June 12, 2006 | Insatiable Critic


        The scarred tile floors are real, and the abundant hills of tantalizing, gently priced food are real, too, a joy in this era of foam and froth. But everything else at the new Dressler is whimsy. The metal grillwork, the paneling, the chandeliers with tiny birds nesting all look vaguely Victorian yet are clever artifice from local craftsmen. It makes a handsome setting, steps from Peter Luger, for yet another fine eating spot from Colin Devlin (DuMont and DuMont Burger). The same duo of chefs—Polo Dobkin and Cal Elliott—take turns at the range, delivering splendid strozzapreti pasta with veal ragù and shards of pecorino Romano, and a thick grilled pork chop with Savoy cabbage, fresh bacon, and white beans—preserved lemon taming its earthy richness. You can barely see the white of the rib-eye plate under its puddle of spinach, mushroom-flecked bordelaise, and its tower of crisp, hot onion rings. Starters like spring-pea-and-Fontina raviolini in a lemony Parmesan broth with peas and pea shoots would be an entrée in most joints across the river, as might smoked sturgeon on potato galette with herbed crème fraîche, frisée, arugula, hard-boiled egg, and truffle vinaigrette. Does that sound hauntingly like Tom Valenti? Well, it’s definitely got that lush heft, I’m happy to report. Undone by our own gluttony, we four decide to share a smartly tart rhubarb-and-berry crumble, but prudence melts as three more sweets arrive unbidden.

149 B'way nr. Driggs Ave. Williamsburg, Bklyn 718 384 6343

Providing a continuous lifeline to homebound elderly New Yorkers

Cafe Fiorello