St. Anselm, sounds like a name with power, and meaning I suppose. I’m not sure who this St. Anselm guy is, but if I had to guess, I’d say he was the patron saint of all things delicious. I mean, why else would they name a gem of a restaurant after him?
St. Anselm is a restaurant in my new favorite neighborhood, Billyburg – or Williamsburg to the newbies. Williamsburg is loaded with great restaurants, so to stand out there you really have to bring something spectacular to the table. And St. Anselm brings something spectacular, really spectacular.
This tiny restaurant is not boastful. In fact, it’s the opposite, which leads me to believe this St. Anselm dude was also pretty modest. The restaurant is unpretentious. But not in the Manhattan way that can actually be pretentious masquerading as low key. This is BK unpretentious, which equals a literal translation. The restaurant is dark, but surrounded by a glowing light force from the open kitchen. You know I’m all about an open kitchen, see here, here and here. Its fun to watch the chefs at work, but it’s also fun to check out their equipment. This open kitchen isn’t exactly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, but the food that comes out of there can be considered a work of art.
We started with the Clams. They were fresh and salty. Flavored with garlic and parsley, these tiny, little suckers were a bright way to start the meal.
We also ordered the Bibb Salad. A pretty typical starter of crisp lettuce, plump tomatoes, crispy fried shallots and sweet shallot vinaigrette. Simple but delicious or delicious but simple? Either way, you get the idea.
So you know that feeling you get when you hear music and you feel compelled to dance? Well that’s the feeling I get when I see a burger on the menu. But think less dancing, more eating. So, of course I ordered the Patty Melt. The tender patty of meat was perfectly juicy and topped with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. The onions give the burger a subtle sweetness while the mild Swiss cheese makes it slightly salty. Complete with toasted white bread and spicy pickles, this patty melt was one for the books.
But, if you go to St. Anselm and don’t have the appetite to order everything (weird), the one thing you cannot, and I repeat, cannot pass up is the Butcher’s Steak with Garlic Butter. This is one of the best steaks I have ever had in my entire life. The butcher’s steak is also known as a hanger steak. The reason behind the name? This cut of meat is known for its flavor, so butchers used to keep it for themselves rather than sell it! After eating this steak, you’ll understand why. The meat is incredibly tender and flavorful. The grill gives it a deep flavor. With a hint of saltiness, and a touch of butter, this steak is melt in your mouth magnificent. Besides the fact that this is one outrageous piece of meat, it’s also $15. Yes, you read the correctly. This is the best $15 I’ve ever spent in my life.
What’s a steak without a side? Similar to chips without dip, which is something this Bite-Sized Blonde is totally against. So, for sides we ordered the Shishito Peppers, Pan Fried Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Oil, and Grilled Berkshire Bacon. The peppers were smoky from the grill, but maintained their spicy flavor. Not every shishito pepper you eat is spicy. But eater beware, the spicy ones can hurt a little.
The Pan Fried Mashed Potatoes with Truffle Oil came highly recommended, and for good reason. The exterior was crusty and the insides were soft and buttery. But there are two things this Bite-Sized Blonde can never get enough of, and that’s shoes and truffles. And these potatoes could have used a little more truffle oil. Plus, it would just be weird to get new shoes at dinner.
The Grilled Berkshire Bacon was thick cut and meaty. It was good, but after the Patty Melt and Butcher’s Steak, I was unquestionably full. Which is why it was a miracle, or insane, that we also ordered dessert. We sampled each dessert on the menu. Not sure my belly or brain registered them, since I was already at the point of no return.
One last thing you should probably know, St. Anselm is owned by the same, culinary inclined duo that own Fette Sau, Joe and Kim Carroll. That carries a lot of weight, because their food will make you carry a lot of weight, for good reason. When you win the Zagat Award for Best BBQ in NYC three years in a row, you know you are doing something right. And that something they are doing right, is the same something they are bringing to St. Anselm.
Whether you’re a Manhattan Man or Borough Babe, St. Anselm is the perfect place for you. So, go, eat the Butcher’s Steak, and tell me all about it!
355 Metropolitan Ave