The dining revolution in Williamsburg has largely passed me by, though I am hoping over time to rectify that.
I am not sure how revolutionary it really is, when so many places seem interchangeable—from a design standpoint, at any rate. I think the last ten Williamsburg restaurants I’ve read about could borrow the space at Le Comptoir with no change of décor. It’s as if the whole neighborhood was designed by the same firm.
The food is another story. The cuisine at Le Comptoir is rustic French, an under-represented genre in Brooklyn. No one seemed to care whether it looked French, but the food is pretty good for the price.
I’ve misplaced my receipt, but I recall a brief and somewhat over-priced wine list, which partially offsets the inexpensive menu, organized by food groups (poissons, legumes, viandes, charcuteries & fromages), instead of the usual appetizers and entrées. Nothing is over $20, except for a New York Strip steak ($29).
Bearing that in mind, we were quite pleased with Herb Crusted Tuna ($15; above left) with baby arugula & almond toasted pesto and white bean hummus; Pan Seared Scallops ($15; above right) with a parsnip purée and bbq reduction; and a large helping of Brussels Sprouts ($8; below left) with parmesan, balsamic, and brioche croutons.
That wasn’t quite enough, so we finished with the cheese board ($14; above right).
The restaurant wasn’t at all busy on a Sunday evening. We were seated at a large booth facing the open kitchen. I’m not sure if the menu changes often enough to sustain interest over repeated visits. Otherwise, it’s the sort of place I’d visit all the time, if I lived nearby.
Le Comptoir (21 Grand St. between Roebling St. & Driggs Ave., Williamsburg)
Food: Rustic, casual French
Service: Just fine; unremarkable
Ambiance: Distressed chic, like seemingly everything else in Williamsburg
Rating: Neighborhood spot
Why? Good, competent food at a very good price