When we heard about a new restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y. called St. Anselm, we felt an instant attraction. We also felt we had the perfect restaurant reviewer to introduce it to any of our alumni who live in or visit the Big Apple.
Lauren Weybrew ’08 was an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing. Within months of graduating with a history degree, she fulfilled her short-term goal of getting job at a New York public relations firm. After three years at Gibbs & Soell, she took a job in nonprofit communications consulting, at Douglas Gould and Company. It was not hard to convince her to go out to dinner.
As a New York City resident, I hear about new restaurant openings every day and am treated to some of the best food in the world. However, a recent review in The New York Times really caught my attention – St. Anselm – a new restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
In the name of “research,” I hopped the L train and headed to Williamsburg, ready for an evening of food and drinks, to see what this St. Anselm had to offer.
There are no monks here, but a fair share of “hipsters.” No gorgeous open quad, but lots of rustic decor. And sadly no buffalo chicken calzone, but plenty of other delicious cuisine.
St. Anselm is located on a main street in Williamsburg. It was immediately warm, welcoming and very cozy (read: tiny) inside. There are only a few tables that can fit more than two people. My dinner date and I grabbed a seat at the bar to peruse the menu and check out the restaurant.
The decor features a wood bar and wood walls with antique saws and coats of arms. Tiny flowers and vintage wine bottles full of water were waiting for us.
Everything at St. Anselm is cooked on a big open grill in the middle of the restaurant. Sitting at the bar, we got dinner and a show – as it was absolutely fascinating to watch the chefs work with a curated elegance and visible passion while we waited for our own food.
We started our culinary adventure with grilled artichokes with aioli sauce and wine braised octopus. Both were excellent and full of flavor. For dinner I had the diver scallops and my date had the butcher steak, which were both very simple and perfectly cooked. They paired very well with the iceberg and blue cheese salad with hot bacon dressing. (Is your mouth watering yet?) And when it was time for the dessert, we ordered the decadent, drool-worthy pot de crème. This is must-order if you ever go – you can thank me later.
Before I slipped into a food coma, I had to ask our waitress about the origin of the restaurant’s name. Was the owner a proud Saint Anselm graduate perhaps? Unfortunately, no. The story I got from the waitress is that the owner (who also owns a few other great restaurants in the area) wanted to name his new establishment after his grandfather. However, the owner has the same first and last name as his grandfather. The only difference is his grandfather’s middle name: Anselm. He originally wanted to name the new place just Anselm, but it was already taken. He went online looking for other ways to use the name and ended up with St. Anselm.
So there you go. You have the full story of the Brooklyn St. Anselm. Next time you find yourself in the five boroughs and want simple, great food in a casual environment, head to Williamsburg and pay this St. Anselm a visit.