If you don't want to endure the infamous wait to get a seat for dinner at Williamsburg's St. Anselm, go during brunch hours, when you can sometimes just walk right in and still have a good meal. Though they won't be serving the big-ticket items from the grill that fans rave about, you can still have a taste of one of their most lauded cuts of beef: the hanger steak.
Known as the 'Butcher's Steak' at dinner, you can have their hormone-free Angus beef in their Steak and Eggs ($16). Six ounces of the steak is parceled out for this dish along with a side of grilled fingerling potatoes and two eggs cooked any style. Get the eggs over easy and you'll have thick golden yolk to dip that steak into. Every bite becomes even richer and more fragrant with the help of melted garlic butter and sprinkled parsley.
For a less beefy dish that's part savory and part sweet, try the Croque Monte Cristo ($16), a combination of dense bread pudding, thick slices of cured Virginia ham, and melted Austrian gruyere. It could do with a bit less bechamel sauce but overall, it's a solid choice for anyone hungry or hungover.
Instead of pancakes, St. Anselm serves a Dutch Baby ($12) that can be ordered 'Savory' or 'Sweet.' I had the sweet version, which changes seasonally. Right now, it's topped with wedges of sweet grapefruit and some walnuts, resting in a pool of grapefruit curd. Oven baked in thin iron pans, this baby is dense in the middle with an airy but crispy puff edge. It looks like a pizza but tastes like a giant pastry.
St. Anselm serves many breakfast-type sides, but one that stands out is the Homemade Ricotta Toast with Honey ($5). I ordered mine on rye, a winning choice, as the sourness of the rye brought out the sweetness of the cow's milk cheese. The toast itself was disappointedly thin, barely holding the weight of the ricotta. This is best shared if you're also ordering your own entree, because it's pretty filling.
Brunch is served every weekend, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. An emphasis on "good ingredients simply cooked" is not lost on the weekend meal, and it's a great way to get the St. Anselm experience without the wait.
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