Immaculate Infatuation’s tour of Brooklyn restaurants keeps on rolling. After successful stops at Vinegar Hill House and Marlow & Sons, Dressler was next on our list. Truth be told, our first trip here happened on the same night as our initial visit to Marlow & Sons. That’s right, double dinners. That’s what happens when hungry friends from the West Coast are in town. Bruno Ybarra and Kelley Brogan of iTunes are as serious about their consumption of music as they are about their food, so we needed to maximize every free moment with high quality eats and drinks.
Serving a straight forward menu of New American classics like short ribs, pork chops, striped bass, and Chatham cod, Dressler puts a nice spin on wholesome simplicity. Dressler’s secret lies in their presentation, and the fact that entrees come garnished with things like caramelized endive, confit of summer squash, chorizo, spring onion, and black mission figs. Want to get our attention? Serve something swimming in sweet corn chowder and the chances of us ordering it will triple. My mild complaints are that the portions are a bit skimpy, and that they tend to cook with a tad too much salt.
Dressler’s interior is sweet. Sculptors from the Brooklyn Navy Yard helped create an industrial-chic vibe which is spacious, decked with comfy booths and an inviting bar. For Brooklyn, the prices are a bit steep, with most entrees falling within the $26-32 price range. The $45 tasting menu is tempting, but the a la carte options appear more desirable. Dressler offers Williamsburg locals a legitimate downtown Manhattan-esque dining option without having to travel over the bridge. Plus, it’s the perfect restaurant to keep in mind when you can’t get into Peter Luger across the street. Added bonus, Dressler offers no corkage fees on Monday & Tuesday nights.
Warm Artichoke Heart Salad
All of the press on Dressler raves about this dish and it’s completely warranted. A salad of arugula and white beans tossed around a warm artichoke heart. I’m not huge on artichokes, but I really enjoy this salad. Also, the artichoke dressing is fantastic.
Pan Roasted Diver Scallops
Yes, I write about scallops way too much, but it’s hard not to order up a plate that comes served with wild mushrooms, fingerlings, salsify, frisee, and truffle sherry vinaigrette. Perhaps a little heavy on the mushrooms, but the scallops were nicely cooked.
Served in a crepe under a bed of apple, frisee, and arugula with a horseradish dressing, this appetizer serves as a light balance to the menu’s more hearty entrees. It’s a cool concept and brings a nice fresh taste to the mix. Beware, it’s a tiny portion.
Fresh Herbed Ricotta Raviolini
A little too simple and a little too salty. We had high hopes for these raviolis after reading about people fawning over them, but unfortunately, we were disappointed. Although the pasta comes fully immersed in a squash and parmesan broth, the flavors are lacking. Ricotta can only take you so far.
Braised Pork Belly
I keep trying to stay away from pork belly because I eat it way too much. This time around I was ready to rock and roll with the alternate pork dish, the much hyped Dressler pork chop, until I was read the following special. “White wine and honey braised pork belly with Frog Hollow apricot puree served with caramelized endive and sherry gastrique.” What can I say? I got weak in the knees. Who can say no to that? Not this guy. Anyway, the pork belly was great. I liked the top portion better than the bottom because it had a nice crispy layer of honey glaze.
St. Louis Style Ribs
Honestly, I was a little too busy getting my pork belly on to truly give these the time of day, but everyone at the table enjoyed them. These ribs aren’t going to win a BBQ challenge, but the bourbon glaze is well executed, and for a dish labeled as a ‘small plate,’ you certainly get a fair amount of meat.
Day Boat Chatham Cod
I’ve saved the best for last, as this is easily my favorite item on the menu. I’d happily bath in the sweet corn chowder with chorizo and sugar snap peas that accompanies the cod. Sorry for the disturbing mental image, but this dish is that good. Pearl white with a nice crust, the fish comes prepared perfectly. I easily could have eaten two whole servings of this.