Best Slice, Best Breakfast, Best Burgers…. Williamsburg Gets Lots Of Love in New York Mag’s Best Of 2013 List

BrisketTown - Voted Best Breakfast by NY Mag

We feel spoiled. One quibble though… we don’t really consider an $115 tasting menu bar food. Still, we’re glad to see North Brooklyn get some love.

Best Miso Ramen:
Ramen Yebisu
126 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; no phone
Akira Hiratsuka ages his fresh Sapporo-style noodles for 48 hours to develop their slightly tangy flavor. He complements them with an elegant broth based on charred pork and lobster stock, sweet miso, toasted sesame, and an avalanche of chopped green onions ($12).

Best Patty Melt:
Parish Hall
109A N. 3rd St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-782-2602
Pat LaFrieda has nothing on this magnificent burger blend: It’s lamb bacon mingled with beef, and it’s rich and drippy and delicious in ways we’ve yet to fully comprehend. The decision to serve it with grilled onion and good Welsh-style farmstead cheese on butter-griddled planks of rye from the neighborhood Polish bakery is a stroke of genius that could spark a patty-melt craze ($15 with salad or fries).

Best Grass-Fed Burger:
Reynard
80 Wythe Ave., at N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-460-8004
Unlike many lean, gristly grass-fed burgers, this one is leavened with lots of juicy fat and topped, for good measure, with an optional wad of melty Gruyère for $16 including fries.

Best Double Cheeseburger:
Blue Collar
160 Havemeyer St., nr. S. 2nd St., Williamsburg; 347-725-3837
One theory behind the success of the double is that two thin patties are better than one: the top effectively basting the bottom with its meaty drippings, thereby creating an ideal ratio of juicy beef to squishy bun ($6.25).

Best Bar Food
Aska
90 Wythe Ave., nr. N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-388-2969
Depending on what’s on hand in his kitchen that day, the bar menu at Fredrik Berselius’s ascetic, Scandinavian-themed Williamsburg restaurant might include platters of plum-soft beef cheeks, fresh oysters “foraged” from the coves of Long Island, and fanciful Scandinavian-style hot dogs wrapped in tacolike rotis with relish and frizzled onions. If you have just one dish, however, make it the classic “potatis” potato dumplings ($6), which Berselius and his chefs stuff with a savory mash of cabbage and pork and serve, the way they do in the farm kitchens of Sweden, with smoky spoonfuls of farmer’s cheese and a sweet touch of lingonberry.

Best Breakfast
BrisketTown
359 Bedford Ave., nr. S. 4th St., Williamsburg; 718-701-8909
Far from the epicenter of midtown power breakfasts, in a neighborhood better known for late nights than early mornings, smoked-meat maestro Dan Delaney has created what might be the best way to start the day since ­biscuits met gravy. Delaney brings something new to the burgeoning breakfast-­taco category: his own succulent, white-oak-smoked brisket, a commodity so highly coveted that it sold out in online pre-orders before he even opened his Williamsburg restaurant, where hungry lines form for dinner service every night. Happily, that’s not the case during the day, when you can just pop in between 9 a.m. and 3?p.m. for the same lush, fat-streaked meat, mingled with cheesy scrambled eggs cooked with crème fraîche, pickled red onion, and a smoky chile-and-tomato sauce, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla (“I’d get my ass kicked by anybody that’s had breakfast tacos in Austin if I put it on a corn tortilla,” says Delaney). Time-pressed commuters can get theirs to go, wrapped in foil like a bodega egg-on-a-roll, and at $4 it costs about the same.

Best Brunch
Parish Hall
109A N. 3rd St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-782-2602
At its core, and absent all the post-yuppie cultural baggage, brunch is simply breakfast plus lunch. And what could be better than that? Nevertheless, there are those who claim to hate brunch. These poor souls have apparently never experienced a weekend afternoon in the spare-verging-on-spartan, skylit back room of Parish Hall. If they had, they would have encountered many exotic delights not typically associated with a New York brunch: an almost spalike, restorative vibe, spot-on $9 cocktails, a crowd of all ages, happy families, non-squealing tots. They even take reservations. Of course, all would be moot if the food wasn’t up to snuff. This is happily not the case. Even beyond the excellently eggy eggs, there are crisp-edged johnny cakes with bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup. Terrific housemade bacon and sausage. Savory oats mingled with roasted carrots, cauliflower, and parsnips. Two types of hash. A porchetta sandwich. And a wait staff that care as deeply about the food they’re serving (much of it sourced in season from the owner’s upstate farm) as they do about how you’re liking it. Like we said, Bizarro World brunch.

Best French Fries
Reynard
80 Wythe Ave., at N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-460-8004
Sean Rembold’s French fries ($6) are dispatched from his open kitchen dark and caramelized enough that you might mistake them for sweet-potato fries—a resemblance that so enraged the innate pommes frites sensibilities of a table of northern Europeans one recent night that they took their serving as a personal affront. For the rest of us, though, the stack of locally sourced, crisp-yet-creamy skin-on spuds seems kind of perfect: twice-fried in the traditional fashion, with an especially leisurely break between canola-oil dips; seasoned aggressively, as all fries should be; and served with the requisite bowl of housemade aïoli. If there is a secret, it’s a counterintuitive one in this local-and-seasonal era. Rembold finds that the less fresh his “wintered” potatoes are, the sweeter they taste. This might not be an epiphany of Noma’s “vintage carrot” magnitude, but the cellar age of your French-fried potato is something to contemplate the next time a craving strikes

Best Slice Joint
Williamsburg Pizza
265 Union Ave., nr. Scholes St., Williamsburg; 718-855-8729
All Aaron McCann was thinking when the Sunny Garden Chinese restaurant in his building closed and he decided to take over the space was that having a pizzeria directly below his apartment would considerably lessen the distance required to quell his pizza cravings. “I just wanted a decent slice without having to go eleven blocks,” he says. What he got, via a Craigslist ad seeking a pizzeria manager, was the services of one Nino Coniglio, member in good standing of the United States Pizza Team. What Tony Manero is to disco dancing, Nino Coniglio is to pizza twirling. The pair hit it off and, between them, assembled a crackerjack staff, albeit a non-pizza-spinning one. Now they have a minor sensation on their hands, with McCann running weekend deliveries himself to keep up with demand. For theirs is the type of old-school place whose slow decline hand-wringing slice hounds have been bemoaning for years: gas oven, paper plates, and a deeply satisfying, classic New York slice ($2.50) made with aged mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. Coniglio’s own fresh mozz and grandma pies might be even better. The ultimate, though, has got to be the square kale-sausage-and-­Taleggio slice. It’s Old Brooklyn meets New on delectable term

Comments

  1. dunno about Williamsburg Pizza getting a nod, I’ve had way better slices in the neighborhood

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