Talked-about hotel restaurants are becoming the norm in Manhattan (The Nomad, The Standard Grill, etc,) though not so much across the East River where the little mom-and-pop places are the main reason people flock to Brooklyn. The trendy McCarren Hotel & Pool in the heart of Williamsburg is trying to change that with an ambitious offering for the neighborhood in the shape of The Elm.
The high-ceilinged atrium in the hotel’s basement seems a bit odd at first with its upscale setting of metal, wood and plants – probably one of the only restaurants in Brooklyn without a brick wall, rustic stools, and industrial lighting. It’s soothing though and the open kitchen is an exciting sight, showcasing the tight execution required to plate such artistic fares from the Michelin Star Chef’s ‘modern French’ menu.
Broken down by raw, sea, land and shared dishes, the ingredient-driven menu is impressive and even more so is the presentation. The visually pleasing plates were equally palatable and creative in their composition, the Chef having succeeded in bringing an accessible luxury dining experience to Brooklyn. The crowds have yet to follow though as seen by the inexplicably half-empty room on a Thursday night. It might indicate the odd fit on that culinary stretch of hipster eateries but for you it means exciting cuisine that would have you waiting in line back in the city – so enjoy this momentary lull while you can.