What Makes a Neighborhood a Home?

| October 21, 2012

Situated just off of a lively intersection in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Williams & Bailey embodies what a soulful gastro-pub should be. Cool without being trendy, lively without being overwhelming and most importantly, offering up a heartfelt selection of elevated comfort food and a seriously impressive collection of whiskey.

Launching off of the popularity of their highly praised East Village burger joint, Royale, Williams & Bailey continues to tap into that need for something comfortable and homey, yet somewhat edgy.

Columbian born Jim Peralta is a second generation restaurateur, with an unpretentious urban style of hospitality that offers an environment that is a natural breeding ground for regulars. He and veteran partner Ian Pearl fill a vacuous niche in this ever-popular Brooklyn neighborhood.

We waded into the deep end of the appetizer menu, with a tasty selection of savory treats including the Simple Red Oak Salad (balsamic vinaigrette, crispy fried shallots), Potato Pierogi (apple sauce, caramelized onions and sour cream), Tres Tacos (beef and chicken), Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Fried Chicken Wings (Buffalo style, or sweet). These could easily be considered standard fare, but the apparent quality, freshness, attention to detail and ever-present hospitality, brings that sense of belonging—a place that simply feels like home.

After my second Bourbon Sidecar, (which by the way was so delicious, that after trying mine, my date, for the first time in her life, ordered a bourbon drink) it was time to move onto the entrees.

The Chicken and Waffles were superlative and the Macaroni and Cheese and Tenderloin Tips well above par, but true to their roots, it was the Royale Burger that simply knocked my socks off.

For starters, picking a bun is serious business. Too spongy and soft and you end up with a soaked-through mess. Too hard and crunchy and you are in a sea of crumbs. All I know is that they pay a bit extra to deliver this deeply golden-brown, sesame seed bun, which holds up absolutely perfectly—not fighting to be the star, just an elegant supporting roll. The first bite was nice—the second, landed a bit of a wow effect—the third, I was already planning a repeat visit.

As delicious as the Molten Chocolate Cake and Apple Crisp were, it is this burger that continues to haunt me and I have already planned a trip to Royale, its proud parent.