Union Square has been getting a lot of attention in the last couple of years for its vibrant culinary scene, but perhaps no opening has been buzzed about more than Bronwyn. The bar and restaurant, which highlights the food and drink of Central and Eastern Europe, was even named one of the 16 hottest openings of 2013 by Zagat.
It’s easy to get caught up in the high expectations new restaurants often bring, but in the case of Bronwyn (255 Washington St.), the hype was right on. Every detail has been meticulously selected to bring diners an authentic experience. From the mismatched chairs and the heart motif carried throughout the space to the gorgeous bar and the heavy use of wooden decorations, no choice was left to chance.
And of course, let’s not forget about the food and drink. Some people love donuts, some people love bacon, but me? I love pretzels, so I had pretty high expectations for the giant one served at Bronwyn. It was, in a word, perfect. Larger than my head, it came with the mustard to end all mustards. Tangy with a light sweetness, the mustard was the perfect foil to the pretzel, with its crusty shell and soft, pillowy interior.
We also sampled the pickled eggs, which tasted almost like a lighter, fresher deviled egg when paired with accompanying horseradish mustard. Served on a slate board and sprinkled with chives, the pink eggs were visually appealing as well as delicious.
My dining companion had visited Bronwyn once previously and sampled the sausages (yes, all of them), so we decided to go a different route this time around. He reported that all of the wursts were flavorful, unique and made a terrific meal. He was partial to blood sausage, but said they were all quite tasty.
For our main courses, I selected the vegan plate, which I had heard rave reviews about. My plate was piled high with a wide variety of roasted vegetables and fruit (think tomatoes, zucchini, onions, squash, apples and even oranges), a slice of Bronwyn’s hearty bread with hazelnut “butter” (like hummus), barley and an amazing cucumber dill salad that was perfect for the warm summer day.
The dark beer pasta with sugar snap peas, swiss chard, mustard and blue cheese was also a hit. The rich dish was perfectly portioned with all of the flavors melting into the tender pasta with each bite.
To wash all this down, we sampled several of the draught beers and loved them all. Mahr’s Ungespundet was a full-flavored lager served in a giant goblet, while the Kulmbacher pilsner and Sunner kolsh were light and refreshing and served in thick-glass mugs.
The best thing about Bronywyn was the way everything paired so well together. The beer complemented every dish in a way that added so much depth and never took away from the meal’s complex flavors. And the festive atmosphere provided just the right environment to enjoy such a wonderful meal. That the service was friendly, prompt and professional truly made the night.