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A slightly upscale take on classic American dishes. Esme has a bright, relaxed ambiance and great food. Stick with simpler dishes like the Roasted Chicken or the Grilled Salmon with Roasted Fennel — Esme is at its best when they’re not trying too hard. During the weekend, grab a seat at their sunny bar, close to the espresso machine (their coffee is fantastic) for an ideal brunch.
This is a neighborhood spot through-and-through. At peak brunch times, you might encounter a short wait, but never long enough to give you the usual soul-sucking feeling that there are about 137 better things you could be doing with your Saturday. The space is light and bright – “cute” enough that you feel like a productive member of society even if you’re so hungover you can’t form sentences, but laid-back enough that you can wallow in your hangover without judgment. When it’s warm, there’s even a covered back patio that beats any wobbly-table sidewalk situation any day.
Updated American classics deliver “big taste” at this relaxed Greenpoint bistro, whose understated style features reclaimed church pews and subdued hues; craft (and draft) cocktails are mixed at a wooden-ceilinged bar under exposed-filament bulbs that create a soft, “romantic” glow.
This sunny spot looking out onto Manhattan Avenue turns into a candlelit date destination by night. Upscale American dishes are served in a cozy, warm room filled with wooden two-tops, with a raised seating area in front. The pork-belly appetizer is both crispy and succulent, with four meaty cubes sitting in a mix of sweet apples, cranberries, and cabbage. While Spanish white anchovies are bit underwhelming, both in portion and flavor, the “borscht salad,” appropriate for the neighborhood’s Polish heritage, mixes small Brussels sprouts with wedges of pickled beets and baby potatoes, all satisfyingly melded by rich butter and dill.