Williamsburg is the destination for charming, tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants with incredible, inventive young chefs making magic in even tinier kitchens. Chief among them: Four Horsemen, a wine bar that has put itself on the map as a destination for oenophiles, garnering acclaim across the city as a must-visit.
A visit to Williamsburg was in order to try Four Horsemen, to work on my wine-tasing palate (I’m a Vivino addict), and to catch-up with my best friend from college.
The space is small and simple with a chic, clean aesthetic, reminding me of several casual little bistros I have visited in Paris. The ceiling is low, the walls and tables are light oak, and the walls are decorated with cool, modern art prints as well as shelves of empty wine bottles. We saddled up to the bar at the front of the restaurant, where we could chat one-on-one with the highly informed female bartenders. It was an early winter day, but natural light poured in through the windows, which were decorated with well-cared-for houseplants.
The wine list is comprehensive, and the ladies on staff know their stuff—they’re there to help walk you through the wine list and are incredibly helpful, but not overly friendly. This is Brooklyn, and they are just so impossibly cool, after all.
For brunch, you’re served a weekend set lunch, priced at $28 per person. You’re given no choice in the matter—what is offered is what you get. While that might make some trepidatious, it’s a blessing in that the kitchen knows what they’re doing and you also don’t have to think on a Sunday. Best of all, you’re served everything on the menu, family-style.
The bread service appears rustic: two chunks of whole wheat and rye focaccia. But this is the sort of fluffy, flavorful bread to which you compare all other carbs. Simple, salty, light, and divine, the house-made focaccia, though served plain, was anything but.
Likewise, the kale salad was something special—and we ladies have eaten many a kale salad in our day. Ribbons of Lacinato kale were dressed in a light, fluffy Caesar-style dressing, served with rounds of charred onion and topped with large flakes of Parmesan. It was the perfect amount of dressing, and the onions added a welcome flavor to the dish’s composition.
The squash was also served simply but proved to be impeccable upon first bite—a result of fresh, seasonal ingredients paired with truffle that’s hard to beat. The Futsu squash was baked with honey, black truffle, and oregano.
The home-run dish on the table was, without a doubt, the potato gnocchi with brown butter and sage. It’s hard to beat the combination of potatoes, butter, and cheese, which is why gnocchi is such a beautiful thing to begin with. But this may have been one of the most satisfying dishes we’ve ever enjoyed. The Four Horsemen gnocchi is something you’ll dream about later that night and crave for months after.
If the four courses (and dessert) aren’t enough, there are cheese and charcuterie plates available at an additional fee—for a great afternoon of wine and cheese post-brunch.
The meal concludes with slices of house-made desserts, which rotate often. On this occasion, we were served a lovely little slice of custard tart, sprinkled with nutmeg and served with a fluffy citrus cream. At the server’s suggestion, this dessert was paired with a glass of Romarantin, a French grape that’s closely related to the Chardonnay. It was a beautiful, thick, oily white wine with notes of butter, lemon, and banana. It was a divine conclusion to a brunch full of excellent wine pairings.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes. If you love wine and brunch, there’s no better place for you than Four Horsemen. The knowledgeable service, chic, relaxed ambiance, and cozy space make it an utterly pleasant experience. We can’t wait to go back to see what’s on the menu next.
Four Horsemen serves weekend lunch on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.