Deep South Williamsburg: Loosie’s Kitchen

Photos by Jane Bruce

An adjunct to Loosie Rouge—Williamsburg’s sceney, Big Easy-inspired piano bar—Loosie’s Kitchen is a tranquil sanctuary for sun-worshippers nursing Pimms Cups kissed with cucumber under canopies of ivy, shaded only by a luxuriant fringe of potted palms. Save for a handful of cloistered, marble two-tops, a good three-quarters of the seating is staunchly al fresco. (Their plans for winter are currently undetermined.) Comprising communal wooden tables propped on platforms patterned with throw rugs, ringed by walls painted with butter yellow circles, coral triangles, and bold stripes of teal and cerulean blue, it’s an urban oasis accessed by an elaborately trellised, effectively obscured entryway straight out of The Secret Garden.

With so much energy expended on atmosphere, you might well expect food at Loosie’s to be an afterthought, and yet, Louisiana-inspired dishes present the rare challenge to Marlow & Sons and Diner, who’ve long held dining dominion over the neighborhood. The menu is festooned with good-natured, self-satisfied chatter: A romaine salad dressed with blue cheese, dotted with raisins and garnished with snips of fried chicken skin is deemed “sensational,” while blackened catfish is served with corn macque choux, emerald curlicues of herb oil and “lots of love.” But it’s hard to dispute that a quartet of standard Bluepoint oysters are rendered considerably more “glorious” with a slick of licorice-y herbsaint butter, and a sheath of cheesy, pepper-heavy breadcrumbs.

Tentacles of octopus, gracefully curved like question marks and stained scarlet with Cajun seasoning, are as tender as all get out. And if you’re as weary as we are of those prevailing cephalopod playmates, potato and olive, you’ll doubtless welcome fingers of silky grilled okra instead, as well as flat, sweet romano beans, dappled with smoky inkblots of char and vinegar-bright flecks of Fresno chile relish. If you can ignore the $14 price tag (steep for a smallish sandwich that arrives solo), the po’ boy is as worthy a version as you’re like to find in Brooklyn. Sporting snappy shrimp with blue corn shells, cocooned by swipes of concentrated tomato jam and rosy, dill-enlivened remoulade, they come tidily encased in traditional torpedos of New Orleans-imported French bread, with a satisfying crunch and a feathery chew. Although in fried chicken-rich Williamsburg, Loosie’s inexplicably boneless poultry seems an anomaly; too bad you need to go through the bird to get to the golden bullions of housemade cornbread.

But resist the urge to hightail it to Pies ‘n’ Thighs, as everything else about Loosie’s invites lingering, down to the bouquets of individually wrapped toothbrushes, and creased copies of Stephen King’s The Green Mile in the bathroom. And besides, it’s all too easy to get lulled into an eternal summer stupor by the lazy swirl of fans and the darkening skies overhead, cultivated by a cream-crowned scoop of cobbler, an aged vieux carre, or that amber tumbler of deceptively fruity Pimms.

91 S. 6th Street, Williamsburg

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