good shmeats

one food-loving vegetarian taking New York City's restaurants one plate at a time.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Enid's - Williamsburg

560 Manhattan Ave at Driggs Avenue

We live in a city of extravagance - New York's culture of extreme (and extremely hip) fashion, food and music is a source of civic pride. And Williamsburg is unarguably an epicenter of this lifestyle - at least for now. But for those New Yorkers who dwell more towards the humble side of life, the city's hyper-extravagance can feel a bit alienating.

Enter Enid's - a combination brunch/dinner spot and late-night bar just off of McCarren Park (and the G train) in Williamsburg. Considering it's location, one might expect Enid's to be yet another vapid, glittering hotspot that attracts scenesters like, well, scenesters to cans of PBR. Instead, Enid's is a beacon of refreshing normalcy amidst New York's glitz and chaos.

Enid's certainly preserves aspects of hipsterdom: beautiful clientele and semi-ironic, salvaged-from-the-street decor like a vintage (rusty) liquor-store sign, an old-fashioned photobooth, and a large gold-sequined camel tacked up on the wall. Enid's consistently fills to overflowing on weekends with neighborhood locals looking for a late-night watering hole as well as a solid post-party brunch. But although Enid's attracts a hipster crowd, it somehow maintains a homey, welcoming quality that so many other trendy New York bars/restaurants seem to purposefully strive against.

The inevitable wait for brunch at Enid's is softened by mugs and self-serve pots of coffee (an ingenious trick used in restaurants across Portland, Seattle, and other soggy west coast cities, but seemingly undiscovered in New York.) I adore Enid's menu, which looks like a homemade zine cobbled together by a crafty teenager from recycled magazines and bits of fabric. I also love the inside of the menu for its unpretentious listing of Vanilla-Almond Challah French Toast ($6.95), Huevos Rancheros ($8.95), and unexpected side plates of Cheese Grits, Spiced Apples, and Collard Greens (all $3.00). In addition to self-serve coffee, Enid's also seems to model it's inexpensive prices off of West Coast restaurants.

On my most recent visit to Enid's I chose a dish that I had eyed for months but never tried: Leek and Potato Hash with Eggs any-style ($7.95). The smell of my brunch arrived before the plate did - a heavenly combination of carmalized leeks and sharp cheese melted into the hefty browned potato chunks. The deep-gold yolk of my eggs over-easy melted into the potatoes with a sigh (mine). The hash was accompanied by a bright, lightly-dressed salad that was in itself forgettable, but a welcome addition to the rather heavy meal I had chosen. My brunch-mate's french toast was sweet with subtle hints of almond, and accompanied by fresh fruit. (Real maple syrup unfortunately costs a little extra at Enid's, but is always worth it.)

In many ways, Enid's offers the best of both worlds - a hint of New York's insider scene, mixed with a vibe casual enough that you won't get evil stares for wearing sweat pants to brunch. Combine that with decently priced food (and beer in the evenings), and Enid's is sure to remain a neighborhood staple.

Diner's Tip:
After brunching at Enid's on a summer Saturday, head over to the green market in neighboring McCarren Park to check out the fresh local greens and baked goods.


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