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“James”


  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Brooklyn Moderate Good

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The Diver scallops ($12) however, were quite good—large and succulent and caramelized so they’re nice and brown on the edges, they are set up with a velvet smooth celery root puree, boar lardoons and bright watercress vinaigrette.

Fish is a strong point here as the Arctic char was among the most luscious and silken pieces of ocean meat I’ve ever eaten. Seared so its skin resembles a tortilla chip, this char is a melt-in-your mouth situation. Literally, it’s like buttah, baby. I loved the potato latke that comes along with the fish, which, like the skin, adds a nice salty crunchiness. Mustard greens and a miso butter round out the plate, lending soft shadows of sweet, salty, and sharp to the picture.
We’d heard a lot about the burger ($15) at James, and while several other menu items beckoned us (the chicken and a pine-nut and rosemary rack of lamb with spaetzle), we went for it. How happy we were. It’s a beautiful and tender grass fed pup (though it could use a tad more seasoning) that gets topped with a thin gloss of Cotswold cheese with pickles, red leaf lettuce and tomatoes. It’s rested on a grilled brioche bun that’s soft and warm and does an impressive job as a bread sponge for the burger’s considerable juices. Fries are hand-cut and skin on and served piled so high in a white bowl that you may doubt your ability to finish them. Yee of little faith; how quickly they disappear.

After demolishing the burger and fries, the idea of dessert was something we could not really embrace, though I wish we could have. The grilled lemon pound cake was just up my alley. I love lemon desserts. And anything made with a pound of butter.
But James had done its job, bringing the evening to a close on a bright note. Instead of feeling perplexed and underwhelmed, James left us feeling satisfied and happy and anxious to return for more. Ethel let us down, but James picked us up. Thanks.

James is located at 605 Carlton Avenue (@ St. Marks Avenue), 718-942-4255.

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