On a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend Andrew and I decided to make the most of the weather and ventured across the pond for a day of fun in Williamsburg. We balanced out our indulgent brunch plans with a morning sweat session at Brooklyn Crew first. Indoor rowing has been high on my boutique fitness trend radar, and Andrew was a good enough sport to join me.
45 minutes and 15 Lorde remixes later, we were dripping in sweat alongside our bearded hipster classmates and we were ready to brunch. We initially had our sights set on Walter Foods, but we rerouted once we discovered that they unfortunately did not have a patio or sidewalk seating. It was too gorgeous of a day to not eat outside, so we mosied on over to the brightly covered outdoor tables at Isa instead.
Isa is a gorgeous, open-air restaurant on the corner of Wythe and S. 2nd. The cozy interior is warmed by wooden accents and a giant wood-burning oven. It was full of young locals buzzing over afternoon beers in the sunshine.
We had dined at Isa about six months prior and had fond memories of their fantastic wood-oven pizzas. After spotting breakfast pizza on the menu, we knew this was a must-try before we were promptly seated on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, our initial seating was the promptest service we received all afternoon; we barely saw our server during the meal.
By the time we were eventually able to place our orders from the kitschy, hand-drawn menus, we were both ravenously hungry. We ordered the lemon poppyseed pound cake and kale Caesar salad to start. Oddly, our appetizers were served at the same time as our main courses so we were left with a plethora of food at once. I would have preferred better timing with our dishes as it was sensory (and spatial) overload on our tiny table for two.
The lemon poppyseed cake was a bit dry, which we remedied by slathering with homemade jam and creamy butter. We were served a generously sized piece and it was easy to share.
The raw Tuscan kale was massaged and well-dressed, just how I like it. The salad contained a refreshing jolt of greens to finish our weekend on a healthy note.
Avocado toast is all the rage now, so we also put in an order of the avocado sandwich served with a poached egg, wild arugula, and feta cheese on grilled foccacia bread. I had two bites of the sandwich when I realized that this dish also contained olives, my least favorite food in the world. I was annoyed that olives weren’t listed on the menu and turned over the rest of the entree to Andrew. He found the dish well-executed, but not particularly inventive.
Finally, the breakfast pizza. This beauty of a dish was served with a runny egg, fontina cheese, pancetta, and salsa verde. It was a bit greasy, but I couldn’t get enough of the smoky, crispy crust. This was my favorite part of the meal, but Andrew can be a pizza snob and found it “good but not great.” He much preferred the slices at Posto and Motorino.
I couldn’t leave one piece of the breakfast pizza behind, so found some room in my appetite to finish the pie before we ambled back to the Bedford subway. We congratulated ourselves on our hard work on the rowing machines and at the brunch table, and headed west to the concrete jungle.
The Bitches say: B-. Isa is a friendly, neighborhood spot, but could use some work on its service. Its wood-oven pizza can’t be missed during brunch or dinner.
348 Wythe Ave.
Isa serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.