To some, a seven course vegetarian menu likely sounds like a nightmare. To others, a dream come true. Like it or not, South Williamsburg’s Semilla is doing just that with dishes that include pumpkin soup served in a small pumpkin, burdock arancini with miso aïoli, and braised celery root. Eater’s Robert Sietsema was impressed.
Like so many ambitious restaurants today, it began as a pop-up. Chez Jose was the brainchild of Jose Ramirez-Ruiz and Pamela Yung, who started out in a coffee shop down the street and then moved their temporary restaurant to the current space on Havemeyer, a skillet’s throw from the Williamsburg Bridge exit lane. Now the name has been changed to Semilla (“Seed”) and the place radiates permanence. While the pop-up preserved the fried-fish accoutrements of the former Lake Trout space, now the premises has been handsomely remade, featuring 18 stools along a horseshoe-shaped counter engulfed in a soft light. Half of the small kitchen remains visible at the open end of the counter, where two or three cooks bustle around, entering and exiting like actors in a play. The restaurants’ main offering — apart from a handful of snacks — is a 10-course tasting menu ($75) that was entirely vegetarian when a friend and I recently visited.
Semilla is now open for business in South Williamsburg.
Semilla, 160 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn; 718-782-3474. semillabk.com