Walter Foods

Restaurants , American Williamsburg
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On a recent Friday night in Williamsburg, most of the restaurants along Grand Street—like at so many New York City locales nowadays—were sparsely, if at all, populated. Amid this depressing dining reality, there was Walter Foods, a warm American bistro populated with a young and carefree crowd that came out to eat and drink, recession be damned. The space immediately announces itself as one you’d like to settle into: A dark wooden bar, with stools to match, is a prominent fixture, as are floor-to-ceiling windows and antique-style lighting that lend a warm glow and understated old-timey vibe. That aesthetic carries over to the food and drink, which, like the space, seems to give you exactly what you are in the mood for: Well-mixed cocktails, executed with seriousness by bow-tie--clad barkeeps, include classics such as the Tom Collins, a frothy refreshment of gin, lemonade and soda, and respectful innovations, like the fig sidecar, a soothing blend of fig syrup, aged rum and more lemonade. The dinner menu, meanwhile, is populated with hit-the-spot standbys: There’s a formidable French-dip sandwich—moist slices of filet mignon in a crackling baguette—and a heaping plate of juicy fried chicken, with a greaseless, well-seasoned crust. It’s no wonder that the formula seems to be working so beautifully right out of the gate. The owners, Dylan Dodd and Danny Minch, were reared at the perennially packed, hip-down-to-a-science eateries Cafe Habana and Balthazar, respectively. Other craveables on this chophouse-style menu (there’s also a raw bar) included a brothy chowder, dotted with cubes of potato and plump clams. Surf and turf produced an eight-ounce filet mignon, cooked the ideal medium-rare, and a tender half lobster in its shell. Follow-up desserts fit snugly into the comfort-food mold—a mixed-berry cobbler with a satisfying biscuitlike topping, and a banana bread pudding with pockets of melted chocolate within. If we were to quibble, the volume level was a bit high. But when people are having a good time, who’s going to tell them to be quiet? Not us.

Venue name: Walter Foods
Contact:
Address: 253 Grand St
Brooklyn

Cross street: between Driggs Ave and Roebling St
Opening hours: Mon–Thu noon–4:30pm, 5:30pm–1am; Fri noon–4:30pm, 5:30pm–2am; Sat 11am–4:30pm, 5:30pm–2am; Sun 11am–4:30pm, 5:30pm–1am
Transport: Subway: L to Bedford Ave
Price: Average main course: $22. AmEx, MC, V
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Jason S

Walter Foods is one of those great neighborhood standbys. The dining room is brooklyn cool - a little distressed, a little industrial, a little subway tile, you get the idea - and very comfortable. There's a backyard too which is great for the summer. Kitchen is open late (2am last I checked) and there isn't a better burger at 1am - or even 8pm if you want to go the more traditional route. Get the crispy string beans to start and keep telling yourself they're vegetables. Drinks are great - and if there is a wait (there often is at peak times) the bar is a great place to wait. Or if you snag enough seats, to order from the full menu.