Dinner at the movies

In time for the NYC Food Film Festival, we test-drive gastro-cinemas that are breaking free of the popcorn box.

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  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Fish tacos and Nitehawk Queso at Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Queso at Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Cinema

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Nitehawk Cinema

    Nitehawk Cinema

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema | reRun Gastropub Theater | Indie Food and Wine | IndieScreen

Nitehawk Cinema


136 Metropolitan Ave between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-3980)

Nitehawk sets the standard for food-focused theaters. Here, you'll find the gastro-cinema concept fully evolved: A Michelin-starred chef helms the menu (Saul Bolton, of Saul and the Vanderbilt), seats are arranged in pairs with sturdy tables, and two caf-bars keep moviegoers loose with $5 beer-and-shot combos. High-profile indie films (most $11) tend to trump obscure foreign flicks in the three theaters.

How it works: The ordering system is simple: Let the staff know what you want before the show starts, or write it down at any point on a piece of paper for a server to pick up and ferry to the kitchen. The plates come out at a good pace, so those who order a full meal are happily munching throughout the film. 

Food: Nitehawk doesn't rest on the novelty of eating inside a movie theater—Bolton's comfort-food grub, including meaty fish tacos ($11) and a solid, Empire Mayo-slathered burger ($13)—could stand alone outside of the cinema (indeed, the full menu is available to diners in the downstairs bar). That said, the real highlights are his variations on concession-stand staples: popcorn tossed with Parmesan, black pepper and garlic butter ($6) , and the Texas-style Nitehawk Queso ($10). On a rainy weekend, check out a brunch-time flick over fried chicken and waffles ($14, includes a mimosa or Bloody Mary). 

Drinks: The team is crossing its fingers for an in-theater liquor license, for which it's currently awaiting SLA approval. For now, pre- and postfilm boozing is fueled by local brews ($6), wine ($7--$9) and mixed drinks ($7--$10), including cocktail specials inspired by the films. During the show, sip sodas ($4), Gorilla coffee ($3) and root-beer floats ($6). 

Bottom line: With its fully integrated approach to food and entertainment, Nitehawk is currently in a league of its own. If that booze license comes through, it'll be pretty hard to top.

Final grade:

A-

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