I have a thing for these types of restaurants- the ones that feel like they’ve been around since 1796, carefully preserved like antiques, charming and authentic in their rusticity. The only indication of modernity would be the kitchen equipment, electricity and some indie-folk rock playing out of the Bose speakers.
In New York, rustic americana has become an established trend. Freeman’s is the most obvious and recently gave way to Vinegar Hill. Smith and Mills in Tribeca has a similar vibe in half the space, half the menu and a cash only policy. Marlow and Sons has been around for a few years, occupying a tiny storefront stocked with goods an epicurean will swoon for. If you walk through the store and into the back room you will find a full bar, an oyster shucker, and tables for eating. The menu is simple with only a few items (chicken under a brick and fish of the day is how they put it), but each night there are different specials. The two types of oysters available last night were from Virginia and New York, and their cheese selection is always interesting. Everything we had was really quite good, but the last course- a chocolate caramel torte sprinkled with coarse grey sea salt, was extraordinary.
I went with a girlfriend to celebrate my birthday. Again. Whatever, I’m only 30 once. Everything was excellent: super simple, tasty, seasonal. Here are some pics from dinner:
Marlow and Sons: 81 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Additional notes: This place has a really cool cocktail list. There are a couple of communal farm tables that are great for groups. Visit their website here.