I love Sweetwater, (105 N.6th Street, between Berry St. & Wythe Ave., 718-963-0608), a cozy French/American bistro that's a long-standing member of the Williamsburg resurgence, AND has an amazing backyard to boot. The tables are packed in on a raised wooden deck that made me feel like I was in San Francisco for some reason. All you can see is sky and despite the cramped quarters, you feel like you've got tons of room. Big white "sails" offer some shade from the sun during the peak hours of the day.
A group of us went recently to celebrate the BF's birthday and it gives me great pleasure to describe the dishes we all enjoyed that evening. But let me start with the cocktails, of which there are a few delectable & interesting offerings. I had a gin drink with rosemary and cucumber that was light and refreshing, but still had a nice kick to it. It was pretty to look at too.
There's a good wine list and some local beers to choose from as well. To start, there was an order of Salt & Chili Calamari with Arugula and Lemon Aioli. There were plenty of nice, big pieces and the sauce was tart yet creamy. This plate was polished clean in minutes!
The Red & Golden Beet Salad with Boucheron, arugula, toasted hazelnuts & poppy seed dressing we had was amazing! The earthy beets paired with the tart cheese, the light, zesty dressing and spicy greens was so good, I couldn't get enough. I wiped up any leftover dressing with slices of bread!
One of the main dishes was the Seared Scallops from the list of specials that day. Four perfectly seared scallops arrived on a bed of mashed celery root, with peas and mushrooms. The scallops were on the small side, but everything else was so well done, that was easily overlooked.
As my main I ordered the Organic Chicken with capers, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh basil leaves. All of those tastes went together so well, I was really impressed. The basil leaves really added a nice, fresh flavor, whereas the capers and chokes lent a nice pickled angle. The chicken was excellently seasoned on the outside and was juicy on the inside. I'm usually nervous about ordering something so potentially boring as chicken, but I had no regrets with this dish!
There was also an order of the Hanger Steak with buttermilk onion rings & asparagus. It was cooked exactly to order and was a nice cut of meat. The onion rings were huge, yet light, and the asparagus cooked just right.
Finally, there was an order of the Seared Covino with Mango Serrano Salsa, also off of the specials menu. The salsa was ever so slightly hot, so it added to the delicate flavor & texture of the fish instead of overpowering it, and the mango added a nice touch of sweet.
Even though we were totally satisfied with this most excellent meal, we thought it a shame to not try dessert, so we ordered the Food of the Gods, chocolate cake swimming in chocolate soup topped with hazelnut ice cream. This was pretty incredible too. The moist, dense fudge-y cake truly sat in light yet creamy chocolate liquid, with a big scoop of tasty, nutty ice cream.
So yeah, I love Sweetwater. Now you know why.