605 Carlton Ave, Brooklyn 11238
(At St Marks Ave)
I don’t know what it is for me but I love finding a restaurant that seems tucked away deep inside an area full of brownstone homes and with no other restaurants in sight. I guess it’s like finding a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere and James is definitely a gem. Serving American cuisine with some of the finest, freshest, and local ingredients, James serves up some really tasty fare. Let’s have a look at their brunch shall we!
Spicy Bloody Maria: I think every brunch deserves a great Bloody Mary or a Bloody Maria. Essentially a Bloody Maria is identical to the Bloody Mary with the exception of the the vodka being replaced by tequila. In general, James has some great drinks and their bartender does a great job with the usual stuff as well. I’m mentioning the Bloody Maria because it definitely stands out as one of the best I’ve had. Not too thick and not watery either, the Spicy Bloody Maria has a generous dose of horseradish with a serious spicy punch. It’s a tasty drink but stay clear if you cannot deal with spice.
Black Kale Salad with poached egg: A very nice and refreshing salad. The roasted smoked almonds add a wonderful nutty and smokey flavor as well as a nice crunch. As usual, adding a poached egg makes everything so much better! The perfect bite is creamy from the egg yolk, followed by the smokiness of the almonds and a bit of salt from the ricotta salata which is basically a slightly salty version of ricotta cheese. Fresh kale on its own is quite boring I think but James throws in some great additions that take this kale salad to another level.
Pulled Smoked Pork: I can only start by saying “Oh my!”. Succulent, tender, and perfectly smokey pulled pork in a rich and sweet BBQ sauce! You would think the goodness ends there but it does not because all that fabulous pulled pork is sandwiched between two amazing cheddar scones! The accompanying side of cole slaw is rather bland but there is a reason for this. Take a bite of that cole slaw after you experience the sweetness of the pork and you will understand. I love anything with cheese and these cheddar scones were outrageous! If you love pulled pork then this sandwich is a MUST HAVE!
Sauteed Wild Shrimp: There is good polenta and there is great polenta and James certainly prepares one hell of a polenta! It’s buttery, creamy and spicy. The wonderful spice comes from harissa paste, a Tunisian chili paste, as well some garlic that is added to vegetable stock. The result is then poured over the shrimp and polenta. Speaking of shrimp, they are fantastic and cooked to perfection!
I can only say good things about James because I have never been disappointed with their food. An honorable mention should also be made to James’ excellent coffee and the fact that they actually have heavy cream upon request. Furthermore, James makes an amazing burger that you simply must try on any Monday night which is their weekly burger night offering their fabulous burgers at 50% off the regular price. Last but not least is the Pressed Chicken which is another favorite of mine. There’s more food worth mentioning but I’ll save that for an eventual dinner review.