At South Fin Grill, the ocean breeze mingles with a menu of upscale seafood and steakhouse dishes praised by New York magazine. Amid what critic Ethan Wolff describes as a "priceless" ocean view, servers roll out lobster, crab, swordfish, and salmon incarnated as pasta, soup, and sushi dishes. The "turf" portion of the menu showcases grilled new york sirloin, filet mignon, and barbecued pork, but the focus once again turns seaside at a raw bar that features clams and oysters kept fresh by pearl-shaped breath mints.
Beams of blue and yellow lighting hover above the interior dining tables, each blanketed with a white tablecloth and centered with a flickering candle. Outside, the ocean deck's sea-blue umbrellas shelter views of the boardwalk, ocean, and seagull beach volleyball tourneys. The restaurant bolsters its elegantly plated cuisine with occasional entertainment acts, which have included DJs.
Diners recline on the aged-black-leather chairs at Christie's Steakhouse, sipping martinis as they watch as they watch international travelers drift in and out of the Crowne Plaza hotel. Servers emerge from the kitchen, nimbly juggling plates of Black Angus steaks, fresh seafood dishes, and artisanal pizzas. They set plates down on linen-clad tabletops, their faces illuminated in the glow of soft hanging lights and five glimmering widescreen TVs.
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.
The grand chambers of New York Steak House are lined with mahogany walls that run its length under hand-stained stamped copper ceilings, giving the space a classy, timeless feel. As fire crackles under the mantle, a musician might skitter fingers across the baby grand piano and diners peruse a menu of traditional steakhouse cuisine. Carnivorous selections include classic cuts of beef along with short ribs braised for six hours. Diners who choose seafood entrees might enjoy a sea bass or scallops with an Asian twist, not because it’s wrapped in bamboo, but because it’s artfully seasoned with sweet soy sauce, teriyaki, or ginger.
At Moldova Restaurant, diners don?t just run into their Brooklyn neighbors, they make friends with visitors from Moldova, Romania, and other Eastern European countries as well. This is because owner Radu Panfil and his culinary team labor over centuries-old recipes, ensuring only authentic Moldavian ingredients grace the menu. Traditional plates of stuffed chicken breasts topped with cheese, lamb kabobs, and carp fried in cornmeal join house specials such as the mamaliga trapeza?cornmeal encircled by assorted meats, cheese, sour cream, and scrambled eggs. These entrees, as well as desserts, such as stuffed dried plums or crepes with sour cherries and cream, have earned the eatery attention abroad, including in a Romanian piece for Radio Europa Libera.
And the food is not the only Moldovan staple of the restaurant. Panfil and crew take great pains to replicate the country?s old-world charm with traditional folk art and paintings, banquet hall-style seating, Slavic-patterned ceilings, and tapestries from the homeland. They also host live music, inspiring patrons to join hands in a joyful circle dance. And to amp up the festiveness during the holidays, they light up the dining room by dangling folk dolls and other appropriate d?cor from the soft wooded beams that cross over the white and gray ceiling.
Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar's hibachi chefs pull double duty, acting as entertainers in addition to grillmasters. They captivate large groups of diners with whirling knifework, dynamic spatula twirls, and the occasional spout of flame at tableside hibachi grills, flipping hot portions of lobster and chicken directly onto waiting plates. Behind the bamboo-finished bar, the sushi chefs move more slowly as they carefully seal colorful combinations of veggies, seafood, and vinegar-anointed rice within sheets of delicate seaweed. Like a poltergeist beauty pageant, not all of the talent is visible to the eye—the culinary team makes some of the restaurant's most exotic dishes, such as kobe beef sliders and wasabi-crusted filet mignon, behind the closed doors of the kitchen.