Bowling and Gourmet Food are far from synonymous. Most people rightfully associate bowling alleys with greasy fried food and pitchers of cheap beer. Brooklyn Bowl changes all of that. The Bromberg brothers from the beloved Blue Ribbon Restaurants created an entirely new menu full of comfort food for this Brooklyn hotspot. People wait hours to sit in the blocked off restaurant area of the venue, while hours wait hours for a bowling lane that will serve food as well. And the food is definitely worth the wait.
Brooklyn Bowl in and of itself is an amazing venue, so you hardly mind waiting for one of the tables or lanes. My friends and I were drawn to Wililamsburg for Soulive, a jazz/funk trio, that was performing in the stage area.
The entire venue is divided into four inter-connected sections, stage/dance floor, bowling lanes, bar area and restaurant. While waiting for our table in the restaurant, we walked around the bar area, watching the Syrcause-Louisville game playing on one of the many TVs on the walls. This place really has everything.
About 45 minutes later, we received a phone call informing us that our table was available. The seven of us piled into a comfortable booth in the restaurant area. The area is dimly lit, but extremely comfortable, away from the extreme hustle and bustle of the venue. We glanced over the menu, debating which direction to go in. Their fried chicken is phenomenal here, and even featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate. Ranges of sandwiches, flatbreads and other Southern Comfort food with some Jewish twists fill the funky menu.
While glancing over the menu, we ordered a picture of Weisse Wheat Beer from Brooklyn Brewery. We had just spent the afternoon around the corner at the Brewery, enjoying a wide range of beers and were more then happy to continue drinking the same liquid gold. Brooklyn Bowl prides itself on serving local beer, staying away from the cheap typical pitchers. Once again, they continue to amaze me.
Unable to fully determine what to order, I opted to share a cheeseburger and mac and cheese with my friend, Dan. Mike, who had been here before, went with the smart decision of selecting the Fried Chicken Dinner, mix platter. Vil went for the Theresa French Bread Pizza, and Allison opted for the BBQ Beef. It was a nice array of dishes to try for my first time here.
We dug into the Cheeseburger first, which even at first glance seemed pretty awesome.
This was a pretty, damn good burger. The meat was extremely juicy inside, with the gooey cheese on top adding additional flavor. The terrific, salty french fries on the side are devoured in between messy bites of burger, with the juices easily running down your hand. This is not a place to stay classy; the messier the better. Bites of the pickled cucumber in between adds a refreshing burst of freshness between the meaty burger and crispy fries. Is this the best burger in New York, probably not. But it’s pretty great, satisfying every need and craving.
Next, we dug into the Mac and Cheese.
This was gooey, oozing, decadent mac and cheese. It was definitely on the creamier, rich side. Served in a piping hot, straight out of the oven ceramic container, the mac and cheese had a that ideal layer of crust. When you dig your spoon into the dish and hear the crunch, steam comes out and the smell of cheesy goodness takes over. The first bite is extremely creamy and super flavorful. However, this could hardly be eaten as a meal on its own, and should definitely be found in a ‘sharing’ section of the menu. It’s definitely a good version of mac and cheese, but I would struggle hard trying to eat this in the bowling lane in between turns. This is 100% a restaurant area only kind of dish.
I tried a bite of Vil’s Theresa french bread pizza, which was topped with butternut squash, mushrooms and garlic.
I like anything featuring butternut squash, and this dish was no exception. How could you go wrong with soft, flakey garlic bread smothered with cheese, garlic, mushrooms and squash. The entire flat bread was roasted until it turned golden brown. Definitely a great sharing dish.
A bite of Allison’s BBQ Brisket sandwich transported me to Jewish Soul Food heaven.
An all around awesome sandwich, with the slow-roasted brisket rendered out to leave moist pieces of meat inside the crispy bread. The pickles added a nice bite of crunch and the sweet gravy elevated this dish to another level, making it something different then an ordinary Jewish deli. Definitely one of the best things I tried all night.
While I never tried Mike’s chicken, it looked amazing and would be a complete disservice on my end to not share.
Just watch Michael Psilakis of Anthos describe his Best Thing I Ever Ate, and you’ll know this is a must order.
As we sat around our booth in a serious food coma, playing a card game, kindly called Asshole, the waiter came over and kindly asked if we wouldn’t mind vacating the table for another party. In exchange for our cooperation, he brought over a complimentary pitcher of Weisse, which we had been drinking. I thought this gesture was extremely kind and slightly unnecessary, but went a really long way. It’s a testament to the high quality of customer service at Brooklyn Bowl. They genuinely care about their patrons and there is a reason everyone comes back.
A word to the wise, when you first arrive at Brooklyn Bowl, no matter your intensions or intended length of stay, put your name down for a bowling lane the second you walk in. About an forty-five minutes after our meal concluded, which translates to three hours after I put our names down for a lane, I got the golden call. Our group made our way into the lanes with our now coveted pink wrist bands to lane 7 for an awesome night of bowling.
The lanes have full wait staff service, which are equally as friendly and helpful as in the restaurant area. They do serve food at the bowling lanes as well, with comfortable couches replacing the silly spinning, plastic chairs found at most alleys. Dark wooden tables are placed in between two couches, serving as a table for dining for some.
“We suggest that you eat with your non-bowling hand,” the bottom of the food menu reads. If you are lucky enough to sit in the restaurant area, this isn’t a problem, but if you opt to eat while you bowl, you’ve been warned. Because the food from Blue Ribbon is messy, delicious and another reason to come back and enjoy a great night of great eats, awesome music and hopefully a killer bowling game.
I think I kind of conquered Brooklyn Bowl during my first trip to this Williamsburg hot spot. All four areas of the old warehouse turned bar/music venue/restaurant/bowling alley were conquered. I came, I bowled, I ate, I drank, I danced. Pretty much the ultimate night.
So the next time you have no idea what to do on any night of the week, make the trek on the L Train to the Bedford stop and go to Brooklyn Bowl. The waits seem hardly relevant when you are having a such a great time. ?uestLove of the Roots DJs there every Thursday for Bowl Train, which will always prove to be a killer night. Be sure to check out this amazing hot spot, and eat some of the food while you’re there too.
Brooklyn Bowl – 61 Wythe Avenue – Brooklyn, NY
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Type: Southern, New American
Perfect For: Impressing Foodies, Late Night, Drinks
Reservations: Not Available
Favorite Dishes: BBQ Beef, Cheeseburger Deluxe, Fried Chicken