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new-ish places in Williamsburg

I just got a Zagat e-mail re: new restaurants, and I was surprised at how many of them are in Williamsburg: Alia, Blackbird Parlor, Elote, Il Passatore, Miranda, Mizu, Oak Cafe, Peter's Since 1969, Radegast Hall, tipicobk, Vinas, and Wild Ginger Pan-Asian Vegan Cafe. I had heard of some of these, but not all.

Anyone want to comment on any of these places? In particular, has anyone tried the Mexican place, Elote? I'm planning to go to DuMont this weekend, but I would love to try some new places my next time in the nabe....

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  1. we really enjoyed the venison sausage at radegast. i wasn't wild about the place in general (though the renovation is gorgeous), but that might be enough to draw me back

    do a search for il passatore. there is a recent thread, with much praise for the place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wleatherette

      I know you're supposed to go for the sausages, but man, the burgers at Radegast are pretty excellent! Also, go during the week, and you'll avoid the frat party...

    2. Oak Cafe was much better than I expected. I assumed it was going to be a typical greens-pear-with-gorgonzola gentrified diner type place but it's not. We went for dinner and I was blown away by their ribs. The people that own the place were happy to talk about the food. They explained how they prepare the ribs by marinating them in brine overnight and slow roasting them. Don't expect American BBQ though. You can taste the meat, not just the sauce. I assume this preparation comes from Europe or maybe Spain in particular, where one of the proprietors hails from. Really personable atmosphere and BYOB for now so bring a bottle of wine with you. Considering the quality it's also pretty affordable.

      1. Il Passatore. Very good.

        Radegast is ok. There was a major frat feel the night I was there, but I guess that's where the hood is going anyway. I liked the sweet potato fries and the brat was tasty - good mustard.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bosun

          Radegast is quite fun, but the two nights I've gone, it is quite fratty. I wouldn't say the neighborhood is going that way, but Radegast and SEA must be on someone's radar to draw some cheesy folks down the L line!

          1. re: chompchomp

            I would say the neighborhood is going that way, and has been for a while.

            1. re: Widmark

              It sure is. The hipsters will soon be out numbered by the clones. Ha! The eats are still good, but the company isn't.

        2. my 2 cents:
          Miranda: really nice food, sweet staff, but prices too high
          Elote: great brunch, dinner's just ok for the price, margarita's not so hot
          Oak Cafe: Only been once, but I had a really nice meal. No longer BYOB though.
          Il Passatore: Maybe I just hit a bad night, but I thought the food was bad. Pastas were decent enough but I had a chicken cacciatore that was just bland mush.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CobblerNYC

            I think that you may have had a bad night at Il Passatore. I have always enjoyed myself there. Although I have never had the chicken. I on the other hand am not too mad about Oak Cafe. They were out of everything when we went and I found that a bit odd, as they were just open. But who knows, everyone has a bad day. I just tried Mighty Diamond on Graham Ave, its a vegetarian place. I wanted to love it, not too much. But I might order again and see if it improves, they just opened a few months ago. We did like the Beer garden by the way.

          2. I've been to Elote several times for brunch (also when it was called Santa Fe and the menu was slightly different) and enjoyed it very much, especially when it was warm enough to sit outside on the back patio.

            Mizu is amazing for sushi. I am not a sushi snob or aficionado by any means (but I love it!), but Mizu seems to be a step up from the other sushi places in the neighborhood.

            I happen to love the Oak (but I also live by Graham). The tomato goat cheese soup with croutons in particular. Really cozy, never crowded, cool laid-back vibe. Even, dare I say, almost romantic. I also believe they now have beer and wine!

            Peter's has good takeaway chickens and soup.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Juniorpony

              I would like to politely disagree about Mizu. We went 2 days ago and ordered seafood shumai for appetizer. Imagine our shock when our waitress brought out a tray of microwaved frozen shumai that I buy so often at Asian markets. When I go to a restaurant, I expect not to be charged $5 for 6 little dumplings that sell for $3.99/24 pack and aren't that good to begin with.

              The sushi was decent (we didn't die or anything) but nothing to write home about. The yellowtail was definitely fresh, never frozen but the tuna and salmon were definitely previous frozen. Miyako on N 6th and Berry is still much better.

              1. re: StrawbrryF

                No offense, but I seriously doubt the yellowtail was never frozen and not just because I believe it's illegal to sell never frozen raw fish in the United States (other than tuna). I'm pretty sure Salmon is frozen 100% of the time all over the world. By the way, the chef at Nobu has said he can't tell the difference between fresh and frozen tuna.

                I agree with your overall point that it's not great, although it might be slightly above average for this kind of run of the mill neighborhood sushi place. The Mizu roll tasted like Chinese food to me although I liked it.

            2. Blackbird Parlour is a great coffee shop with pastries. Their coffee is pretty yummy and the dudes that work in there are easy on the eyes. Oak has the worst coffee ever. The only reason why it exists is because besides the chinese and mexican restaurants and pizzarias in the hood, it's pretty much the ONLY place that is designed to make you want to eat inside instead of taking it home.

              1. I've fallen in love with huckleberry bar. it's not a sit-down dinner place, more of a bar with really good eats, like chickenbone cafe was back in the day. I'm a pretty picky eater and they do really good things with simple ingredients. sometimes some of the ingredients are of lesser quality..some of the meats for instance but they are a young place and probably trying to keep their overhead low. Still everything is well-seasoned and inventive. I recommend the ham and beer cheddar sandwich, the sunchoke (and something) sandwhich, the cheese selection is well chosen, the cold meat platter (boar cacciatorrini mmm). I had a really good lamb stew there (even with my previous comment) They also make a mean old-fashioned. If you go, definitely stop in on a monday or tuesday when it's quiet and the staff can give their time and recommendations. The service is definitely a large part of the experience. Thursday through Saturday it's nuts.

                1. We went to Peter's Since 1969 on Sunday. We were desperate for dinner at 5pm, having skipped lunch and alas, this was one of the few places serving. We got a rotisserie chicken (which was plump, juicy and herb-y) with the sides of sauteed spinach, green beans and mashed potatoes. It was $30 for that and 2 drinks. We were really pleased with everything and it was a perfect big Sunday meal. That said, it's pretty casual, so I wouldn't go there for a big night out. Also, we really love the rotisserie Peruvian chicken at Pio Pio Riko in Greenpoint (it sells for a tidy $7.40 per bird). However, this is a nice alternative.

                  We also went to Blackbird Parlor the night before for some glasses of wine. Lovely, cozy and quiet. Another thumbs up for that place!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chompchomp

                    thanks for the report. sietsema gave it a pasting a few weeks ago, but i was still interested as it's ideally placed for picking up a chicken on the way home.

                  2. I've been twice now to Peter's and think Sietsema was spot-on with his review. I liked the chicken less than he did actually. Soggy, overcooked, under seasoned both times. Watery, flavorless beans on the side. It's a few footsteps from the train, but there's not much else compelling I can say...except that it's cheap.

                    Mizu I have tried a couple of times also. It's a Chinese run sushi place. They've got a blackboard of specials that includes chu-toro and uni, so I guess it's aiming higher than standard. Again convenient, but nothing particularly compelling.

                    The newish Chinese place down the street, Red Bowl, is a place I've found myself ordering from often. It's not in the "greasy chopstick" format, but not in the aiming too high category either. They seem committed to fresh vegetables and seafood, if not authentic Chinese dining. I like the "Vivian's Seafood Curry" named after the matron of the business. It's a mild curry with, lamentebly, chunks of pineapple, but otherwise chocked full of fresh seafood including two large head-on prawns, some mussels, whole scallops, calamari, and shrimp. There's also a piece of crab leg in every order- which I hunt for thinking they've skimped, but always manage to find. A seperate section on the menu lists Chinese vegatables and let's you order them plain steamed or in oyster sauce- a set-up convienent for rounding out a delivery order. And we got a noodle dish that wasn't bad. Interested to hear of other menu items.

                    Alia is the Middle Eastern place on N.6th. Just had a quick dinner a few weeks ago here. I had a very good piece of fish, the "Stuffed Branzini, baked whole fish, stuffed with tomato aioli salsa, served with seafood couscous and tomato chutney"
                    and some pretty good dolma while enduring ear skull rattling tecno-pop-arabic music.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Silverjay

                      In my experience, Red Bowl doesn't hold a candle to M Shanghai, and I won't be going back anytime soon.

                      Peter's: This is the only place around here where I can get the kind of food I had as a kid. Maybe it's just nostalgia. It's a nice break from the weirder things I usually go for. I think the food is excellent.