I'm embarassed to say that the last time I ate in Brooklyn was almost two years ago when my sister (a Brooklyn native) took me to Sea. My trip to Williamsburg tonight was the coincidence of my recent boredom with Manhattan restaurants -- I feel like I've been to all of the restaurants in my price range that I'm interested in -- and the New York Times two star review of Dressler this week. The review meant that when my boyfriend and I walked into Dressler for our 9:30 reservation, the bar was packed and there was a 20 minute wait for our table. Fortunately, our excellent dinner ended up being well worth the wait.
The space at Dressler is beautiful, with intricate tiled floors, lovely backlit metal carvings along the bar and one wall of the restaurant, exposed red-painted brick on the other wall, and very ornate ceiling fixtures throughout. As my boyfriend said, the space is "old-timey," but in a way that is simultaneously comfortable and fashionable. The service was also great, for the most part. I was a little put off by the fact that the maitre d' didn't tell us that there would be a wait for our reserved table, even though I asked him explicitly whether there would be a wait (he said only that they were running "about on time" and that they'd collect us from the bar). But, our server was incredibly friendly and his dish recommendations were dead on.
The only dull point of our food experience was the bread--hard-to-chew bread sticks that I barely wasted my time on. From then on, everything was perfect. We shared the pan roasted scallops, which were perfectly prepared. They had a slight crust, but the insides were incredibly tender. These were the best scallops I've had in at least a year. The scallops were served with some very fresh citrus and greens. On our server's recommendation, I had the red snapper as my main course. The snapper was served with its very crispy skin still on, and the flesh of the fish was perfectly prepared. The dish came in a somewhat spicy ginger-soy broth with bok choy and enoki mushrooms. My boyfriend ordered the grilled center cut pork rib (medium), which he really enjoyed. I thought it was slighly chewy, but this cut tends to be a bit tough, and the dish was one of the best renditions I have had lately. The pork was served with white beans, a couple slices of pork belly, and a little savoy cabbage.
I ended my dinner with the pistachio semifreddo: a round cake (two inches in diameter, about two inches tall) of semifreddo over a thin layer of "brownie." This was absolutely delicious, and the nuts in the semifreddo added some nice texture to the dish. My boyfriend also enjoyed his peanut butter and chocolate parfait, a simple dish made great by fresh and carefully prepared ingredients.
Ditto the great review of Dressler. My husband and I went last night. We arrived early for our 7:15 reso and there was no wait but the place was packed by time we left around 8:30pm. Service was good but the food is the main attraction, as it should be.
The chopped salad was a refreshing starter with chunks of greens, feta, olives and more for sure. The Spring pea and fontina raviolini left me wanting me. The pasta was light and the peas were cooked to perfection. The broth makes you wish it was served with a spoon but I indulged in the bread to scoop it up.
They do a great job searing that fish skin because the striped bass was perfectly done too. It clung perfectly to the fish and didn't come off in one felt swoop. The chunks of fresh bacon in the sauce were smoky and tender. My husband had the cod and was happy too. I wish we had tried the onion rings 'cause I bet they're good too. Next time.
We happened to have the same parfait and semi-freddo for dessert. OMG. I wish I could eat them every night. Already made reservations to go back in a few weeks. This time at 8pm on a Friday night. We'll see if there's a wait then!
I have to agree whole-heartedly with the reviews here. I tried Dressler on Monday night with a group of three friends; I called around 1PM and got a table at 8:15 -- try that in Manhattan.
That aside, the food was the star. I started with a slightly cool pea soup with a lobster salad that was to die for, perfect for the weather we've been having. I had the pork, which was delicious with perfectly prepared white beans, and then the creme brulee for dessert (not my first choice, but my companions over-ruled me, but I wasn't disappointed). We also had the chocolate cake, which was great. My friends enjoyed their meals, including the halibut and the artichoke salad. We all agreed it was the best meal we've had in ages and appreciated its lack of pretension and accent on fresh, light flavors.
I also think it's very reasonably priced for the quality, care, service, and atmosphere. I'm hard-pressed to think of their competition in Williamsburg.
michelin stars in new york are just stupid...
that said, i think dressler is very underrated and a solid time. i rarely get excited about a restaurant in williamsburg. the place is beautiful...service is professional and friendly, food is very very solid.
its a very nice night out...like a classy and cool version of the meatpacking district in some weird way.