With a menu originally created by Top Chef alumna Josie Smith-Malave, the cooks at The Speakeasy Brooklyn craft comfort fare from around the world to plate amidst the brick-lined dining room's speakeasy-style glam festooned with gold curtains and candlelight. Dining duos can begin their global sojourn in America's backyard with tender barbecue-glazed baby back ribs, which evoke memories of neighborhood cookouts and hang-gliding on the talons of majestic eagles. Curried shrimp transports taste buds to Thailand with coconut milk and basil, and salmon glazed with citrus maple basks in an eddy of rice pilaf and string beans. Diners can appease warlord sweet teeth with bounteous offerings of flourless chocolate cake or summery peach-and-blueberry cobbler.
As chronicled on Free Williamsburg, the dry-aged and char-grilled steaks at DeStefano's Steakhouse are cut "as thick as the last Harry Potter book" before they're served atop heated plates. Executive chef Alex Golovin approaches the entire menu with an old-school sensibility that highlights classic cuts alongside houses take on chicken cordon bleu and seafood pasta dishes. These plates pair with a compact list of cordials, brandy, and scotch, as well as nearly 100 international red and white wines.
Owner Joey DeStefano is deeply committed to his area's history, courting "more of an old-school neighborhood crowd" than Williamsburg gentrifiers. But wherever you come from, Joey will try his best to make you feel like family. The familial atmosphere comes naturally, due to the fact that the restaurant inhabits the former home of Joey's mother and still houses several of his childhood sleds, each named Rosebud. Outside the brick building, old-fashioned lettering and a neon sign proclaiming "Dee's Corner" welcome guests inside, where family photos line the walls and a fireplace casts its glow on a pressed-tin ceiling.
New York Steak House's resident master chef assembles a menu of hearty steak house staples to serve in the restaurant's lavish dining room. Anchor drifting appetites with starters of Prince Edward mussels wading in white garlic sauce, or enjoy slivers of exquisite beef carpaccio drizzled with a garlic soy vinaigrette. Sides of mushroom risotto and broccoli rabe ride shotgun alongside entrees such as marinated skirt steak or a plate of chicken cordon blue, which, like a businessman's suitcase, conceals a reserve of prosciutto and mushroom sauce. Diners are surrounded by hand-stained copper ceilings and mahogany walls as well as stained-glass windows that cast a multicolored hue on mealing duos and quartets.
In the midst of Delmonico's sweeping murals, shimmering oak, glittering chandeliers, and gilded Age-of-Innocence accents, the menu glides in like an eyelash-fluttering ingénue to dazzle your taste buds. Delmonico's is, after all, the birthplace of the Delmonico Steak, Eggs Benedict, Lobster Newberg, Baked Alaska ($12), and the slightly less popular Mystery Bucket. If you want to venture off the culinary beaten path, treat yourself to seared Kobe beef with horseradish risotto, pomegranate, and crisped leeks ($17); blue crab cake with sweet potato hash ($19); and oysters "Diamond Jim Brady" ($19). If you can resist the siren song of the Baked Alaska, try the idiazabal cheesecake with truffle honey anglaise and pinot noir sorbet ($10). Give yourself a couple hours to peruse the encyclopedic wine list, which really should conserve paper by only listing the wines it doesn't have.
A restaurant, no matter its size, can be an intimate place. Bobby Van knew that well. If you'd walked into his first restaurant in the Hamptons 40 years ago, you might have found him playing the piano or slinging drinks behind the bar—inflecting the place with his personality, making a connection with the guests who dined there. He made such a big impression that 40 years later his name still graces a family of grills and steakhouses with a meaty legacy all their own.
The menu at each eatery opens with an assortment of salads and seafood appetizers, which may include delicate crab cakes or chilled lobster cocktails. Entrees may prove to be the hardest course to decide on, with a selection that includes lamb chops, fish, and steaks ranging from filets to sirloin to marbled porterhouses big enough to feed two, three, or four. Each space also holds a full bar stocked with spirits as well as wines handpicked by the sommelier.