Monday, July 22, 2013

Adventures in Brooklyn, Allswell Restaurant

Brooklyn is an odd place. Once of the largest cities in the US in its own right, Brooklyn a patchwork of different neighborhoods that grew up as suburbs and manufacturing districts around Manhattan. These days, that patchwork shows itself in the poor network of transportation between neighborhoods: the trains were constructed for the Manhattan commute. Sometimes, the only way to get between (for those of who don't drive or ride a bike) is to ride a train into Manhattan to come back into Brooklyn. From where we are, any trip to the trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg is an adventure. These days, it's tough for us to pack everything we need to spend a day out there, so we made sure to take a few extra trips before our child was born, to see what was happening.

Thankfully, it's easy to find something to make the entire trip worthwhile. Back when NYC was still frozen, we decided to venture to Williamsburg. The cold weather, while appealing now, left us unwilling to just wander, so I looked for a dinner option that would suit us: local food, carefully prepared, in a casual environment. After an afternoon of darting from store to store in a desperate attempt to outrace the brutal winds, we were glad to have a plan for dinner, the restaurant Allswell.

With a mixture of hearty, meat-centric dishes, the menu was stuffed with British, German, Italian, and French dishes in an American comfort food style. The big, hearty plates were perfect for a cold winter night, and the menu changes daily based on available fresh ingredients. Some interesting beer and a list of Old World wines let us select something confidently. The crowd was younger and the prices lower than many options in our stretch of Brooklyn, but the menu born out of their fresh and local philosophy was right up our alley. If only it were a bit closer, we would be back often.

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