There is nothing inside St. Anselm that looks like a traditional steakhouse. You see an unassuming dining space with exposed brick walls with a garden in the backyard. If I had stepped in without knowing what this place serves, I would have guessed another hip neighborhood restaurant in Williamsburg serving New American locavore dishes with unusual, vegetable-centric ingredients. I saw three ladies, all in tattoos, guarding the grill (no sight of a dude at all) and briskly placing each piece of meat on top of the grill in the open kitchen. There are no white tablecloths and you won’t see any sign of professionally dressed staffs pouring wine on your glasses. In other words, St. Anselm totally breaks all the stereotypes of a steakhouse, and if there is such thing as a “hipster” steakhouse, it probably fits the bill perfectly. Obviously, such unique characteristic doesn’t mean that the food at the restaurant has to be bad or sloppy, and the meal at St. Anselm was quite satisfying.
Any meal at a steakhouse needs to start with fresh salad, and the huge iceberg and blue salad with warm bacon dressing had crisp texture and nice flavor to hype up my expectations for the restaurant. My girlfriend and I came here in the first place because she said out of the blues that she was having a huge craving for steak, so even though St. Anselm has been well-known as a “budget” steakhouse selling affordable steak dishes, we weren’t going to settle for those to make sure she gets her fix. Not surprisingly, we were immediately hooked to the ax handle rib eye with varying weights that is shareable for two people or more, and decided to get a piece of 46-ounce one. It was truly a sight to behold; I saw the meat itself was probably three times our hands (admittedly on the smaller side) in terms of surface area! So what’s the verdict? It was a very well-grilled piece of meat, with juicy, tender texture that was quite satisfying in its medium rare form. The only problem was the evenness of seasoning. Some parts of the meat had very moderate seasoning to fully enhance the textural effect, but other parts just had too much salt on top to completely dull it. It was a bit unfortunate given how much I liked the meat’s texture. We complemented the rib eye with a couple of side dishes. Pan-fried mashed potatoes with truffle oil were quite delicious and worked well with the steak, but the shishito peppers had too much salt that I stopped eating them after three bites.
The restaurant doesn’t accept reservations and is constantly mobbed with people; my girlfriend and I showed up around 6 p.m. and the only spots available were at the counter, which we actually didn’t mind as we were able to see these three power ladies in action at the grill. There is plenty of wine and beer options to complement your meal. As noted above, the restaurant oozes casual, hipster vibe that may not necessarily be suitable for steakhouse traditionalists, but there is no question that it is also quite a fun place for casual dinner without any fussiness of décor or formality. St. Anselm is by no means perfect, but I do credit the restaurant for serving impressive arrays of meat in an idiosyncratic setting and recommend it next time you have an irresistible steak craving just for the change of scenery.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 7.5/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 355 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Telephone: (718) 384-5054