Pizza at Williamsburg Pizza
There's certainly no shortage of good pizza in New York, but there are precious few top notch slice shops left in the city. Luckily for Williamsburg, the slices that come out of the Vera Forno oven at Williamsburg Pizza are top quality. Awesome mozz (housemade is an option), strained San Marzanos as a sauce, and a nicely charred crust make this way more than a drunk slice.
Williamsburg Pizza: 265 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (map); 718-855-8729; Open Until: 11 p.m. Mon-Thurs; 12 a.m., Fri-Sat; 10 p.m., Sun
Tacos at Tacos Morelos
With a taco truck like Tacos Morelos nearby, there's no need to head out to Sunset Park to get your fill of tender braised meats and spicy salsas. The filling options are numerous, and most menu items can be ordered with whatever filling you'd like (even if it's not listed as an option). Barbacoa is their specialty: seasoned goat meat steamed until it falls apart into tender, moist shreds. It's relatively mild as far as goat goes, but you might find yourself with a couple of gamey bites here and there. There's plenty tacos that are worth ordering, but in our humble opinion, is the one to get.
Tacos Morelos: North 7th Street & Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 347-772-5216; Open Until: 24 Hours, Daily
Fried Chicken at Pies 'n' Thighs
Some might wish for more crunch or more spice from the crust, but there's no denying this joint makes some fine fried chicken. Though thighs may get top billing here, the breasts are just as tasty—brined to stay salty and moist, with crust that stays firmly adhered to the skin.
Burger and Fish Sandwich at Dumont Burger
DuMont Burger rightfully gets its name for its commendable burgers, the crowning dish gracing many a best NYC burger list. Juicy and flavorful, with just a little bit of char, this behemoth of a patty is topped off with slices of sweet pickles, red onions, a fat tomato slice, and soft butter lettuce. But if you've got a hankering for something other than a burger, the menu has a few good options in the mix, including a great fish sandwich. It's a simple assembly of fried skate and homemade tartar sauce (served on the side, better poured on top of the fish) between a lightly toasted fluffy brioche bun. Like the burger, it comes with pickles, tomato, and onions to balance out that wonderful deep fried richness.
Plain Slice at Anna Maria Pizza
It's big, it's greasy, it's a little too cheesy, and the sauce is a little too sweet, but the crust is always crisp and tender, and it always seems to hit the spot after a night out in Williamsburg. Anna Maria specializes in wackiness like avocado slices, chicken, and chopped romaine salad-topped pies, but we'd recommend sticking with the plain slice.
Anna Maria Pizza: 179 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 718-599-4550; Open Until: 2 a.m., Daily
Fried Pig Tails at The Brooklyn Star
Brooklyn Star is more of a sit down restaurant than a place to drop in for quick bite, but there are plenty of small plates to snack on while sipping on one of their cocktails. For that perfect porky bite, we suggest the fried pig tails. They're about as fried as a piece of meat could be—thin tender, juicy shards of meat hiding under a crazy chewy-crisp crust. Even those skeptical about non-conventional pig parts should feel comfortable with these; the funkily segmented bones and gelatinous layer underneath may seem a bit alien at first, but the taste is all pig. They come served with jalapeño-onion hush puppies that are deeply brown, corny and soft, delicious.
Pizza and Meatball Parm at Best Pizza
Lots of eateries like to label themselves as the "best" but rarely do they live up to the title. But when it comes to Best Pizza, they really mean it--this pizza joint serves some of the tastiest by-the-slice pizza around. It's not just the pizza they've got down—they make some awesome sandwiches too, including a meatball sandwich that our Overlord Ed Levine proclaimed "the best meatball sandwich I've ever had." Made with a mixture of Pat La Frieda short rib, spices and herbs, some Pecorino Romano, and a little ricotta, this is a meatball sub you won't want to put down.
Miso Ramen at Ramen Yebisu
The miso ramen is the best of the bunch at Williamsburg's top ramen spot. It's got a thick, meaty base with the opaque creaminess and rich texture of a good tonkotsu-style pork broth, coupled with the salty tang of miso paste. Spicy, rich, oily, salty, and filling, this is precisely the kind of fare you're looking for in the middle of the night to ward off a potential hangover the next day—an oft-prescribed prophylactic in this neighborhood packed with bars.
Cheeseburger (and Fried Chicken) at the Commodore
Since The Commodore is a bar with food, not a restaurant with a bar, during busy times you may have to wait in the wings, vulture-like, for a free table to appear. Or you can try to squeeze yourself into the darkest, tiniest corner of the bar. Either way, the food is worth it. The most obvious way to tame those late night stomach grumblings is with their highly-praised cheeseburger. From top to bottom, this burger contains shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, a blanket of melted cheese, patty, thick pickle chips, chopped raw onions, and a good slathering of mayo. You can add bacon to your burger for an extra $2, but it doesn't need it. The burger's great just the way it is; all the components come together to make a balanced, moist, and flavorful burger package.
And if you want something fried to go with your burger, skip the fries and go for the fried chicken. No, fried chicken isn't a "side" like french fries are, but the Commodore's version is deliciously juicy, crisp with golden skin and a touch of sweetness. So you should just order it anyway.
The Commodore: 366 Metropolitan Avenye, Brooklyn, NY (map); 718-218-7632; Kitchen Open Until: 11:45 p.m. Mon-Thurs & Sun; 12:45 a.m., Fri-Sat
Udon at Samurai Mama
The menu at Samurai Mama is mostly made up for plates that are meant for sharing: sections of small bites, fried dishes, simmered dishes, pan-seared dishes, sushi, and noodles fill it out. You'll find the deliciously crispy Mama's Pork Gyoza, a soft-boiled marinated egg and rich, meltingly tender pork belly braised in a sweet mirin and soy broth, and light, crispy vegetable tempura. The real reason to come here, however, is the excellent made-in-house udon, ramen's thicker cousin. Formed into long, meaty, rectangular strands, this is the kind of noodle that makes you wonder why you ever put up with the frozen or freeze-dried stuff. They're slippery, with a substantial chew, and made for slurping.
Pigs in a Blanket at Huckleberry Bar
One of the first cocktail dens on a stretch of Grand Street now flush with bars and gastropubs opening left and right, Huckleberry Bar has stood the test of time as a neighborhood favorite.
The menu is a hodgepodge of sandwiches, salads and vittles that has evolved over time from a number of chefs. For smaller plates, the bar serves its dressed-up version of Pigs in a Blanket, a spicy Italian sausage wrapped in puff pastry with a dab of grain mustard. Other good options include Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with gouda and a country-style Baked Mac & Cheese. Sweeter options include the Nutella & Goat Milk's Ricotta Pressed Sandwich, a dangerously good combo with just the right proportions of Nutella, ricotta and bread, or the Chocolate Panna Cotta, served with huckleberry jam, whipped cream and a bit of sea salt.
Whatever's on the Menu at No Name Bar
Word got out quickly when Greenpoint favorite No Name Bar started "secretly" serving ramen noodles out of a tiny basement kitchen last year. Most recently, the still-nameless bar swapped out its ramen menu for a Thai one created by a spunky woman named Nam who also runs Am Thai Bistro in Flatbush. Her noodles won us over, and along with their history with ramen, we feel pretty comfortable recommending the bar's always changing offerings.
No Name Bar: 597 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (map); Open Until:Late
Fish Tacos and More at Nights & Weekends
With a focus on Mexico and the Caribbean, Nights & Weekends offers up a fresh take on the typical bar snacks. Take their fish tacos, for example—packed with crispy wedges of mahi mahi, mango-habanero salsa, shreds of slaw, and creamy caper aioli, this dish's crunchy sweetness acts as a complement to most alcoholic beverages. Or try their homemade cheese bread with a generous slather of their salted guava butter.
Meatballs at The Meatball Shop
The menu here is pretty straightforward: pick a meatball, pick a sauce, then pick a delivery vehicle—polenta, a crusty baguette, soft brioche, a bed of green, a bowl of spaghetti. No matter how you choose to eat them, the meatballs are solid: juicy, well-seasoned, and tasty, if not life-changing. Very good with cheap beer.
Mini Cheeseburger at Snacky
Snacky is an appropriately named restaurant and bar that mostly serves small plates of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean-esque dishes. "Esque" because Snacky probably isn't the place to go if you're actually craving Asian food. However, if you're roaming the streets of Williamsburg in search of a little snack, it's great.
Our favorite bite here is the Popsie Mini Cheeseburger, a fat, well seasoned three-ounce patty topped with a thin layer of mozzarella and spicy Kewpie mayonnaise on a squishy, mild chewy, sweet baked Chinese roll. For a less meat-centric bite, try the vegetable shiao bing. Describes as an Asian panino, this combination sounds like it shouldn't work, but it really does: sesame-studded bread is filled with mozzarella, spicy mayo, bitter greens, and pickled vegetables, creating a nice interplay of flavors and textures.
Snacky: 187 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 718-486-4848; Open Until: 1 a.m., Mon-Thurs & Sun; 3 a.m., Fri-Sat
Oysters at Maison Premiere
Maison Premiere isn't the sort of place you stumble into looking for greasy food to soak up the alcohol. But it is the kind of bar where you can settle in for a long night of New Orleans wining and dining on shellfish and absinthe cocktails.
For a surefire bet, go straight for the Beau Soleil, the "Bentley of oysters" with a provocatively delicate flavor. Sweet Kumamotos from Mexico are a popular choice; complement them with the salty Fishers Island bivalves from Fisher Island Sound in New York. For big oysters, try the briny Moonstone or Duxbury, or the meaty Wellfleet. Always get advice from the waiters, however, as the oyster menu is subject to change based on availability. Also, not late night, but Maison Premiere does a killer dollar oyster happy hour.
Pizetta at Manhattan Inn
Good vegetarian drinking food can be hard to come by, but at Manhattan Inn, vegetarians can easily satisfy those late-night, post-alcohol cravings and be spoiled for choice. Of the veg-friendly options, the pizzetta is a clear winner. The crisp flatbread is spread with goat cheese, topped with mushrooms and caramelized onions, and baked until browned, then sprinkled with a final layer of parmesan cheese. The combination of ingredients is fantastic: slightly sweet, slightly salty, nutty from the parmesan and rich from the goat cheese.
The mac and cheese is another winner, with amarillo peppers joining the cheddar and pepper jack cheese sauce.
Sesame Pancake Sandwiches at Vanessa's Dumpling House
A sesame pancake stuffed full of tender meats and fresh vegetables almost sounds like a semi-healthy meal, but rest assured, this is the oily, late night snack you've always wanted. The dough is plopped into an oiled pan and fried, Chinese pancake-style, giving the spongy bread a crisp-bottomed crust not unlike that of a deep dish pizza. Get it plain or with a generous portion of saucy roasted pork or peking duck topped with spikey strips of julienned cucumbers, green onions, and sprigs of fresh cilantro.