznots is not on you list. Diner also offers a great brunch (The bloodys are the Bomb).
How about Joe's Busy Corner!!!! Their vegetarian sandwich is too good.
I actually really like the sushi at PlanEat Thailand but like the Thai food at Amarin Cafe better (on the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint), I think the burritoes at Valle de Mexico are pretty good (for burritoes in NYC) too.