Diner Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

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Diner HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
New York
Location: 40.710573,-73.965604
Open: Daily
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +1 718 486 3077
Address: 85 Broadway
Brooklyn, New York, 11249
Country: United States

Diner is the type of restaurant that makes us smile with joy! Some might be put off by the position (on the Brooklyn side of the river a block from the Williamsburg Bridge). Some might be nervous about pushing their way into this apparently shabby diner on a non-descript corner. However look beyond that to the calm energy of the staff and the eclectic mix of diners who find their way here and you will know that you are onto a good thing! The food is interesting and tasty and the wine has been chosen with skill to provide interesting matches to the food particularly the range of Gamay-based wines from Beaujolais and the Loire.
When you enter this fun establishment you will notice the wooden seats and tables arranged diner-style down one side of the bar and some more at the back. You will see the round, comfortable stools that line the bar. You will also admire the tiled floor and the Baltic pine window frames. The staff seem genuinely pleased to see you and ask for your seating preference. Some prefer the bar, some prefer the tables.
The menu is pared back to the minimum, but a friendly staff member sat at our table and talked us through six or seven specials of the day. She even wrote them on the paper liner on the table top to ensure we remembered.
We were tempted by every dish, but decided to start with the soup of the day which was cream of celeriac served with crunchy croutons, parsley and olive oil. This turned out to be a smooth, velvet soup punctuated by the crunch of the croutons and given additional interest from the leaves of parsley that floated within. A roasted cauliflower salad made good use of this vegetable-du-jour and with the brown-flecked flowerettes teaming with salad greens and a lightly fried egg to form an harmonious dish.
We then decided to move into meat territory for our next course so we ordered one of their fascinating selection of Beaujolais wines. There were nine listed from each of the important sub-regions such as Julienas, Saint Amour, Chenas, Fleurie, Morgon, Regnie, Brouilly and more. In addition there was a Bourgogne Passetoutgrain where Gamay shares the limelight with Pinot and then two Gamay wines from the Loire. We decided on the Georges Descombes 2007 from Regnie and it turned out to be a perfect match for what lay ahead. Descombes is one of a handful of Beaujolais winemakers who are producing wines using natural practices and low sulphur. The result is a wine that is alive and where the fruit flavours shine through.
With the bottle of Regnie safely opened we turned our attention to a dish of long-cooked beef served over creamy polenta and another of scrapple sandwich! The beef dish is self-explanatory, but the scrapple needs a bit more discussion.
Our waiter told us that the restaurant butchers its own meat and that they don't like to waste anything. Therefore they had made a terrine-like scrapple from the jowl and snout of a recently-butchered pig and were serving it in a toasted sandwich lined with lightly fried onions, fried egg and mayonnaise.
Both of these dishes were interesting, flavourful and amazing value-for-money. They also both worked perfectly with the Regnie.
We finished our meal with a lovely apple tart that saw apple slices sitting on top of stewed apple and quince with a small compote of stewed quince on the side.
Diner is a serious venue with great food and a well-chosen wine program. It is worth crossing the river to sample the delights here.

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