288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(Btwn President & Carroll St)
Ahh yes the lovely Gowanus Canal. Home to PCBs, various other toxins, and perhaps the Park Slope Swamp Thing. Not exactly the type of things that would bring seafood to mind but then again I always have seafood on my mind. It’s hard to believe that just a stone’s throw away from the canal there exists a little seafood haven known as Littleneck. Just another random spot that I have passed numerous times. Once Google told me that this was a seafood joint, it was just a matter of time before my crew and I would invade this place to sample the bounty!
Oysters: Glancing over at the “Raw Bar” blackboard I was instantly drawn to my favorite oyster: the Kumomoto. These native Japanese oysters are relatively small oysters. They are the kind of oysters I would recommend for anyone that’s never tried an oyster before but is now willing to get their feet wet. They are not at all like the intimidating huge oysters that resemble a “bad chest cold” in a shell. Their texture is soft, slightly creamy, and the flavor is wonderfully sweet. A great tasting oyster that might just convert a non-oyster eater to the dark side. One other interesting oyster was the Totten Virginica. Up until now I have not heard of these before so you obviously know if I’ve never heard of it then I definitely have to try it! Needless to say, they were outstanding medium sized meaty oysters with a wonderful creamy texture. For a moment I thought I was eating a very large Kumomoto! Overall, the oyster experience in Littleneck was excellent. All of the oysters were super fresh and all were very delicious. The selection of oysters may not have been as large as one may find in Maison Premiere but then again you’re not gonna find a Maine Lobster Roll or Clam Roll at Maison Premiere either! They oysters went down really well with some hot sauce and a pint of Milk Stout.
P.E.I. Mussels: I think that after oysters, mussels have to be my second favorite shellfish. P.E.I. mussels come from Prince Edward Island (in case you were wondering what the hell is P.E.I.) which is known for it’s optimal conditions and climate for raising great mussels. Now mussels on their own can be pretty good but it’s usually the broth or sauce that they are prepared in that really makes them stand out. Littleneck prepared their mussels in a wonderfully sweet thai basil curry. These mussels were fantastic! You know you’ve got great flavor when you’re looking for bread to sop up all of that curry goodness. The mussels were devoured quickly and the curry broth vanished in minutes!
Red Snapper Ceviche: I love a good ceviche. Ceviche is essentially raw fish that is marinated in various citrus juices and spices. The acidity of the juice can often slightly cook the fish. Ceviche usually reminds of high quality sashimi that’s bursting with flavors of tangy citrus and hot peppers. Unfortunately there was no bursting with this ceviche. Although my friend enjoyed it, I thought it was one of the most blandest ceviches I have ever had. The onions and cilantro barely helped. It definitely needed some Latin American assistance in the flavor department. Sadly, I cannot recommend this ceviche.
New England Clam Chowder: One of my favorite comfort foods of all time. There is nothing like a great New England Clam Chowder on a frigidly cold Winter’s day. It just has a way of hitting that comfort spot and warming your bones. If it was Winter that is precisely how I would have felt about Littleneck’s New England Clam Chowder because it was great but with one exception! It was desperately crying out for some salt. After remedying the situation with a few sprinkles of salt, this chowder went from great to excellent. It was thick, creamy, hearty and with large generous chunks of clams and potatoes. I will return on a cold Winter’s night for this!
Idaho French Fries: Now I’m not really sure if it was the way these fries were prepared or if it was because of the Idaho potatoes but these fried had really great taste! Perfectly crispy and with just the right amount of salt! The flavor of the potato really stood out. If you love fries then you have to try these fries! Plain and simple!
Full Belly Ipswich Clam Roll: Oh my goodness! It’s been a really really long time since I have had a Clam Roll but this clam roll was unreal! It’s no surprise that it was named one of the 10 best seafood sandwiches in NY. A generous heap of golden fried clams with just the right amount of crispness on the outside and divine sweet tenderness on the inside! These fried clams were just exploding with flavor! The buttered toast and tartar sauce only continued to ascend this sandwich out of the stratosphere! A must have if you come to Littleneck!
Maine Lobster Roll: Man what a lobster roll! Piles of huge chunks of fresh and sweet lobster meat with just a tiny hint of mayo. A lobster roll is a lazy lobster lover’s dream come true! No work required to enter lobster heaven! I loved that the lobster was extremely fresh and not cold like it just came out of the freezer. Once again the buttered toast helped to contain all of that amazing lobster meat. A fantastic lobster treat for any lobster aficionado! Once again another MUST HAVE!
Riccotta, Gooseberries, and Cantaloupe in Sweetened Vinegar: We saw that there was pie on the menu but unfortunately they were all out. However this particular item really piqued my curiosity as I was listening to the waitress describe it. I heard good stuff like ricotta cheese, gooseberries, and cantaloupe but I did a double-take once I heard sweetened vinegar and salt. Vinegar in dessert?! What sort of madness is this but of course always looking for something different and unique, I knew I had to try this. I was definitely rewarded for being open minded because this dessert was uniquely delicious. I was never a huge fan of ricotta cheese but this cheese was creamy yet granular and on it’s own tasted delicious. I then tried some ricotta and gooseberries which gave an ever so slight sweetness to ricotta. Now it was time to sample that vinegar concoction. I combined some ricotta with gooseberries and dipped it into the chocolaty liquid. The combination was marvelous! There was a distinct flavor of chocolate with an odd sweetness that was probably the vinegar but you would probably never guess that it was vinegar. The flavor was subtle and delightful. I then dipped the slightly salted cantaloupe and the flavor was just just so refreshing! Definitely a very distinct and unique dessert that does not overwhelm you with intense sweetness but instead refreshes and surprises at the same time.
Stepping into Littleneck, you will instantly notice all of the nautical knick knacks throughout the room. It definitely adds a lot of charm and character to the place and makes you feel like you’re about to consume fresh seafood right from the docks. Luckily it’s not the Gowanus docks. Our experience at Littleneck was great. It’s an excellent spot to have some beers and oysters or a full meal. That clam roll will be on my mind for a very long time!
Watty & Meg
248 Court St, Brooklyn 11201
(At Kane St)
It was Sunday morning and we were starving! We set out with the intention of having brunch at Buttermilk Channel. I was already having visions in my head of fried pork chop goodness with those insanely delicious cheddar waffles but my dreams were shattered once we arrived at Buttermilk Channel. A minimal one hour wait! Damn you Beyonce for totally blowing up that spot! We put our names on the waiting list and were told that they would call us once a table becomes available. What the hell am I supposed to do for an hour besides chewing my arm off from hunger?! What else but going for a walk to explore more new restaurants! After walking around for about 30 minutes and peeking at various menus, we stumbled upon Watty & Meg. I took one look at the menu and they had me at crayfish and lobster.
Quinoa, Kale & Avocado Salad: Being constantly on the lookout for a good salad and having a deep love for avocados, it was only natural that my eyes would notice this salad on the menu. The salad arrived in a rather interesting presentation. It was segregated into three parts: the kale, the quinoa, and the avocado. I wasn’t exactly sure how to eat this thing so I started out by trying each part individually. The kale had a nice light vinaigrette dressing to it. It had a pleasantly refreshing typical vinaigrette flavor but it was nothing out of the ordinary. I then proceeded to the avocado which pretty much resembled guacamole. It was well seasoned with just the right amount of salt, it was creamy, and it was simple and tasty. Finally I made my way over to the quinoa. Unfortunately the quinoa was as plain as you can possibly get. Bland and flavorless. I normally love quinoa but whenever I prepare quinoa at home, I will usually use a chicken, beef, or vegetable stock in order to give it some flavor. It was clear that this quinoa was made with plain water. The few strips of mango that were on top of the quinoa and the shaved almonds helped a tiny bit but overall the quinoa was completely blah. Not being overly thrilled with this salad, I decided to try something. I combined the the kale, the quinoa, and the avocado. The result was definitely more flavorful but it was still nothing to write home about. This is a great salad if you’re looking for something with very healthy ingredients however it greatly lacks in the flavor department so I cannot really recommend it.
Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese Omelet: My friend is a huge fan of mushrooms and cheese but then again so am I. It was this particular dish that drew her in. I watched her take the first bite and moments later I could tell that she wasn’t very thrilled so of course I had to give it my own taste test for confirmation. The omelet itself was ok but once again nothing really spectacular. I found that it not only had a very small amount of mushrooms but a very small amount of goat cheese as well. A more generous amount of these ingredients, in my opinion, would have increased the flavor of this omelet. The omelet was served with Gruyere au gratin potatoes which I found to be the tastiest part of the dish. The Gruyere cheese flavor was well pronounced along with a nice hint of rosemary, making the potatoes creamy and tasty. It was around this time that we received a phone call from Buttermilk Channel letting us know that our table was ready. I was ready to throw down some cash and make a run for Buttermilk Channel but we were too far and I felt compelled to give Matty & Weg a fair review.
Lobster, Corn & Crayfish Fritter: After I got over my heartache of having to decline Buttermilk Channel, my dish had arrived. I saw large chunks of lobster which is always a site that makes me happy. The lobster was definitely very fresh, very tender, slightly sweet and just delicious but it was the fritter itself that totally threw me off course. The fritter contained corn as well as the crayfish but it’s flavor simply did not work for me. It was way too sweet, almost dessert sweet. The corn that was inside the fritter only served to make it even more sweet. On top of the fritter was a warm curried tomato salad with free but the curry flavor seemed like a huge contrast when compared to the fritter. One moment I felt like I was eating dessert and then the next I was eating something savory. As for the crayfish, it completely got lost in the sweet flavor of the fritter. I had to separate the lobster chunks from everything else in order to really appreciate the lobster itself. I don’t think that the crayfish served any purpose on this dish because if you were not told it was there then you would never know of its existence. I hate to say it but the only thing I really enjoyed was the lobster.
French Fries: You could have stuck these French into the previous quinoa salad because they were ridiculously salty! I’ve never had to brush off salt from fries before. On top of everything else, they were over-fried to the point that I could have probably stabbed someone with them. Thumbs down on the fries!
Espresso Bean Panna Cotta: After having read some of my previous reviews, you probably realize by now that I always have dessert and sometimes I actually hope that perhaps the dessert can save the meal. Since I love espresso and I love a good panna cotta I decided that this would be my last ditch effort to have something really good at Watty & Meg. Redemption at last! The panna cotta was served in a coffee mug, topped with fresh whipped cream, and something that reminded me of corn flakes. The panna cotta itself was smooth as silk with a nice coffee flavor. I would have preferred a more pronounced coffee taste but it was still good. The cream on top was unsweetened which worked very well with the sweetness of the custard and the crunchy flakes added a nice texture contrast. Along with a great latte, this dessert was surprisingly great and I would definitely recommend it.
I am somewhat torn about Watty & Meg because after brunch I did some further research and noticed that they had very good reviews regarding their dinners. Would I come back here for brunch? I don’t know but if I did come back I would definitely skip on the items I reviewed, minus the panna cotta and latte of course. This might be one of those spots that I recommend to people to drop in for some dessert and coffee but so far there just wasn’t anything outstanding about the food. Perhaps dinner is totally different. Don’t be surprised if I end up at Watty & Meg eventually to give dinner a shot!