McCarren Hotel & Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has revamped the dinner and cocktail menus at its restaurant and bar, Oleanders, a comfortable spot for quality modern American cuisine and craft drinks year-round. To transition into spring, executive chef Kevin Chojnowski (Public, Olives NY, and Willow Road) has reimagined the restaurant’s former throwback concept in favor of more modern American dishes, oozing with comfort and perfect for sharing with the table. The new bar program by beverage manager Francis Verrall (Seamstress, The Gilroy, and Bathtub Gin) complements the menu offerings with an array of spirit-forward craft cocktails favoring seasonal ingredients and local distillers.
“We wanted to introduce a concept that was approachable and meant for sharing and one that speaks to the vibrant neighborhood we are located in. The new menu introduces just that: familiar menu items with our own twist that can be enjoyed either during a celebratory dinner or a casual night out. It is beautifully complemented by the exciting new cocktail program Francis Verrall has introduced at the bar,” says Chojnowski, who is now leading all culinary efforts at the hotel.
Snacks include a generous Plate of Meat & Pickles with Smoking Goose salumi, house-made pork rillettes, and a superb mustard-relish hybrid picadillo; and crave-inducing Goat Cheese Fondue accompanied by colorful market vegetables for dipping.
Composed salads and side dishes, portioned to share, range from creamy, melt-in-your-mouth Burrata drizzled with truffle honey, gorgeous veined greens, French radishes and pickled golden raisins; to perfectly charred Crispy Brussels Sprouts with contrasting sweetness from honey, Aleppo grapes and a smear of pomegranate yogurt; to an Almond Romesco that balances nuttiness with spice and comes with light, crispy chicken skin chips for dipping.
Larger portions include Creamy Polenta, the ultimate hangover helper, ladled with fire-roasted tomato sauce, a sunny side up egg and crispy cracklins; tender Cider Braised Short Rib towering over creamy polenta with colorful vegetables; and a Bone Marrow Cheeseburger bursting with beefy flavor from bone marrow and Pat LaFrieda meat, topped with Havarti cheese, house-made onion relish, and a side of hand cut fries.
A small dessert menu stars Sticky Toffee Pudding covered in salted caramel toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream; plus coffee from Williamsburg-based roasters, Devoción.
Signature drinks, offering a twist on classic cocktails, include:
Old Oscar, a smooth blend of Bourbon with bitters, Aztec chocolate and a kick of chili spice from Ancho Reyes.
Hipster Reviver, Williamsburg’s take on a Survivor, featuring local Dorothy Parker gin, citrusy Cointreau & lemon and an absinthe mist.
Into the Pines, a nicely balanced gin drink with a beautiful pale pink hue and sprig of rosemary garnish.
Designed by Heather Maloney at Definition:Design, the restaurant’s classic bentwood chairs, comfortable banquettes, over-scaled Tiffany chandelier lighting and soaring accent wall—covered in the evergreen shrubs that are its namesake—complement the copper clad bar and checkerboard floor. The space features prime bar seating, a large open kitchen and a glass-enclosed PDR tricked out with flat screen TVs, making it ideal for everything from intimate dates to conferences or parties.