I’m used to hearing people talking about restaurant – recommending their recent tries or current staple faves. However, I’ve long lost count of the number of people who specifically mentioned one restaurant – Colonie. Now that I’ve made the big burrough move, I am particularly interested in trying out new Brooklyn spots since I’ve been focused on Manhattan for so long. A friend of mine lives nearby and had been there several times. Knowing she tends to have a discerning pallate, I couldn’t pass it up.
We arrived at 9PM and found the restaurant still bustling. Our approximate wait time was to have been an hour – a bit long at that hour as we were both quite hungry (no way to have avoided, as they only take reservations for larger parties). Not only did we want a table though, we wanted to be seated at the kitchen. As opposed to many restaurants where this benefit is included with something like the Chef’s Table or special tasting menus, these seats are accessible to any patron – sometimes, though, requiring an even longer wait. We decided to go all-in thoguh, deciding this was ok seeing as their cocktails are also fabulous and not to be missed. I recommend the Cool Hand Cuke – cucumber vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh cucumber juice, mint syrup, and lime. Delicious and who cares that it’s no longer summer?
It worked out well as many sign in and do not leave a number or respond to the call that their table is ready. I highly recommend just waiting in the bar area. Our one hour wait ended up being more like 15-20 minutes, and that was even to be seated along the kitchen area. The seat ended up being amazing. We spent the entire dinner watching all of the dishes being prepared. Unlike some kitchen areas, it was not uncomfortably warm. Highly recommend giving it a try. We chose to go with an assortment of plates so we could try more of the menu – a process which was aided by her prior visits. Just to note some of the menu items are seasonal and therefore switch up. She was heartbroken to find her favorite dishes had been replaced, but after eating their replacements, she was pleased.
We began with tring two of their crostinis. The duck rillete is amazing and was served with pickled shallots. We also tried the Black Mission fig. This was great as well, and was paired with marscapone and thyme. Only thing missing though was a dash of salt. After adding that, the flavor it had was totally different. Out of the small plates, we tried the octopus, which was outstanding. It’s grilled and nicely done. The chorizo broth it’s served with makes the dish. I also really enjoyed the spaghetti squash, which is served with bacon and a parmesan foam. Maybe it’s my bacon-heavy tendencies, but still think this could have used a touch more bacon. I really liked the parmesean foam as I thought it added a strong flavor to contrast to the softness of the spaghetti squash. My friend though thought the exact opposite – that it was distracting and overpowered the dish.
For our one main dish, we went with the skirt steak, which was serves with fries, roast garlic aioli, and watercress. We ordered our steak medium, but it came out more medium rare. We both noted it was a fair amount pinker than what we’re usually a fan of, but we were likely able to notice more of the rich flavor of the meat for it. It was nicely done so we were both content to let it slide. I’m not a mayo fan, usually fairly fine though with letting aioli slide. However this was so good, that I”ll admit we were doing everything we could to put any remaining drop to use. If you don’t like mayo, I wouldn’t let that detract you from this dish in the least bit.
My friend was most disappointed to see the foie gras doughnuts had disappeared from the menu as a part of a relatively recent change in chefs. Instead, we decided to try out the fresh doughnuts, which were filled with salty caramel custard. They were tasty enough, but didn’t quite have the flavor and complexity of the rest of the meal. I was especially intrigued to try their sticky date cake with salted creme fraiche ice cream. That might just have to be dessert on my next visit. All of the food (so minus the drinks) came to around $35 for each of us – not bad for all we got to try. Highly recommend giving this spot a visit.
Colonie – 127 Atlantic Avenue (at Henry Street), Brooklyn – 718.855.7500
Reservations for parties of 5 or more only