I was going through my usual weeknight post-work, post-dinner, pre-bedtime routine of sitting on the couch, TV on, headphone wearing boyfriend next to me, feet propped up on the coffee table, laptop on my lap routine of Facebooking and general online browsing when something I read made me stop cold. My fingers froze over the keys. My eyes shot open and I gasped— a long, over dramatic, hand-to-my-chest gasp.
“What is it?” asked Flaneur, looking slightly worried as he pulled off a headphone and paused what he was working on.
I turned the computer toward him, pointing to the screen with Sam Sifton’s latest review.
“We need to go. Soon. Really soon.”
Looking to avoid a long wait (because like Fatty Crab, they don’t take reservations), we went last night, a Wednesday. But because I forgot to write down directions, we stumbled around Williamsburg lost, walking up and down the same street (also, the wrong street) three times before finally realizing that we were a good twelve blocks from where we needed to be. When we finally found it, nestled in between a bunch of ugly buildings on an ugly street, I had worked up a monstrous appetite.
Following Sam’s advice (yea, I’m on a first name basis with the Times’ top restaurant critic) we started off with the recession special: a shot of whiskey, a shot of pickle juice and a PBR tallboy. The smokeyness of the whiskey, chased by the sour, slightly spicy pickle juice, followed by a long guzzle of cold beer was like a welcome party going off in my head. I loved this place already.
I had already read (and practically memorized) the menu beforehand so ordering was fast. To kick off our Fattyness we both had bowls of smokey bone broth and an order of pullman toast. Soup and bread? Boring, you think? WRONG. This soup, a ridiculously good concoction of smokey, spicy, sour, zesty broth made with galangal (think ginger’s asian cousin) and Chinese celery (thinner and with a leafy part like cilantro) was insanely delicious. The waitress told us to hold the bowl with our hands and drink it without spoons. I wanted to chug it and ask for a refill.
Before I could do that though, the toast arrived. The absolute best companion for the broth, the bread was thick and soft on the inside, with a slightly toasted crust. But to really push my tastebuds into overdrive, it came with a ramekin of master fat. I’m not entirely sure what master fat is (besides a potential new nickname) but it kind of looked and smelled like bacon grease. And if you think that’s disgusting, then you really just need to try it. You too will be a believer, and if you’re really sick like I am, you might even consider drinking it straight. It’s that good.
I was well on my way to reaching food nirvana when our first main dish was edged onto our small table. The Fazio farm red curry duck consisted of three huge chunks of still-on-the-bone duck meat, sat atop thin slices of daikon (a type of white radish with less bite) and paired with a brick-colored spicy curry. The duck, which had a healthy (or unhealthy, depending who you’re asking) amount of fat attached to it was juicy and smokey from the grill. Say what you want about fat, but nothing else injects meat with flavor quite like it. The red curry added a spicyness that was rich and deep without being flaming hot.
Everything up to this point had come out quickly, not leaving us with any time to sit around gawking at other tables, but our last dish took a little longer. In retrospect, the wait hadn’t realistically been that long but it felt like forever. Was something wrong? Had they forgotten it? Were they teasing us? But when it came, the Brandt farm beef brisket, was well worth the wait. On one plate there was lots of thinly sliced, perfectly cooked and seasoned brisket, a mound of chopped sweet red onion, and a colorful heap of cilantro. On the other plate was another ramekin of bone broth, three delicious plump bao buns and a two-part sauce combo of chili jam and aioli, the garlicky mayo I could spread on just about anything and eat. Our waitress explained: grab a bun, open it up, smear some sauce, load up the brisket, onion and cilantro like a mini sandwich, dip in the broth, and finally, revel in the deliciousness of what you just bit into. Ok, so the last step is mine. But one bite of the fluffy, soft, smooth bao, like the most perfect fat little pancake, stuffed full with all those spicy, exotic flavors will have you doing lots of reveling, trust me.
To finish our Fatty evening, Flaneur and I shared a slice (which our waitress also said was the last slice left) of s’mores pie from First Prize Pies. After just the first forkful of pie, I made a mental note to put First Prize on my list of places to look into further. Under a lightly browned, melted blanket of marshamallow was a fluffy filling of chocolate ganache on a graham cracker crust. Gooey, sweet and the perfect pie version of the camp classic.
Fatty ‘Cue was everything I expected it to be: fun, tasty, creative and every bit as amazing as it’s older sister-restaurant, Fatty Crab. Looks like I’ll be making the trek to Brooklyn more often. Thankfully, I know where to go now.