A few months ago, Husband and I realized we were falling into a pattern: always eating at the same restaurants. We'd become the couple we never imagined: predictable. To combat that we made a rule not to eat at the same restaurant more than once a season. Sounds easy enough. I mean, we live in New York. But we eat out a lot, and getting our of our comfort zone took some effort. Since I'm the picky eater between us, I was charged with coming up with new spots.
Enter The Regal Diner and Cocktail Bar, the latest venture from former Taj frontwoman Delores Auguet. She and her partners from Hotel Chantelle on the Lower East Side. They've transformed the space (formerly Hope Garage) into a chic late-night dining option that opens in Williamsburg TODAY. The Regal is sexy without trying too hard, affordably priced (must mention because gentrified Brooklyn can get way out of hand) and I can attest that the food-- and service-- are divine.
Hubs and I headed over last night for a preview tasting. He kicked off the evening with the Everything Nice (vodka, bianco vermouth, lemon, spiced caster sugar, fresh basil, fresh berries). It looked delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't try it. I gave up liquor (until further notice) four months ago. I live on seltzer water (and coffee) these days. Womp.
Everything on the menu sounded divine, but doesn't it always? I made my choice based on the other plates coming out of chef Seth Levine's kitchen (You may have seen him on Season 5 of Fox reality show "Hell's Kitchen). For apps, we settled on brussels sprouts with apple vinegar, The Regal Salad (goat cheese, pear, candied walnuts, fennel, roasted shallot vinaigrette), and the Tuna Melt (sushi-grade tuna carpacio, white cheddar, grilled country bread, tomato confit). Yes, we were hungry. It all lived up to the hype.
For entrees, I had the Smoking Salmon (salmon, cauliflower pureé, and caramelized fennel). Delicious. Husband had the Regal Burger (10 oz. selection of ground prime aged beef cuts, lettuce, tomato, pickle chips, brioche bun). The fries reminded me of A&W. I use to go there with my grandfather when I was a kid. I haven't been back in years. Husband devoured his burger, which means it was good.
We hung out and took in the atmosphere for a bit after we ate. No dessert for us. Good music. not to noisy and exactly the crowd you would expect in Williamsburg, very cool, creative types. It reminded me of New York circa 2002 when I arrived, a description I mean as a compliment
All in all, a good night out. We'll definitely be back. And yes, that means we're breaking our rule. It's worth it.