247 South First Street
Brooklyn NY, 11211
(718) 218-8047

"The time has come," I said to Bro,
"To grab ourselves a drink."
"But pray," he asked "where should we go?"
And thusly didst I think.

A place for food as well as grog,
Somewhere we could converse,
Per'aps in Brooklyn for my blog,
That would not bruise my purse.

Despite the rain poured o'erhead,
Despite the thunder nigh
We through the transit system fled
And took a seat at Rye.

I went to Rye for the booze. No beating around the bush, I was tired of cheap beer served cheaply. I wanted a cocktail. It just so happened that this cocktail craving hit me at just about the same time that my dinner hunger pangs did. Going to Rye, a restaurant with a mixologist's drink menu, was a no-brainer. I asked Bro if he wanted in, he said yes, and it was on like a prawn that yawns at dawn.

Rye is a dark place. So dark that I'm apologizing in advance for the quality of my photos. In retrospect, the lack of lighting should not have surprised me. After all, it's run by the people who run DuMont, a restaurant that's just slightly better lit than the inside of a cave. Unlike DuMont, there's no signage, so you risk walking past it as though it was never there. Inside, most of the tables are lined up on a long bench seat just past the hostess. It's pretty tight and hardly quiet (...this was not helped by the obnoxiously loud guy at the table next to me whose voice was not unlike being stabbed repeatedly in the ears by a large squawking robot). Larger tables for bigger groups are in the middle. All of the staff, from the hostess to the waitress to the guy with the mohawk filling water glasses, were extremely friendly. Do them a favor; don't be a dick and pour the candle wax on the table.

Bro and I each immediately ordered something to drink. I also ordered a little something from their "snack" menu. And when I say little, I do not exaggerate. I tried the Crab Croquette (singular), which was a fried, golf ball sized sphere of crab with pesto and greens. I won't recommend it because there just wasn't enough flavor. It wasn't bad, but it could have been better. It was almost like a ball of whitefish with crab essence. For happy juice, I ordered a Classic Old Fashioned (rye whiskey, bitters, sugar, an orange rind, and a giant ice cube for that nice, slow melt). A classic oldie, but a classic goodie. Not too sweet, not too bitter, not too strong, not too weak. It does just about everything right while looking cool in the glass. Bro ordered a South Side, which, with cucumber, mint, lime and soda, is essentially a cucumber mojito. The perfect humid summer night drink.

As a starter, I ordered the Duck Confit served over a bed of gnocchi and mushrooms. Initially, I wasn't too impressed. Duck is one of the fattiest birds out there, and duck confit is usually cooked until it's pretty crispy, draining out the fat. But here the duck was not so crispy, leaving the bird on the greasy side. Despite being put off at first, it grew on me. The duck was tender and the fat mixed with the gnocchi and vegetables very well. By the end, I wished that there was more of it. Bro tried Rye's Mac and Cheese. He liked it, as did I. It was baked with a breadcrumb crust and, unlike so may other baked mac and cheeses I've had, was moist through and through with no crusty dry spots on the top. It was also a pretty large appetizer. A bit larger and it could have been a small entree.

Bro's dinner was the Marinated Quail. After telling me it was delicious he plunked a meaty wing down on my plate. It was served atop a small cornbread muffin and small cabbage-raisin salad that he found too vinegary and did not much care for. The quail was tender and the flame grilling left a delicious, smokey, spotted charring. My entree was the Pan Roasted Halibut with asparagus, string beans and fava beans in a rich butter sauce. The halibut was very soft and very tender, but all of its flavor was from the heavy butter glazing and vegetables that it was served with. Don't get me wrong, I'd order it again, but this fish could not possibly stand on it own.

Neither Bro nor I were terribly blown away by the dessert menu, so we ordered more drinks. I tried the Greater Antilles, an allspice-infused rum drink with ginger beer and a twist of lime. Bro found it too bitter. I did not. It started bitter, I grant, but ended sweet. Bro opted for the Jack Rose, certainly a sweeter alternative, made from applejack (distilled hard cider) and grenadine. I found it too sweet. Bro found it perfect. But I guess it was dessert, after all. Rye also has an extensive list of whiskeys, as the name might imply, and other liquors you can order straight up.

Four cocktails, one snack, two appetizers and two entrees, plus tax and tip came to $130. If you avoid the cocktails, you could cut the price by almost half... but why would you do such a thing?

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