I first became aware of Marlow & Sons through my love of oysters. Many oyster aficionados list Marlow & Sons as one of their favorite places for a freshly shucked bivalve, along with Dressler right down the block. While I’ve frequented this corner of Brooklyn mostly for Luger’s dry aged steaks, I long dismissed Marlow & Sons as just another market-slash-eatery. Looking in from the outside, it looks like a typical New England baked goods or farm produce store.
In fact, the folks behind Marlow & Sons are quite good at selling things. A short walk away is Marlow and Daughters, a small gourmet market. Online there’s Marlow Goods, in case you need a Marlow approved shoulder bag or wallet, who doesn’t?
Then came word from my colleague, a long time Brooklyn resident, that Marlow & Sons goes beyond oysters, baked goods and branded merchandise. Past the country market facade is a proper sit down restaurant, and a damn fine one at that.
If you’re reading this and your view of Williamsberg is molded after Lena Dunham’s Girls, then Marlow & Sons is your archetypal Brooklyn restaurant. Dimly lit, old fashioned bar, uncomfortable seats, ancient furniture (or new ones made deliberately fossilized). Somehow the farm stand facade makes it an ideal location for brunch.
The menu is deceptively simple. With so many one or two word options, we grabbed a waiter and unloaded with questions, while glancing over at the next table for visual references. Please note that the menu also changes daily, so read on for a sense of what you’d find at Marlow’s, not a guide of what you can order.
We started with some obligatory oysters. Clean, fresh, with an excellent vinaigrette. There was one variant from each coast available during brunch hours.
The soup really set the tone for what’s to come. Unable to determine what exactly we were getting from the menu, the bacon laden, slightly warmed soup had complex flavors that surpassed my expectations. I’ve read other other similarly alluring soup choices other diner’s have had at Marlow and Sons, so soup seems to be a sure bet.
Next up was called just Eggs and Mushrooms on the menu. With such a simple name, surely the dish exceeded expectations. Two beautifully poached eggs sat on top of a bowl of flavorful mushrooms. A slice of hearty bread completes the package, allowing you to slop up any of the egg yolk and mushroom mixture.
At this point, the menu reminded me very much of ACME. Therefore memories of the cured fish at ACME lead me to try the cured arctic char. The house cured fish was a bit on the salty side, since the hard toast takes a few solid bites before it disintegrates and blends into the flavor of the fish. The oils and flavor from the fish was great, making this a missed opportunity of something truly special.
With the rapid growth of northern Williamsberg, the area south of the bridge doesn’t seem as hip as yesteryear. For a good meal, however, this neighborhood, or just this block, still can’t be beat.
What does this rating mean?
Marlow & Sons
Brooklyn, NY 11211