The Counting Room may bill itself as a wine bar, but don’t be fooled: beneath that colossal wine list, the new Williamsburg dram shop hides an impressively original take on French Onion soup.
The menu here may be petite — a scant four sandwiches and five “bites” accompany the prerequisite meat and cheese boards — but you should consider this a favor: you’ll want to try everything.
If you do choose just one item though, it should be Chef Robert Crossen’s Knife and Fork French Onion Soup ($10), an inventive twist on the French classic that’s more akin to a melt-in-your-mouth open-faced sandwich, served dry, with a small carafe of broth to be poured on top.
The bread is a thick, crusty slice of French bread, smothered in Parmesan and Swiss cheeses, transformed into a delectably oozy mess when drenched in the sumptuous — albeit vegetarian — broth.
Of course, it also helps that the Counting Room is the perfect place to spend a lazy, warm weekend afternoon. With the windows open and the breeze blowing in, it’s ideal; equally beautiful in the candlelit evening.
The truffled grilled cheese ($12), on pressed French bread with Fontina, is almost equally satisfying comfort food.
We did take issue with one menu item: the Caesar “bites,” which arrived in the form of still wet romaine leaves with a smattering of croutons.
But if you skip that one dud, there is ample satisfaction to be had. Of course, with enough wine most things are.
The Counting Room [44 Berry St. at North 11th St. in Williamsburg, (718) 599-1860].