Brunch at Diner in Williamsburg
Deep down, I was less than thrilled when Linda recommended Marlow & Sons for our brunch date on Sunday. The restaurant's name definitely rang a bell, but it wasn't until I conducted further research-via menupages.com-that I put two and two together. Hadn't I seen this joint featured on the Travel Channel? Aside from not wanting to make the trek over to Marlow & Son) home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn because I'm intimidated by the neighborhood's "cooler-than-I'll-ever-be" hipsters, the menu was chock full of items that, frankly, did not tickle my culinary libido (pork belly, chicken liver pate).
Obviously, in the end, I surrendered and agreed to brunch at Marlow & Sons.
With Miss Emily in tow, the three of us (Linda being the third) made our way to Williamsburg. After a 15-minute walk from the Bedford Avenue subway station, we arrived at Marlow & Sons. We followed the rest of the hungry hipsters towards what appeared to be a "take-away" counter, of sorts. "I didn't come all the way to Brooklyn to eat a damn grab-n-go bagel," barked Emily. Luckily for us snobby-Manhattanites, we quickly realized that there was, in fact, a full-service restaurant just steps away.
From the outside, Marlow & Sons looks like one large space but, in actuality, it is divided in two. Towards the back of the building lies the smaller take-away shop/counter, serving baked goods at breakfast and sandwiches at lunch. A full-service restaurant, which goes by the name, Diner, encompasses the front (of the building).
Despite the fact that we arrived at 11am-which is early for brunch anywhere, but especially in Williamsburg-we still were quoted a 45-minute to an hour wait to be seated at a table. Luckily, there were three free bar stools at the counter, located smack-dab in the middle of the restaurant-the perfect spot for priceless people-watching from an elevated, bird's eye view. Within a matter of minutes of sitting down, the three of us commented on how lucky we felt to have arrived when we did, for the restaurant was now at capacity.
Diner's menus were hand-written on, what appeared to be, cash-register paper.
After Emily and our waitress/bar tender realized that they knew each other from childhood-and played a 10-minute version of the"Did you know that so-and-so is knocked-up?" game-we finally placed our food orders. For an appetizer, the three of us chose to split Sunday's special baked-good of the day: a homemade oatmeal scone, cut in half like a sandwich, and filled with a spoonful of strawberry-rhubarb jam and a dollop of Devonshire/clotted cream. The scone's crispy, caramelized outer crust gave way to a warm and moist interior that, while dense, still felt as light as air on my tongue. The rich clotted cream aided in cutting through some of the rhubarb's naturally tart flavor.
Though it took an unforeseen amount of time, our entrees finally arrived. My order, the Country Breakfast, was a plate composed of: scrambled eggs, lightly-dressed greens, and a homemade biscuit smothered with pork-sausage gravy. While not traditional by my standards, I did enjoy the scratch-made biscuit halves topped with the thin, dull-white, creamed gravy, liberally dotted with chunks of pork-sausage. Knowing full well that the kitchen's ration simply would not be enough for this Southern girl, I ordered an extra side of the gravy mid-way through my meal.
I couldn't help but notice that the color of the scrambled eggs were a vibrant shade of yellow, which was a pleasant reminder of my breakfasts in France (I assume that a stronger colored yolk means, like many countries in Europe, Diner sources their eggs locally and not from factory farms). The daintily-dressed salad greens offered a nice, "healthy" diversion from the buttery eggs and heavy biscuits'n gravy.
Conclusion: I need to get over my fear of hipster territories, swallow my pride, and practice saying the following in the mirror on repeat, "Girl, you may not have much fashion sense-keep up with the latest music-or wear black Coke bottle glasses-but damn it, take pride in your awkward self! Don't let the cool folk intimidate." All jokes aside, some of the best restaurants in NYC are located in further-than-your-comfort-zone (read 5 blocks in each direction) neighborhoods where, it's quite possible that, you may stick out like a local-yokel. But who cares? It's worth it.
Moral of the story: pound the pavement and get yourself out there; great food is just too important to miss!