Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Singing Praises of the Fat Canary, Williamsburg
Located at 410 W Duke of Gloucester St, next door to the Craft House, is the Fat Canary. It is a smallish place with an open air terrace for alfresco dining, and a fun, contemporary interior. We had some time to kill before being seated and decided to spend it at the bar. There were five specialty drinks that evening. The lady sitting next to me was sipping a martini called the "Tuscan Sun", made from orange vodka,and cointreau. It looked delish, and she confirmed that it was tasty. Having never been a big rum drinker, I suppose I was the among the very few to have never tried a Mojito. I decided to give theirs a shot, and my husband tried the Tuscan Sun. The Mojito was made with lots of fresh mint and really hit the spot. The martini was also refreshing. (I had to try a sip!)
Service was really on point that night. We were seated promptly at 6:30. Our waiter was very attentive, but not overbearing. He was knowledgeable of all menu offerings and skilled at making wine recommendations to complement dinner selections. We sampled four courses: soup, salad, entree, dessert. (Trust me, save room for dessert.) It was all excellent. We had a lentil soup that was the perfect marriage of flavors, a light and interesting peach salad, soft shell crabs (perhaps the best I have ever had, top 2 for sure) and macadamia nut pie a la mode. This pie was a serious indulgence. Rich, sweet and worth every calorie and fat gram. It was all I could do to restrain myself from licking the plate.
Price is a little bit on the high end, but I believe it is appropriate considering the end product. Parking can be a bit of a chore in the Merchant Square section. Give yourself some extra time to find a spot and walk a block or so. Duke of Gloucester street is always bustling, so the stroll is entertaining. For weekend dinner, reservations are a must. Holidays and other popular weekends will require calling a couple of weeks in advance. The bar was full of people dining that night, so you can probably get seated there if you want to pop in without calling ahead. The restaurant is connected to the Cheese Shop, a Williamsburg staple since the 70's. If you have the time and are a wine lover, take a few minutes to browse the shop's wine cellar downstairs. It is impressive.