I had always thought that Diner, at 85 Broadway near the Williamsburg Bridge, was just that, a diner, albeit with some grandiose tendencies. After all, it is set in a restored 1927 diner car. I've stopped in there occasionally for late night drinks and snacks and scoffed at the menu - Risotto, I have often wondered, why would you ever want to order risotto or other fancy stuff at a diner?
The guys who own Diner also run the fabulous shop/restaurant next door, Marlow & Sons, which I love for its oysters, cheese plates, and brick-pressed chicken. However, for some reason, I never really made the connection that Diner would be likewise high foodie-minded. Recently, though, I've discovered that the owners are committed to sustainability, and have even expanded their Diner Journal into a blog that explores "food sources, our food politics, our culture and our ideas on sustainability. This week, I also learned from an interesting article on Brooklyn Based that both restaurants serve only local, grass-fed meats, even going so far as to have their own in-house butcher. Well, why the heck are they not advertising this on their websites - if I had known, I would have been patronizing both Marlow & Sons and Diner more frequently.
So I took a second look at the Diner menu, and realized it's not a diner at all, but a restaurant serving a delicious menu of local, seasonal offerings. (I would recommend changing their name to get more customers, but they are already plenty busy on weekend nights.) Jesse and I went there for dinner on Friday night, and enjoyed a hearty roasted potato and garlic soup,as well as blackened fish, but the star of the meal was the kale salad - warm chiffonades of kale eaten in mouthfuls with the flavorful crunch of bacon and breadcrumbs, and even a poached egg to top it off. As a side note, I was surprised to find that bacon is the only part of a pig that Jesse is willing to eat (pork is so fatty, he often whines), while I was trained by my parents to avoid bacon at all costs.
The one thing that I find disappointing about Diner is the cost of the alcohol. The cheapest drink on the menu is Stella at $5, while all other glasses are $7 or more and wine bottles start at $32. Cheers to them for serving Brooklyn-made Sixpoint beer, which Jesse and I cherish everytime we can find it, but I'm not sure why it's so much more expensive here than at other bars.