New Restaurant And Bar Radar: Williamsburg's Bumping Edition

<em>John Del Signore/Gothamist<p></p></em><strong>Post Office:</strong> Though the post office that many regard as <a href="">the worst in town</a> is located just a block away, <a href="">Post Office</a> owner Alla Lapushchik tells us she named her Williamsburg restaurant for the Charles Bukowski book, not the place where weekend dreams go to die. "It was his first book, it's my first restaurant. He liked whiskey, I like whiskey," she explains. The focus here is American spirits, wine, and beers, with a big emphasis on bourbon. Lapushchik, who had a hand in opening <a href="">Death &amp; Company</a> when she was just 19 years old, tells us, "I'm not a big fan of drinking spirits with a lot of mixers." So the cocktail menu is limited to a mere five options, and visitors are advised to choose their own brand of spirit to see how it pairs with the other customizable ingredients. You're also encouraged to go whole hog and drink neat.<p></p>The decor is features touches like eagle-emblazoned wallpaper and light fixtures made from whiskey decanters. There's one beer on tap (currently Captain Lawrence), and a smattering of comfort food from chef Sam Glinn, formerly of the Brooklyn Star and Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Options include a pulled pork sandwich for $6, deviled eggs ($4), a pickle plate ($5), and what Lapushchik insists is an "excellent" beef short rib borscht with sour cream and fresh dill ($14). "My Russian mother tried it and said it was better than hers!"<p></p><em>188 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg; (718) 963-2574</em>

<em><a href="">Katie Sokoler</a>/Gothamist</em><p></p><strong>The Brooklyn Star: </strong><a href="">The restaurant's</a> tragic tale of a devastating fire that left the year-old Southern American restaurant out of service for the past year is about to end. After trying to refurnish the space out of the February 2010 fire, owner and former Momofuku partner Joaquin Baca abandoned ship entirely on the old space on Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg in lieu of this more spacious and conveniently located spot at the old Lazy Catfish just a few blocks away. The new opening is set for March 9th, and by the looks of the new menu and sleek decor, it has been well worth the wait.<p></p>Baca's original menu was inspired by his Southern Texas childhood, featuring American classics like country fried steak, Dr. Pepper ribs, and mile-high buttermilk biscuits, all from sustainably sourced and seasonal ingredients. <a href="">New additions to the menu</a> get even closer to the Texas pulse, including triple chili with fritos, veal sweetbreads, and roasted marrow bones. The new home features such amenities as a full bar, a coffee bar, and huge communal where old man Baca can sit and tell his grandkids about how he survived the great fire of Aught Ten. — <em>Krista Ciminera</em><p></p><em>593 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg; (718) 599-9899 </em>

<em>John Del Signore/Gothamist<p></p></em><strong>Midway: </strong>From the owners of Ontario, Great Lakes, and Buttermilk comes Midway, which has a similar relaxed atmosphere. The lighting is colorful, there's a pool table and some inviting booths in the big back room, and up front you can burn quarters on Galaga, Big Buck Hunter, and Silver Strike Bowling. It opened a couple of weeks ago on Grand Street in Williamsburg and currently offers a happy hour from 5-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with $3 well liquor and $3 draft beers. At the moment, they've got seven on tap, including Smutty Nose and the blessedly ubiquitous (in this neighborhood, anyway) Sixpoint.<p></p><em>272 Grand Street, Williamsburg;(718) 599-1969 </em>

<strong>Osteria Cotta:</strong> Taking over the space that previously housed <a href=""> the sly</a> Señor Swankys on the Upper West Side, the people who were behind Irving Mill have opened a restaurant with a <a href="">"reimagined and retwisted"</a> take on classic Italian cuisine. The wood-burning oven and walls of wine lining the dining room imbue the restaurant with an ideal atmosphere for the handmade pastas ($10-$12) and pizzas ($6-$14) on Chef Andrew Kraft's menu. All the dishes are moderately priced, with entrées like the Roasted Rainbow Trout, Short Ribs and Wood-Roasted Chicken each under $20 and all salads cost $8.<p></p>If you're feeling more alcohol-oriented, there is a wine bar on the ground floor and a space upstairs that aspires to be a cocktail lounge soon. Osteria Cotta has a wide selection of small plates that double as great bar snacks, like the $4 Eggplant Caponata, $6 Parmigiano Polenta Fritters and $9 Grilled Prawns. —<em>Surekha Ratnatunga</em><p></p><em>513 Columbus Avenue; (212) 873 8500</em>

<strong>Pachanga Patterson:</strong> We fully expected anything done by the team behind <a href="">Vesta</a> to be just as good as their original joint, and their new Mexican-inspired restaurant doesn't disappoint. <a href="">Pachanga Patterson</a> (named Pachanga for "party" and Patterson after the "former/historic name of 31st Avenue") refines Mexican food with the same flare they brought to Vesta's Italian menu. The flavors aren't crazy, the concepts aren't high, but every bite is memorable. <p></p>We sampled as much as we could during their opening night last night. Just like Vesta, they keep the menu seasonal and local, with vegetables from Brooklyn Grange, wine from Long Island and tortillas from Corona, Queens. The sangria ($24 a pitcher) was sweet and strong, and the fresh made guacamole was chunky and salty with the perfect acid kick. Taco platters ranged from $9-$12 for three, and included fillings like beef short rib and battered and fried Pollack. Our "Moo Shu Duck" tacos with hoisin siracha were tender, sweet and smoky, and the pork belly enchilada somehow mixed flavors like chocolate, figs and cumin creme into one deliciously spicy mess.<p></p>This may be blasphemy to anyone who had dined there, but PP's "Little Devil" cake may be better than Vesta's Baby Jesus cake. Based on the same recipe, the Little Devil adds a spiced molten chocolate center to the toffee and caramel of the Baby Jesus, making it a decadent cousin. We're sure the menu will have changed by the time we return, which is exactly why we <em>will</em> return. — <em>Jaya Saxena</em><p></p>33-17 31st Avenue, Queens; (718) 554-0525

<em>John Del Signore/Gothamist<p></p></em><strong>Banter:</strong> This big new bar on hip Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg features a state-of-the-art tap system that delivers its 24 draft beers at the perfect chilled temperature. New tap lines, 24 beers; what more do you need to know? Well, besides wine, there's also a wide selection of scotch and bourbon. All the imported German beer is served in 20 oz. pints. Happy hour happens seven days a week and gets you $1 off all tap beers and $1 off well liquor. It's a clean, warmly-lit place co-owned by one of the guys behind Iona, and they also serve a selection of paninis ($8) and salad. Jameson is $6. <p></p>The Guinness tastes exceptionally good here, and they show soccer games on the big TVs mounted in the corners above the door. "But we keep the TVs off and the music low most of the time," explained the bartender during a recent visit. "We want people to talk to each other." After all, it's called Banter, not Weep Silently Into Your Beer While Watching the Closed Captioning on <em>Home Improvement</em> Reruns. (We do enough of that at home.)<p></p><em>132 Havemeyer, Williamsburg; (718) 599-5200</em>

<strong>Chipotle:</strong> In case you were somehow wanting for one of their signature burritos the size of your head, Chipotle will be opening a new location on 84th Street and 3rd Avenue. You already know that they use humanely raised meats and organic ingredients, but did you know that you can get their burritos wrapped in <em>gold</em> foil now? For their 18th anniversary, the chain will be wrapping burritos in gold foil instead of their silver foil for the next four months. <p></p>Founder Steve Ellis said in a statement, "I have always looked for the best ingredients I could find. But as it turns out, even our most loyal customers don't always know about the lengths we go to in order to source the best ingredients. So we decided to do something that would really grab their attention." We're not sure exactly how gold foil equates quality ingredients, but oooh it's shiny! Chef Nate Appleman, formerly of <a href="">Pulino's</a>, is also working with Chipotle now. And remember: <a href="">chefs sometimes use knives</a>. — <em>Jaya Saxena</em><p></p><em>1497 3rd Avenue</em>