1or8 - New Sushi Restaurant - South Williamsburg

The new restaurants just keep on coming to the Burg. This time, what the neighborhood definitely needed, a high quality Japanese restaurant.  1or8 - Atelier of Food, has been open just two months, and is located in a quiet stretch of Williamsburg, at the corner of   South 2nd and Wythe. 

The restaurant specializes in sushi - with an extensive selection, including special fish flown daily from Tokyo.  Along with the usual sushi selections, there were items that most ordinary sushi restaurants don't serve, like Ankimo (monkfish liver) and Anago (sea eel).  While we didn't try it on this visit, the Omakase is recommended, and features sushi chefs formerly of Jewel Bako and Sushi Samba. The appetizer selection is quite diverse and tasty as well, with special dishes ranging from Yellow tail Carpaccio, to Short rib croquettes.

The space is big and ultra modern, with white washed brick walls, and white furniture- all very reminiscent of Morimoto.  While some may think the decor doesn't fit the neighborhood, it seems 1or8 is purposefully trying to set itself apart as a destination restaurant within Williamsburg.

What makes it good:
- Fresh fish flown daily from Tokyo
- Omakase option available at $40 per person at the Sushi bar
- Extensive sake and cocktail selection
- Open late (2-3am) and a nice big bar in front if you just want to have a drink and lite bite

Know before you go:
- A bit fancier than most restaurants in the burg, and the bill can add up
- Not very crowded yet

1or8   http://www.oneoreightbk.com/
66 South 2nd Street Brooklyn NY 11211  |  718-384-2152

Dram- New Mixology Bar on South 4th

Lot's of new places opening in the Burg this summer. Dram is a cool new bar that just opened across from the also newly reopened Pies & Thighs. 

The bar is completely wood paneled, with huge open windows, for an all around unique vibe.  Drinks are classic cocktails, and some specialty concoctions like the "Knuck if Buck" Buck (Rye & House ginger beer). 

If anything, stop in and have whiskey while you wait for your fried chicken from Pies & Thighs.

Dram 177 South 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 

Fatty Cue- New Asian BBQ in South Williamsburg

Great new South Asian influenced BBQ restaurant just opened in south Williamsburg. Think slow roasted pork, fish and other meats, with sides of curries, lots of chili and steamed buns.

What makes it good:
- An alternative to the usual Williamsburg comfort food
- Friendly and attentive staff
- Cool, fun vibe
- Great bar

Know before you go:
- Packed on weekends. If there is a spot, eat at the bar - it was quick and the service was great.
- Portions are fairly small, so try a bunch of dishes

Recommended dishes:
- Whole Mackerel with chili-lime dipping sauce
- Beef Rendang
- For dessert- Fatty Bar Dark with almonds, chili, and sea salt

Fatty Cue 91 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211  (718)-599-3090

ReelTasty - Brooklyn Supper Club

Supper clubs combine the quality of a restaurant meal, with the familiarity of breaking bread with friends. One recent summer night, we had the pleasure of attending a supper club held on a spacious roof deck of an apartment in Greenpoint.

The night started with drinks, including a potent homemade sangria, and appetizers - candied bacon peanuts, goan avocado salad, hanger steak bruschetta, and corn & mushroom fritters with a spicy dipping sauce. Though some of the guests new each other, most were only distantly connected, so in addition to the great food, the other nice thing was a chance to meet a whole new circle of people.

Dinner was served after an hour or so. The table was set for 16, with specially printed menu's folded into paper airplanes, in honor of the movie to be shown. The meal that followed was excellent. The dishes complemented each other well, and included prawns with yogurt sauce, a vegetable cous-cous, and my favorite, an Indian roasted chicken, which had just the right amount of spice and was succulent and tender.

Prawns with Yogurt sauce, & Vegetable Cous-cous:

Indian spiced roasted chicken with chickpeas:

One twist from other supper clubs, was that following the dinner movie was projected onto the building across the deck. This night's selection - Airplane. Of course, the hosts kept the food going through the movie and served home made popcorn, and shortcakes for dessert.

All in all, a great and unique experience - highly recommended. This particular supper club was co-hosted by two friends, who aren't in the restaurant business, but definitely have the knack for it. Check out Reel Tasty Brooklyn for additional pics, recipes, and information on the next supper club event.

Blue Ribbon Sushi - Park Slope

Sushi is everywhere in NY nowadays.  You can get cheap rolls from delis, and fairly tasty takeout from any of hundreds local sushi spots.  In many ways its become a commoditized part of our food culture. But if you're a sushi fan, there's nothing like treating yourself to an authentic sushi restaurant. There's probably a few dozen of such spots in the city, and at all, sushi is still treated as delicacy.  

Blue Ribbon Sushi's Park Slope outpost, definitely falls in this category.  The restaraunt is on the nicer side, but still inviting.  It's spacious and bright, with a long wooden sushi counter and  twenty or so tables and booths. I prefer sitting at the counter, to see the sushi chef in action, and for them to see your reaction when you try their creations.

The menu is extensive, with a number of hot dishes, dozens of appetizers, and an extensive assortment of rolls, sushi, and sashimi combinations.  The age dashi tofu was perfectly crispy and great hot dish to start with. Also tasty was the lightly seared bonito, with yuzu  

For the sushi, it's best to ask the waitress what's fresh that day and what's recommended from the page of daily sushi specials, but you can't really go wrong with whatever you pick.  There are some interesting rolls-  the salmon and ikura melted in your mouth. But overall I would say stick to individual sushi and sashimi over rolls.  The kanpachi (amberjack) was fresh and had great thick texture.  The special anago (sea eel) melted like butter, and is far tastier than the usual unagi available in most restaurants.  If you've never tried uni (sea urchin), this is a good place to start.  The botan ebi (shrimp) sushi came with the body raw and the head deep fried and edible, a nice combination.   To end the meal we had a maki roll with plum, cucumber and shiso. 

What Makes it Good:
It's  all about the quality of the fish, and the subtle flavors added

Know Before you Go:
- There can be a wait on weekends
- The sushi can add up, its not cheap
- There's a branch in Soho, but its not as good

Recommended Dishes:

- Age Dashi Tofu
- Salmon and Ikura Roll
- Spicy Lobster wrapped in Egg Sashimi
- Anago, Uni, and Botan Ebi Sushi

Blue Ribbon Sushi - 278 5th Avenue (bet. 1st Street and Garfield Place) - Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215

NYSimplified on Twitter

For all those with short attention spans, you can now follow us on Twitter @ NYSimplified.  We'll be adding more frequent reviews of restaurants and bars in NYC. 

Larry Lawrence - Hidden Bar on Grand Street

Unless you look carefully, you're likely to walk right past the entrance of Larry Lawrence, a chill bar on Grand Street in Williamsburg.  The entrance has a simple sign that says bar. Once through the speakeasy-esque wooden door, you walk through a long dimly hit corridor to get to the main space.  Its a big space, with exposed brick walls, wood panels, modern furniture and a long bar. The vibe is chill, and the crowd is mixed (not another hipster hangout).  Drinks are cheap, and even smokers are treated well - there is an elevated outdoor smoking area. The bar is also used as a space for photo shoots, weddings, and other events during the day.

What makes it good:
- There's something satisfying about "discovering" a hidden bar

95 Grand St Brooklyn, NY 11211-4406 - (718) 218-7866

Hotel Delmano - Cocktail Bar on Berry Street

Good restaurants and bars tend to cluster together, and that is exactly whats seems to be happening at the corner of North 9th and Berry. On one corner you have Silent H, on the other Miranda, and then there's the Hotel Delmano, a cocktail bar that shares the intimate and classy vibes of its neighbors.

From the outside, the Hotel Delmano does not call much attention to itself. With oldish looking frosted glass windows all around, and a simple sign by the door that says "Bar", it would be easy to walk by this place, if not for the usual steady flow of patrons coming and going. When entering, you feel like you are stepping into another era, like someplace out of the Great Gatsby. The lighting is low and dim, the furniture is vintage brasserie style, and the bar is long with plenty of seating, and backed by shelf after shelf of bottles reaching to the high ceilings. The crowd here is a little older and a little cooler than your usual Williamsburg hipster hangouts.

While there are small snacks available like cheese and meat plates, patrons seem to brave the waits (yes there can be wait to get in on the weekends), mainly for the cocktails. In addition to the dozens of types of rums, whiskeys, brandys and other liquors on hand, the Delmano makes some killer cocktails. On my last visit I tried a concoction that included rum, egg whites, chartreuse, amongst other things. Between the taste and the beautiful presentation, you can tell that these bartenders take pride in their craft.

What makes it good:
- Intimate, classy vibe
- Well made cocktails

Know before you go:
- Friday and Saturdays can mean a wait at the door
- Drinks range from $12- $14

Hotel Delmano
82 Berry St (at North 9th), Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718)-387-1945

Egg- Southern Brunch in the Burg

One of the nice things about eating out in Williamsburg, is that you rarely have to wait in line for a table. You especially wouldn't wait in line for a table for brunch. But every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, without fail, there is a line of people outside of Egg on North 5th Street.

Egg is set in what could be mistaken for a garage. In fact it may very well used to have been a garage. Its a long, narrow unadorned space with small wooden tables, squeezed together and an open kitchen on one end.

If the atmosphere isn't that exciting, its the food that doesn't disappoint. The brunch menu has tasty traditional southern breakfast dishes like Biscuits and Gravy, Eggs and Cheese Grits, and Country Ham. The sides are just as good, with crisp bacon, sausage and crunchy hash browns.

For good, hearty southern food Egg is worth the wait.

What Makes it Good:
- Theres no health food on the menu
-Sometimes you just have to have biscuits and gravy for breakfast

Know Before you Go:
- Egg has just extended their hours- From 9am on weekends and open for lunch and dinner.
- Breakfast is available all day

Recommended Dishes:
- Cheese Grits
- Eggs Rothko

Egg 135 North 5th Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn (Between Berry and Bedford) 718-302-5151

Walter Foods - Williamsburg Raw Bar

As much as Bedford Avenue is the street for pizza joints, coffee shops, and other hipster hangouts, Grand Street is developing into a serious destination for those looking for good restaurants. Walter Food, at 253 Grand Street, just recently opened, and offers a raw bar, seafood and meats. It is rare for people in Williamsburg to actually agree to wait for tables, but here customers endured 30-40 minute wait because the place looked that good.

With large picture windows facing Grand Street, the newly renovated space has classical feel. A long wooden bar with fifteen or so high stools lines one side of the restaurant, and comfortable booths and tables fill up the rest. When I went last Friday night, the place was filled, with many drinking at the bar waiting for tables to open up. We started at the bar and enjoyed cocktails from a drink menu that contained many classic American cocktails. I started with a very stiff Tom Collins and we had some fresh oysters from their raw bar.

As an appetizer, the grilled shrimp was perfect. Just the right mix of crisp outside and juicy inside. For entree's, we went big and had the Surf and Turf and the Filet Mignon. The lobster in the Surf and Turf was very tasty and juicy, though the portion could have been bigger. The lobster came with a strip steak that was good, but would have been better if I had ordered it cooked more. The dish was served with a side of "crushed potatoes" - think slightly crispy mashed potatoes, and various greens. Overall a very good dish.

The Filet Mignon was the best. It was served with similar sides, but was so soft and succulent that it just melted in your mouth. The pepper sauce on top gave it an extra kick that put this over the top.

Walter Food had all the right elements to make it a restaurant that will keep people coming back. Stiff drinks, a comfortable but classy atmosphere, fresh seafood and savory steaks.

What makes it good:
- Fresh seafood and great steak
- Classic retro restaurant atmosphere

Know before you go:
- The bill can add up
- There can be a wait, but you can eat comfortably at the bar

Recommended dishes:
- Shrimp appetizer, Oysters, Filet Mignon

Walter Foods 253 Grand Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn (between Grand and Roebling) 718-387-8783