Le Comptoir, simply translated means “the counter” – however, in France the nuances of this phrase hint at a longstanding tradition of culinary outposts. The 2012 Diner’s Choice winner Le Comptoir in Williamsburg certainly pulls its inspiration from this convention. The modest bar and restaurant invites you into the candlelit dining area, walking past a long bar replete with French wines.
We were presented with a list of delightfully inventive and sometimes suggestive cocktails. I loved the Lemon Incest, which had a kick of red peppercorn. The Comic Strip was equally beguiling, offering fresh notes of cucumber and parsley. Our server coquettishly slid across the wine list, a polished selection of french reds and whites that are sure to please.
To begin the meal, we were presented with an ethereal Goat Cheese Crostini, the perfect rusty broil topped the toasted brioche which was seated on a bright and sweet shaved fennel salad. Their roasted brussel sprouts were a beautiful specimen of developed flavor, maintaining the essence of the crunchy vegetable.
The menu offers bistro staples like the haute burger, in addition to a slew of traditional dishes. The Tuna Tartare Japonais is enlivened with bits of brioche croutons. We delighted in a surprisingly light braised short rib and parmesan risotto, which thoughtfully features the quality of the meat, falling off the bone and packed with flavor.
Befitting to our perfect meal, we ended on a traditional note, with their effervescent floating islands, leaning back with generous glasses of Pinot Noir. The proprietor of the kitchen was all the while modestly sampling and testing dishes in the open kitchen, which served up our entertainment for the evening. Le Comptoir has a strong constituency in Williamsburg so make sure to snag a reservation. The simple and perfect fare imbued our confidence in the restaurant’s success, recently earning a number of accolades including top rankings in Zagat.