The Meat Hook & Roebling Tea Room, Brooklyn, NYRoebling Tea Room, 143 Roebling St. The Meat Hook, 100 Frost St.
If we were into giving titles to our reviews this one would quaintly be called “From butcher to table.” Rarely do we get to see any of the stages in the production of the burger that ultimately sits before us at a restaurant. But it’s becoming increasingly popular that restaurants are securing their meat from area butcher shops, and they in turn are sourcing their meat from local (or at least regional) farms. And although it may not be the farm, it’s rather satisfying to be at least that one step closer to the source. If you have not yet been to The Meat Hook, in Williamsburg, make the trip- if only to see a new generation of butchers- young, tattooed, and inspired. In just minutes, I watched as owner, Tom Mylan, deftly skinned and butchered an entire lamb, drawing one blade after another from a knife holster hanging at his hip. He’s the new urban cowboy and I want to be one too.
As high noon approached and bags of freshly ground beef accumulated on the prep table behind the meat cases, my thoughts naturally turned to lunch. At some point that morning, Tom had mentioned that he provides the hamburger meat for the Roebling Tea Room- so off we headed.
In the decor category, if we had one, this place would easily get all hearts. It’s straight out of World of Interiors with beautiful wainscoting, worn-in seating areas, and hunting motif wallpaper throughout. Weekday afternoons are a good time to go, as they are casual and uncrowded. But this is a place for a leisurely lunch, as service tends to be on the slow side- not to mention on the cool side. I wish that people from Portland, Oregon worked here, and then the overall experience would be perfect. Right, the burger…
Delicious. It was a perfectly cooked, medium-rare, fist-sized wonder, topped with cheddar and tucked within a lightly toasted sesame bun. No lettuce, tomato or onion- just tender beef. It was incredibly flavorful on its own, but with a bit of their special mayo sauce- heaven. I had been warned that I should opt for the sauce on the side as they pour it on pretty heavy otherwise. This was a good tip. It also meant that I had some sauce to dip my fries in as well which I highly recommend doing. The menu only lists the burger as “grass-fed” beef, but it would certainly be worth also mentioning that the ground beef is from their friendly neighborhood butcher shop, The Meat Hook- just down the way.