Rye is one of those extremely hip Williamsburg restaurants that make you realize that Brooklyn is more than a borough, it’s a blood type. Since its opening in the spring of 2009, Rye has received accolades from an array of significant critics, been lauded by the Food Network, New York Magazine, Time Out New York and The Village Voice, and is the proud recipient of the Michelin Guide’s selection for Best Value.
Born from the creative mind of chef/owner Cal Elliott, Rye is a classic neighborhood restaurant that takes you back to a simpler time—one that leaves your worries at the door and welcomes you with an array of delicious food so glaringly perfect in its execution and quality, that you wonder how they can deliver such a flawless product for such a reasonable price.
We joined the legions of fans by attending a Saturday brunch, and were impressed from the moment we entered the door. The décor is that of a 1930s speakeasy and each and every design element made you feel like you are taking a vacation from modern New York and stepping into a different era—one a bit more simple and apparently one with insanely delicious food.
We started off with the Homemade Cake Donuts, which were delivered in a stack of perfectly crunchy donut hole-type treats with an indescribably delightful dipping sauce. Then it was onto the classic Scotch Egg (hard boiled egg, sausage, bacon, frisée and Mornay) and the Duck Rilette (duck confit, house pickles and sourdough). Although the Scotch Egg was delicious, it is the duck that I am going to focus on here. I have an ongoing list that I refer to as “The Food of Gods” and by the second bite; this was added to that list—absolutely spectacular in every way! This alone for you Manhattanites is a reason to make the trek—even if you have to walk!
After sipping on some fresh-squeezed orange juice and pondering the extremely creative cocktail menu, it was time to move on to some entrées starting with the House Smoked Sturgeon (Boulanger potatoes, applewood smoked bacon, frisée, poached egg and hollandaise). This was another lip-smacking masterpiece that was rife with fresh ingredients and pure quality. I need to stop myself here. Before I run out of mouth-watering adjectives, I would be remiss not to tell you about the most delicious meatloaf sandwich on the planet. Starting with duck, veal, short ribs and a house-made barbecue sauce, this was no ordinary meatloaf. Slice open a fresh focaccia hero roll, spread the bottom with onion marmalade, toss some frisée in a horseradish vinaigrette and make a bed to house a thick slice and you are almost ready—but wait, there’s more! On top of the meatloaf pile on a mountain of buttermilk fried onion strips and you are in business my friend—really!
Rye’s casual elegance offers something for everyone. Be it an intimate dinner, or a festive get together with friends at the bar, this is one place that I will certainly frequent and one I will definitely never forget.