With the summer weather now firmly in place in New York City, my wife Jun and I would frequently cross the East River all the way to Brooklyn, usually via the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge that has been an iconic landmark in the city for a long time. Compared to the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge certainly looks pedestrian in appearance but if there are restaurants across the bridge worth checking out, I certainly would not mind making that trip to the Williamsburg side instead of going to downtown Brooklyn. One restaurant underneath the Williamsburg Bridge that has been on my radar for a while is All Hands, a seafood oriented place from the former chef of East Village’s Northern Spy Food Co., one of the more acclaimed farm-to-table establishments before its unfortunate closing in 2016. I have never had a chance to check out Northern Spy, but was certainly intrigued how the farm-to-table philosophy would be translated to seafood. Overall, Jun and I had a pleasant Sunday dinner that made our trip to Williamsburg worthwhile.
The menu at All Hands consists of easily shareable small plates and large dishes. It was in the starter section that the kitchen really put together some wonderful seafood dishes. I was blown away by mussels on toast accompanied by beef Béarnaise, garlic and parsley that created complexity of wonderful flavor that made me wonder what kind of magic went into this simple-looking dish. Jun was also very much a fan of this dish as well. Albacore tuna pastrami with trout roe sat on top of buckwheat blini, and while the dish came out slightly more citrusy than I would have preferred, it still was quite a delicious bite with a lot of different ingredients working together in harmony.
The lone pasta dish at All Hands is the egg-based passatelli with littleneck clams, Calabrian chili and pecorino, and while the noodle didn’t have the ideal level of firmness given it was made with egg, the overall balance of flavor was still there. For a main dish, we split pan seared halibut with marble potato, asparagus, carrot top pesto and black truffle. The fish was quite aptly cooked and its seasoning was moderate just the way I liked it. For dessert, Jun ordered panna cotta with lemon marmalade and blueberries for us, and we both liked the dish for its silky smooth texture and delightful but not over-the-top flavor. Overall, we were pleased with the overall direction of the kitchen that emphasizes the freshness of locally sourced seafood ingredients.
Getting a reservation at All Hands is pretty easy, and we were both puzzled that the restaurant was nearly empty on a Sunday evening despite its location and the quality of food coming out of the kitchen. Perhaps this space gets more crowded during other days? It certainly has the charm of a neighborhood restaurant where you can enjoy the sunset across Manhattan before or after your meal. There is full bar with a good mix of potent and refreshing cocktails to capably complement your meal. All Hands is a solid seafood restaurant that I certainly think deserves more love in the dining community. Next time you make a trek to the Williamsburg, I recommend you check it out.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 29 Dunham Place, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Telephone: (718) 963-0078