A resurrection of Al B. White’s 1939’s vaudeville landmark, the “new” Retro Lounge serves up a menu courtesy of executive chef Nilka Hendricks, best known for her work on season seven of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Hendricks' diverse array of palette-pleasing dinner dishes ranges from the grilled rib-eye steak rubbed with jamaican jerk seasoning ($23) to the zesty shrimp and crab enchiladas with saffron rice and a lobster bisque sour cream sauce ($14). At lunch, guests can build their own sandwiches from more than 50 different fillings culled from beasts of the land, sea, air, and soil ($4.25–$5.25), or gobble up a slew of salads ($6–$7.50) or gourmet paninis such as the Brooklyn Avenue, with veggies slathered in goat cheese, olive tapenade, and balsamic-honey ($6.75).
Since 1988, diners have been struggling to decide whether Nautilus Cafe’s artfully plated dishes or its waterfront views are more pleasing to the eye. Today, Chef Brian Crofton and Chef de Cuisine Edwin Segovia continue the restaurant’s tradition of serving both classic preparations of prime steaks and maine lobsters, and their innovative twists garnered an OpenTable Diner’s Choice win for seafood in 2011. In the kitchen, they swathe tilapia in a macadamia crust and top it with champagne beurre blanc and mango salsa, and they roast long island duckling before serving it with a port-wine raspberry sauce. The chefs host two-for-one Lobsterfest every Monday and Steak Night every Wednesday, where diners pair boneless prime rib or a veal porterhouse chop with Brooklyn beer or a Grey Goose martini. If you look quickly at the dining room, you might be fooled into thinking you’re on a docked ship. Large, square windows tilt slightly to the outside of the restaurant, where Woodcleft Canal’s boats are docked and on display, and wooden booths call to mind a captain’s salon without the usual Popeye calendar. Wooden beams travel the length of the ceiling to the bar, where glasses swell with wines from California, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany.
At WET Waterfront Dining Lounge, every indoor and outdoor seat in the house has views of the water—the waters of the Woodcleft Canal, to be exact. Most of the eatery's dishes, such as the appetizer of seared, sesame-crusted tuna, hail from the water, too. House specialties, including the lobster mac and cheese or sautéed jumbo shrimp served over coconut risotto, draw on fresh, locally sourced seafood. The culinary team complements these plates with non-aquatic extras, including steaks and delectable greens. The WET salad, for instance, gathers grape tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives with crumbles of gorgonzola and ginger or balsamic dressing. Premium liquors await at the bar, where diners can partake of the extensive drink menu while watching one of several TVs. Ever true to its waterfront nature, WET also caters to seafaring guests by supplying them with complimentary boat slips.