Restaurant of the Week: Five Leaves

Melissa Seley

Five Leaves, situated at the crossroads where Williamsburg blends into Greenpoint, is a snug bistro as lovely to behold as its staff. Oak-top tables etched with sea figures, handmade steel lanterns, a glinting brass-top bar and a portholed kitchen anchor an image of a dream ship's cabin. The morning the espresso-to-go street window opened for business, locals making their foot commute to the Bedford L train lined up six-deep for croissants (from SoHo's Ceci Cela bakery, $3.50) and organic Americanos (coffee beans from Wandering Goat of Eugene, Oregon, $2.25-$3). Exquisite coffee is an adored addition to the block. So is breakfast (ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter, $9.50) and lunch (radicchio salad with roasted squash, feta cheese and red onion, $12; warm roast chicken sandwich with roasted tomato, chipotle mayo, parmesan cheese and anchovies, $10.50). At dinner you'll find hanger steak with harissa butter ($19) and other delights, such as truffle fries ($8) and fresh oysters ($3/each, $24/dozen). Then there's the best Calvados sidecar ($9) in the five boroughs and pastries paired with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato ($6-$8). This spot has quickly become a hangout for foodies, hipsters, the organic-minded and those in search of Parisian tastes on a starving graphic artist's budget. Chef Cat von Klitzing (formerly of Prune) is young, beautiful and poised to become a New York star, especially with her signature housemade ricotta with fresh thyme, chestnut honey, figs, Maldon sea salt and fruit bread ($9) and her black eyed pea soup with kale ($7). The eclectic menu reflects Australian owner Jud Mongell's heritage, as well as that of the late Heath Ledger, one of the eatery's key backers. Gazing out of the glassy restaurant at McCarren Park, the omnipresent Mongell says, "We're so happy to be here on this corner, it's like that house at the end of the block you just want to hang out at."

Five Leaves
18 Bedford Ave.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 383-6084

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