I'm old fashioned in some ways, not in that I appreciate tin ceilings and uneven wooden planked floors, but how I kind of like the appetizer/entrée convention. I sound like a grandpa but small plates and big plates commingling on the same menu confound me at times. I never know how much to order and often overdo it.
I did start appropriately with a whiskey old fashioned, though. The cocktails are definitely one of Rye’s strengths and you know they're serious because they're doing the big ice cube. You know, the giant solid square that fits the tumbler perfectly. Ideally, to keep the drink from watering down, though the more shrewd might say it's so the drink looks bigger despite only a few ounces of alcohol. Me, I like the big ice cube. There has been some experimenting with concocting them in my household lately.
Neither of us felt up to doing a full on main course. There was something about the room, despite its grand size, that made me antsy. Maybe it was the absence of air conditioning, an overall lackadaisical sensibility, who knows. So far the entrees are neat and tidy, just five: chicken, steak, vegetable lasagna and two fish. The smaller stuff just seemed more fun.
So, the grill section seems ok for sharing, and if I'm correct the portions increase along with prices as they descend down the menu. The sardine crostini, lying on spinach, had just enough char and good acidity from the vinaigrette.
Pork belly probably shouldn't be eaten as an entrée. Of course, I didn’t let common sense stop me. This was intended to be shared along with the meatloaf sandwich but slabs on bread hefty enough require tackling open-faced don't lend themselves to splitting. There was sufficient contrast between the thick slices’ browned edges and softer centers. The bitter broccoli rabe and light mustard seed-dotted sauce did help counter the fattiness, though eating more than two rectangles can still be overwhelming.
The substantial meatloaf sandwich with herbed mayonnaise and topped with thin onion rings. Assorted pickles, both cucumber and otherwise, were a nice touch.
I can see Rye as the type of place you might pop into for a drink and a snack–maybe oysters or duck rilletes–if you live in that inbetween stretch of Williamsburg. But it doesn't strike me as a destination restaurant; they're more of a General Greene than a Buttermilk Channel.
Rye * 247 S. First St., Brooklyn, NY