Delaware and Hudson *

Delaware and Hudson
135 N 5th St,
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 218-8191
Official Website

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the epicenter of hipster nation, has a glut of places to eat and drink. Along with highly rated restaurants, there are Michelin starred venues scattered throughout the neighborhood including Delaware and Hudson. Its Chef and owner Patty Jackson, is a seasoned veteran of the New York City culinary scene with an impressive cooking resume. Starting as a pastry chef, she was the Executive Pastry Chef of Alto before taking on the Executive Chef position for both Centovini and I Trulli simultaneously. In 2014, Chef Jackson opened Delaware and Hudson, a 40-seat seasonal American restaurant.  Her Mid-Atlantic inspired cuisine at the restaurant was well received by both critics and the dining public. Garnering one star review from the New York Times as well as being named as one of their best new restaurant in 2014. Less than a year later, it earned its first Michelin star, which by itself an incredible feat.  With the Michelin star, Chef Jackson joins a very select group of female-led kitchen with this accolade.

The restaurants interior is simple and plain. It has bare wooden tables, exposed ceilings, epoxy coated floor, and walls with framed photographs of vegetables. Adjacent to the dining area is the bar room, also known as The Tavern.

A la carte menu are offered for lunch, brunch and all day at The Tavern. At dinner, the only option is the $68 pre fixe that consists of four courses, and diners are allowed to choose their entree.

My meal started with a parade of snacks placed in front of me simultaneously. The pretzel rolls were freshly baked and still warm. The savory cup cheese custard with chow chow was thick and heavy. Cutting down the richness of the cheese was its relish topping.  House-cured duck pastrami, damson plums has a tremendous of amount cured flavors that was enhanced by its mustard like sauce. The smoked mackerel pate with radish presented on top of thin crispy bread yields a deep oceanic essence with a touch of profound smokiness.  Served on the shell, were the crispy fried malpeque oysters, kohlrabi slaw that had a nice briny sweetness to it. Sour-braised meatball, ginger snap gravy was scrumptious with good lingering sour note. There is also a gingery spiciness from the gravy that complemented the meatballs.

The first course was the potato and cheese filled dumplings, country ham, and brussels sprouts, walnuts.  In this hearty dish all the component play a significant role. The bacon’s saltiness provided the flavor while the walnut gave the dumplings the extra texture that it needed.

Dining with a companion, I was able to sample two of the four main courses available on that evening. The Atlantic cod-parsnip puree, roasted carrots, sauteed greens was a superbly cooked piece of cod placed on a bed of sautéed vegetables. It was tender yet also firm and the puree of parsnip provided a certain nuttiness to the dish. Hasenpfeffer-rabbit leg, roasted corn mush, oyster mushrooms is a traditional German rabbit stew brought by German immigrants that settled in the Mid-Atlantic States in the mid 1800’s. The rabbit leg was seared with a beautiful layer of crispiness; on the other hand the inner part was juicy and flavorful.  The earthiness of the mushroom and carrots combined with the roasted features of the corn mash made up a pleasant accompaniment to the rabbit.

For dessert I was served the chocolate cake, with vanilla mouse and banana, which was dosed in sweet syrup. There was nothing special about this dessert, but there’s no better way to end a meal than with chocolate and vanilla. Petites four were brought by Chef Jackson herself, and consisted of more chocolates.

The meal was pleasant and enjoyable. Each plate had very good flavors that were uncomplicated. The food was neither simple nor complex, but rather prepared with solid cooking technique driven by fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms in the surrounding area. The restaurant has terrific collection of craft beers and ciders from New York and the Mid-Atlantic States, as well as a modest wine list. By the glass options are reasonably priced, and there are plenty of both red and white bottles below the $60 mark.

The staff had a good deal of knowledge of food and drinks. Service was smooth, efficient and has a relax attitude that was a perfect fit for the neighborhood. Delaware and Hudson has a casual vibe. During my visit on a Saturday evening, the restaurant was bustling with an eclectic group of guest from all age range; some are dress to impress while others are with their jeans and t-shirts.

Dining trends these days stay away from white table cloth, immaculate dress wait staff and the formality in service. Instead, chefs and restaurateurs shifted their focus more on the food and less on the settings. Now, there are casual restaurants that serve multi-course meal prepared in ultra-modern techniques with global influences and a hefty price tag. Delaware and Hudson followed this trend halfway and was able to succeed. They offer very good tasting food without the fireworks that produces the wow factor, a relax atmosphere, and a price point that is approachable to many.

Dressler

FSCN3660

Dressler
149 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 384-6343
Official Site

Recently Brooklyn’s culinary landscape has rivaled that of Manhattan. Its residents no longer need to cross the bridge to enjoy a wonderful dinner. The borough is now home to NY Times rated and Michelin starred restaurants.

I rarely come to Brooklyn to eat or drink and I can basically count on one hand the places that I’ve visited. Living in Manhattan has given me the snobbery attitude that there’s no restaurant better than my home borough, but I do admit I was wrong.

The neighborhood of Williamsburg is a testament that Brooklyn is now a dining destination; there are restaurants on almost every block right next to each other. The south side of the neighborhood, away from the bustling Bedford Avenue is where you will find Dressler, a Michelin starred restaurant for the past six years and one of only six starred establishments in the borough that 2013 guide has awarded. The restaurant sits across from the famous Peter Luger Steak House (another Michelin starred restaurant) along Broadway and a few blocks away from the J and M Marcy station making it accessible to people travelling in from Manhattan.

There were so many good things I’ve heard about Dressler that when it was time to venture to Brooklyn it was my first choice. Unfortunately, with the departure of Executive Chef Polo Dobkin in September of last year there was some hesitation on my part to visit, especially with an average price of $35 an entrée. I never had the chance to dine here when Chef Dobkin was still manning the kitchen, but after multiple visits I was convinced, he left Dressler in good hands.

The New American menu has very good entrees that justify its lofty prices; like the Pan Seared Stripe Bass with broccoli and sun choke cream. The fish was cooked properly and the nice crispy skin was complimented by the sun choke cream. The Long Island Duck Breast was another succulent dish as was the Roasted Chicken with smoked onions and parsnip puree. The chicken was well seasoned and roasted to perfection while the puree added additional moisture to its texture.

 

 

Dressler has several starters to choose from, the two that I enjoyed the most are the Grilled Octopus made with chickpea and roasted tomatoes and the Chicken Liver Mousse served with onion jam, pickled ramps, and bread. Chicken liver is not for everyone, but in here this dish was spot on. The octopus on the other hand has a nice texture and the roasted tomatoes added another dimension that tantalized the taste buds. Although these starter dishes average $12 to $19 it’s a norm for New York City.

There are about six selections in their dessert menu that were pretty stellar, like the Maple Panna Cotta. This was a wonderful dessert to end a great meal; the sweetness was low key not at all overpowering to the palate. There’s also the Warm Gingerbread and its potent rum sauce that is balanced out with the pumpkin ice cream making this yet another delightful dessert.

Not only does Dressler possess a formidable wine list but also a host of creative cocktails. One being the Grace Jones, a cocktail made with rum and allspice dram which adds a hint of spiciness. There’s also the light and refreshing Ingenue, cucumber vodka, Prosecco, and St. Germaine for sweetness. This drink goes down smoothly, which can be dangerous if more than a few are drunk as the night goes on.

 

 

The restaurant is handsomely decorated with artisanal metal works that are displayed throughout its interior. In the front is a long galvanized iron bar top with high chairs that are made of steel. It is crafted beautifully and seems most likely to weigh a ton. There are exquisite chandeliers that create a dimly lit dining room. Large mirrors hang on the brick walls, which are painted in red, while black wood tables and chairs complete the space. Giving the impression of what an 18th century establishment might have looked like.

Dressler can be loud on busy nights, especially the front where locals and out of borough guest wait for a table. The music is not too overly loud that you need to shout for yourself to be heard but it isn’t soft either. In one of my visits Talib Kweli was playing in the restaurants background adding to the BK atmosphere.

 

 

The website states that Dressler is a “fine dining in Williamsburg” but it’s more of a casual restaurant. The service and hospitality exceeded my expectations. They provided impeccable service that can definitely be found in fine dining establishments. The servers were engaging and knowledgeable, very accommodating to make sure their guests have an excellent dining experience.

Twenty years ago crossing the bridge to dine in Brooklyn was unheard of. The borough has evolved; gentrification has sprouted restaurants that are very good and worth a trip. All though Manhattan might still be the gastronomy capital of New York City, Brooklyn has closed the gap in recent years and Dressler is in the forefront of that evolution.

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