Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brunch @ Diner, Williamsburg

We spent the weekend in New York and had an amazing brunch at the Diner in Williamsburg. The combination of local seasonal ingredients, tasty drinks, good company, and relaxing, sunny weather made for an ideal Sunday morning.

For the best bloody mary bar in existence, Sam and I usually turn to the East Coast Grill. It'll always be our go-to place for the drink (my favorite cocktail) in Boston. However, the version served at the Diner is arguably superior to anything I could fix up, even with the Grill's extensive bar. The Diner's bloody mary had a touch of herbs to it, garnished with sage flowers and pickled cauliflower, among other things. Because of the added punch of fragrance, it may very well top my list. I'm going to have to start experimenting at home to see if I can reverse engineer this deliciousness!

Jacob had an omelette with gruyere and salsa verde. Not a conventional combination, but it really worked. In all our dishes, the eggs were really fresh and bright.

Quite possibly the best fried oysters I've ever had. They were bursting with flavor and topped with a nice mix of lightly sauced herbs and fennel, over eggs. The Diner probably got them from Marlow & Sons next door, known for its fresh oysters.

Sam had biscuits and gravy, with a salad of fresh local greens. It's always nice to have something healthy and seasonal in your brunch! Also, on a side note, the portions were just perfect. Sam and I usually leave most brunch places engorged and on the verge of a food coma. But brunch at the Diner hit the spot, satisfying the tastebuds and stomach without going overboard.

Overall, a phenomenal brunch place! If I lived in New York, I would definitely frequent this restaurant.

Grilled Lamb with Spinach and Chickpea Stew

  • lamb chops
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt, pepper
  • chickpeas
  • carrot
  • celery stalk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoke paprika
  • 1 tsp corrianger
  • 1/2 tsp urfa peppers
  • stock

The night before, soak dried chickpeas in water and leave overnight.
In a food processor, combine 4 cloves garlic, rosemary, olive oil (about 1/4 cup), and juice from 1/2 lemon. Marinade lamb in this mixture overnight or at least for 2 hours.
After chickpeas have soaked, simmer with roughly chopped carrot, celery stalk, 1/2 onion, one crushed garlic clove, and two bay leaves. After an hour or two, drain the chickpeas and separate the chickpeas from the other ingredients.
Mince two more cloves of garlic, dice 1/2 onion, and cook in a saucepan over medium heat with 1 T olive oil. When the onions are soft, add chickpeas, spices, and chicken or vegetable stock to just cover the chickpeas. Let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Add spinach in batches and let it cook down. Season with salt and pepper.
While the chickpeas are simmering, grill the lamb chops. Serve with olive oil and lemon.

Crispy Red Snapper, Stir Fried Vegetables, Green Tea Sushi Rice with Furagake

Season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and cook over medium high heat in a non-stick pan with a bit of canola oil.

Julien carrots and bell peppers. Mince one clove garlic and 1 teaspoon ginger. Stir fry in a wok over high heat for one minute. Add snow peas. Season with soy sauce and a bit of rice wine vinegar.

Rinse sushi rice, add a tea ball with green tea, cook rice. When done, season with salt and pepper.