Williamsburg is long from being seen as a far off obscurity across the East River from the Manhattan food scene. Its popularity is now well on par with that of long-established NYC foodie neighborhoods – and for good reason. The sheer amount of restaurants in the neighborhood is likely to overwhelm tourists and locals alike, so we got Jonny Soleimanzadeh REEF’s VP of Restaurant Relations, long-time Williamsburg resident and restaurant founder, to show us around his neighborhood and highlight some of his favorite spots to order delivery from.
NBRHD: Tell us who you are in a tweet.
JS: “Forever excited by all things new. It’s not where you are, it’s who you are with. When I was 10 years old I asked Charlie Sheen for an autograph and Donald Sutherland told me to get the hell out of the scene. Come on over, I’m cooking.”
NBRHD: What’s your background in food like?
JS: “I absolutely love to cook and host everyone all the time. A while back I stopped practicing law and opened a restaurant called Barano here in Williamsburg. There, I developed a passion for wine and spirits and opened a boutique liquor shop called Spirit Animal.”
NBRHD: So how long have you lived in Williamsburg?
JS: “I first moved to Williamsburg back in 2010. Shortly after I begrudgingly bounced back to Manhattan for a quick jaunt but missed the wonder of Williamsburg so much that I happily returned in 2012 and have been here ever since.”
NBRHD: Anything else you want to add?
JS: “’You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.’” – Walter Hagen (not sure who he is but love this quote VERY MUCH)”
Johnny’s 10 Best Delivery Spots in Williamsburg
“Where else can you get a burrito the size of your head delivered to you with two slices of American cheese melted on top for under $10?”
“The sushi taco sets are what dreams are made of. I’m a sucker for accouterment, and the diced horseradish takes things to a whole new level. The broth for their udon and ramen will cure whatever ails you. The Gyoza! These used to get dropped on the table in a cast-iron skillet. But don’t worry, the take-out version lives up to the hype”
“How they’ve found a way to make their food travel so well is a secret in itself. St. Anselm is primo baby! The butcher steak is the juiciest thing you’ll ever sink your teeth into. Pair it with a perfectly priced bottle of wine and your significant other will love you forever.”
“Unfortunately, as an adult, you have to eat healthy once in a while. Café Mogador makes it easy with a bevy of dishes that will make you feel less guilty for ordering in. The falafels here might be my favorite in the neighborhood, which might get me in trouble with friends at 12 Chairs and Reunion, both also my beloveds. Sabich is one of my favorite dishes, so it’s nice to have someone nearby that can whip one up for when I’m too lazy to fry an eggplant myself. The lamb tagine with the chermoula sauce is my happy place.”
“Bias much? But we’ve got the best grandma slice in town. Off menu tip – ask for pesto and vodka sauce as toppings to make it a tie-dye – next level. Also, the Saffron Gigli is something you’ve never had before – it’s like rich hot honey mac and cheese except not as gross as that sounds and with saffron kneaded into the daisy-shaped pasta and finished with Calabrian honey. The chocolate torta is also probably the dessert you never order but should. It’s the most indulgent chocolate chip cookie you ever had finished with a Calabrian Anglaise”
“This was a tough one with Birds of Feather and Kings County Imperial so close by. But M Shanghai has been with me since my first apartment in Williamsburg back in 2010, so they get the nod. They are also the only ones in the neighborhood that deliver hot soup dumplings. Three words: HOT. SOUP. DUMPLINGS.”
“Best Nachos in Williamsburg? New York? The USA? The only place where my vision of a tower of nachos is matched (if not outdone) when they are delivered. Also an unbelievable fried chicken sandwich with all the heat you need. I’m literally sweating just typing about it. Cocktails! Their Pina Coladas turn every night into a vacation. After two you’ll agree that it’s sand, not snow outside.”
“Federoff’s menu is limited but everything is perfection. Their namesake Roast Pork is probably the most popular sandwich. But I’m a sucker for their Italian Hero that is the perfect iteration of a cold cut sando with prosciutto, soppressata, capicola, sharp provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, and vinegar.”
“The name says it all. Best classic pie in the neighborhood, hands down. It’s all about the sauce! They’ve been a part of the neighborhood forever and it still shows. I usually pick up from there just because their staff is the best and their playlist is that good. Also, their bathroom has really cool stickers.”
“I’m kind of a fake paleo dieter so the vegan options help me sleep at night. Also, the honeycomb flavor is the most unique non-kitsch ice cream flavor that I keep falling in love with over and over again. My mom actually likes it! She is the toughest of cookies, so to be able to share a scoop of earl grey ice cream with her is special.”