If you're too hungry for the charcuterie and cheese of Spuyten Duvil, yet not quite famished enough for the meat fest of Fette Sau, Williamsburg restaurateur Joe Carroll has reopened his third spot, St. Anselm, which he previously closed because of the difficulty in getting a liquor license.
Now armed with a hefty wine and beer list, St. Anselm has ditched the original New Jersey-style sliders and sausages concept and now offers a refreshingly simple and affordable menu of grilled meats and vegetables. The menu's "Smalls from the Grill" work great as bar bites that are easily shareable among two or three. Start healthy with a well-seasoned Avocado & Shrimp ($8), a grilled half avocado filled with cooked shrimp and topped with a simple aioli and basil.
The Three Different Eggplants ($7)—specifically Japanese, Thai, and Italian—are each grilled and served with fried Montrachet cheese and caramelized onions. It's easily the best dish amongst the small plates, as the charred meaty flavor of the eggplants pairs perfectly with the tangy goat cheese and sweet onions.
Anyone who has spent some time in France will sing the joys of Radishes, Salt & Butter ($4), which St. Anselm makes its own by adding some Daikon radishes along with the traditional red. Rich Lescure Beurre des Charentes from France and grainy sea salt ensures the love affair with this classic combination lives on.
If you're willing to endure the numerous bones, whole Sardines ($10) from the grill are a salty delight. What makes them sing are the pickled lotus root, whose potato-like texture is a treat in and of itself.
Of course, if the "Smalls" don't satiate you, there is always the option to go "Bigs" with a good selection of fish, fowl and meats that range from Mackerel ($10) to Pork Chops ($16) to Ax Handle Rib Eye (for two) ($75). With a menu like this, Carroll may have created some serious competition on Metropolitan Avenue—for himself.
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