Whoa!! Living on the edge tonight because guess what, I’m posting about a restaurant in Brooklyn. Given it was one of my BEST friends Sonia Evers’ birthday, I left it up to her to pick the restaurant, and Reynards at the Wythe Hotel it was. I always love going to Williamsburg, I just need someone to drag my homebody-booty there. I don’t venture far in NYC unless summoned.
Walking down the peaceful, tree-lined Brooklyn streets led me to wonder immediately why I don’t live there myself. Sure, West Village is quite a Godsend in a city of chaos, but Williamsburg feels like a haven of care-free people ready to make-way as you pass them on the street. No need to worry about getting stuck behind a a group of slow tourists here – there’s enough room to walk around them! And as we entered the wide open restaurant space of Reynard’s in the Wythe Hotel, I confirmed that there’s in fact room to breathe in New York. It’s just hard to find in Manhattan.
But if Reynard’s is any indication of the food in the rest of Brooklyn (fortunately I know it’s not), then I don’t know if the peace and quiet would be enough to bring me back. While I loved the Joseph Leonard meets Acme cozy brasserie-style of the restaurant, the menu instantly disappointed me. None of the very few options struck me, so I opted for the mixed greens with blue cheese and pecans and the grilled swordfish with okra and pole beans. Sonia went for her emblematic dish – the roast chicken breast with polenta and wilted greens. Our salad had hunks of tasty, creamy blue cheese, but by no means exceeded my standard take-away Pluto’s salad with balsamic dressing. The large, raw filets of swordfish were chewy and slimey. The okra was even slimier. I then drove my fork over to Sonia’s plate to taste the chicken, which was just as flavorless and poorly cooked. Don’t they teach you how to roast the salmonella out of poultry in Cooking 101? The creamy polenta almost redeemed the downfall of the opposite-of-crispy skinned chicken, but the sweet mustard-smothered kale brought it right back down again. Fortunately, we had ordered a side of fries that removed the taste and nauseating feeling of uncooked, flavorless meat .
Generally I can make up for a bad meal with an awesome dessert. You’d think this place would have great desserts – there are great chocolate shops and bakeries in the surrounding area, and the casual and comforting vibe led me to believe that they’d have some sort of warm brownie with a huge scoop of ice cream. Instead, they had a sliver of a skinny brownie with a small scoop of caramel chocolate mousse, and while it retained an intense, chocolatey flavor, it just did not hit the spot we needed to make it worth serving as THE dessert for Sonia’s birthday. We left holding on to the positive thoughts of our chilled martinis.
I’m all about second chances, but given three out of four dishes were just plain bad, I can’t find it in my wallet to forgive this place. My next stop in Brooklyn will be Al Di La – a classic that I know will get me out ahead.
80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th Williamsburg