November 03, 2003
Half a Review, Chickenbone Cafe
Its only half a review cause I've only ate one item... Place is called Chickenbone Cafe. Its a pretty good representation of a whole new layer of gentrification in Williamsburg but I'm avoiding that issue for a while, messy and cliched at the same. Some other time, maybe.
Went for the first time on Thursday, got the Cuban sandwich. Dreamed about it all weekend. Was back last night for another, plus the ricotta, pine nut, maple desert, which is fabulous and pretty unique as well. Remember something vaguely similar at a high end Indian years ago and that's it...
One annoyance. Sat at the bar both times. First time I ordered a pint of dark beer and sipped slowly, went to the bathroom, went out for a phone call. 40 minutes pass, no Cuban. Finish the beer and order a second. Bingo, a sandwich.
Second visit, order a light beer, came in a 12 ounce mug. Bartender forgot the water. First beer was gone in a flash. Quickly get halfway through the second and the Cuban arrives. "Sorry for the 'delay' we made it extra big because it took so long". Hmmmmm
Regardless, the Cuban gets caps cause its spectacular. Salty, juicy, with hits of garlic and superb long thin slices of pickles laced throughout. Its not an even mix and that's a good thing. There are maybe 4 or 5 flavors to the sandwich each emerging in its own bite. Sometimes its the salty meat, others the blast of garlic sauce, then the pickles might take a turn. Delirious. I'm not in the habit of dreaming of sandwiches, but damn this thing is good.
One economic oddity of the space. The Cuban is a "special" although indications are that its permanent. Its also significantly more expensive then anything on the menu. Perhaps it really costs more to make. But all indications are that it costs more because its more popular, not because the cost of the ingredients and labor. Now more popular restaurants often charge more as a whole, supply and demand and all. But its pretty rare for a restaurant to implement a popularity rather then commodity based pricing within its own menu.
Everyone's got to make their money no doubt, but its an odd statement isn't it? Imagine a restaurant that charged more for the burger then the lobster just because it got a write up as best burger spot.
In the end though whatever, if I'm going to dream about this Cuban I'm going to buy it. Hope the cheaper items taste that good...
and yeah the info:
177 South 4th Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn, 718.302.2663
opens at 4pm till late, possibly cash only