170 Wythe @ N. 7th
I can't believe I finally went and ate here. It had received decent reviews, but I was really reluctant to go, as it seemed to symbolize to me all of the bad parts of gentrification that have come to Williamsburg in the past 6 or 7 years. Located in the former home of a Polish bakery, the outside of the building has all these clever Brooklyn-themed signs that made me think of Bennigans/TGI Friday's/any chain restaurant that decorates with pointless signs and kitschy chotchkes. (Boy I like those two words together...kitschy chotchkes! kitschy chotchkes!) Unfair, sure, but I simply assumed I would hate it.
Long story short - I had brunch here today with Helen and it was pretty good, even taking into account that brunch is the worst meal to judge a restaurant on. The interior is HUGE, with a weird mix of tons of hanging plants and historical artifacts from Ye Olde Willamsburgh days in a skylight-lit room. The historical stuff in the decor was actually interesting but cracked me up, making me feel like I was in a Williamsburg tourist trap (has it really come to that?). If Mark Twain or George Washington had set foot anywhere near Brooklyn, there would have been a historical marker. The menu is a standard yet interesting mix of panini/pizza/benedicts/ flavored waffles & pancakes, and the pricey $12 brunch price for most of these items includes one alcoholic drink. Service was friendly and attentive, surprising me again by providing something other than contemptuous hipster staff. I think I may go again and be forced to admit my reverse snobbery was unwarranted.