Some things will always be cool. Bruce Springsteen. White t-shirts and leather jackets. Dr. Dre. The other side of the pillow.
Marlow & Sons is another one of these things. It’s not trying hard to have some crazy or even particularly unique concept. Its coolness is the kind of thing that a lot of restaurants try to make happen, but this place just inherently has.
Marlow feels like a clubhouse - probably because that’s actually what it was when it opened. Along with Diner (owned by the same guy), Marlow & Sons was one of the first great Williamsburg restaurants, where people who lived in the neighborhood came to hang out. These spots are located right next to each other, serve the same kind of seasonal food, and are always packed with equal numbers of locals and European tourists staying in nearby Airbnbs. The key difference between them? Marlow & Son’s Feel Good Factor comes from nothing other than the Feel Good Factor itself. While Diner is set in a tiny dining car where the servers sit down in your booth to dramatically scrawl out the menu on your tablecloth butcher paper, Marlow & Sons is relatively simple: it’s just a laid-back place to have a reliably excellent meal.
Marlow & Sons is consistent, but never boring. Despite being around for over a decade, they keep things feeling fresh here with a menu that changes daily. Open starting at 8am, you can come in the morning and eat a fresh-baked biscuit breakfast sandwich or eggs with whatever vegetables are in peak season. At dinner, there are only two constants - oysters and chicken roasted under a brick. Otherwise, what you’ll eat depends on what they feel like making. Add to that the genuinely nice staff, and you get a restaurant experience that feels like you’re being cooked for by friends. Friends with good taste in music, who know a lot about wine, and how to make things like chicken liver pate and beef shoulder with black tahini.
When you picture a “Williamsburg restaurant,” it probably looks and feels a lot like Marlow & Sons. And that’s because this place is the original Williamsburg restaurant blueprint. It’s now a classic, and for good reason: it’s still better than almost everything else around it.
White T-shirts and leather jackets optional, but recommended.
Marlow & Sons’ raw bar, like the entire menu, changes daily to keep things interesting. The oysters are always fresh and delicious, and the mignonette is perfect.
There’s always lots of produce-focused stuff in this part of the menu, and it’s usually always great. If there are two of you, we’d recommend going heavy on this section and then adding a protein entree to split.
The one item that’s permanently on the menu, the Brick Chicken is something Marlow & Sons has rightly become known for.
The Marlow & Sons team also operates the butcher shop a couple storefronts down, Marlow & Daughters. Which is to say: whatever meat they have available is probably great. Recently, we had an excellent beef shoulder.
Like the dinner menu, the breakfast menu is short and sweet. The biscuit sandwich is always an option, and it never disappoints.
Marlow’s house-cured salmon is outstanding, and they give you plenty of it to load up on your choice of bagel with all the necessary accessories.
Fried rice, eggs, and vegetables, and whatever toppings they have figured out go especially well with those vegetables. If you enjoy a bowl of delicious things, you will enjoy this.