I don't know what scares me about Williamsburg, but for one reason or another I'm never here. There's a ton of good restaurants I should be reviewing and exploring, and really it's not as far as I thought. I think I had this preconceived generalizations about mean, condescending hipsters and tons of traffic.
Ok fine, Gwynnett St, maybe Billyburg ain't all bad...
Gwynnett St is the brainchild of WD-50 alum Justin Hilbert and general manager Carl McCoy, who I met last night floating around the restaurant, and was extremely cordial and super-friendly (and no, I did not mention the blog). It is labeled "creative modern american" and each dish we sampled is full of complex flavors and interesting and fresh ingredients. It's an inviting space with dim lights and a casual yet romantic feel.
Gwynnett St has a lot of good going for it. The good is really good, but I'm still kinda torn writing this review. I'm breaking it down into the good, and the not great as really I did enjoy my expereince, some things were just, well, "not great".
1. The service is really wonderful. They couldn't have been further from the pretentious vibe I'd wrongly imagined. Everyone is super and overly friendly and accommodating. They are so helpful navigating the menu and go above and beyond in this category.
2. Presentation. Everything was so beautifully presented. You can tell the chef has worked with Wylie, as everything is so interesting to look at and colorfully vivid.
3. Whiskey Bread. Wow. Please order this (we ordered 2). It is a super crusty fantastic loaf of some sort of brioche / biscuit / irish soda bread served with cultured butter. WOW.
Gwynnett St also make some mean cocktails. They all have great names and the one we tried include the Whatever Dude, Mr. Pink, and Wadsworth. Besides for the bread, the dishes I most enjoy is the Cashew (tofu), cauliflower, black garlic and tumeric and the Cod with egg yolk, leek, and potato. The tofu was delicious and the waiter rightly suggested we get 2 for 4 people. I can't really tell you what they do to it, I can just say GET THIS. The Cod is another winner, and I'm not really a huge cod fan. I loved the runny egg on it (of course) and the flavors melded nicely.
The not Great:
Portions are kinda tiny. We went 4 people and shared everything, and a lot of that sharing meant literally one bite each. Some of the dishes were over stylized and more pretty than substantial. They were these beautiful tiny works of art, but not all that much food. Some like eating like this, I personally do not. I felt this way about both the Sunchokes with hazelnuts and alpine cheese, and the Puntarella with olive, pitachio and blood orange. Both were good, but small, I didn't get enough and hence didn't really enjoy. The Mahi Mahi with bok choy, turnips and dulse (no, i have no idea what dulse means) was just fair. Again, pretty to look at but I didn't love.
We're still hungry. Let's go for 3 (!) desserts. In order that I enjoyed:
1. Chocolate - rose hips, bulls blood. So pretty but also so good.
2. Coconut - really good and creamy.
3. Orange - chicory and cream. Kinda like a creamsicle
Neighborhood: Williamsburg, Brookyn
Bite Mark: ***
Good For: Special Occasion, Romantic, Fancy Food
Gwynnett St, 312 Graham St. 347-889-7002 www.gwynnettst.com