Tomorrow, chef Andrew Carmellini and his NoHo Hospitality Group will open their crown jewel in Williamsburg’s William Vale hotel: the wood-burning coastal Italian restaurant, Leuca. It’ll be the final installment of a three-pronged takeover of the luxury establishment’s food and beverage services, following closely on the heels of the 22-story bar and small plates spot, Westlight.
Both are cut largely from the same cloth as their other refined yet relaxed Manhattan projects, including Locanda Verde, Little Park, The Dutch and Lafayette. But it’s their second William Vale venture, Mr. Dips—launched at the end of last month—that’s taken the NoHo Hospitality Group into entirely new territory: the fast-casual arena of burgers, ice cream and fries.
There’s no high-concept interior design or ingratiating sit-down service; instead, the entire outfit is a refurbished airstream trailer, parked on the mezzanine level (a sprawling, al fresco green space) of the hotel. And as far as the nine-item menu is concerned—despite the involvement of world-class chefs—it’s not a tidbit fussier than you’d want it to be, nor is it immoderately expensive, with the spendiest item topping out at $8.
They’ve gone for the signature squish of Martin’s buns, buttressing smash-style single or double patties glommed with aged cheddar and a Russian dressing-referencing sauce. Only slightly more posh alternatives include the Special Dip (gussied up with hatch chilies, jack cheese and sriracha verde), or the “Green Label” veggie burger bleeding with beets, and bound with grains, mushrooms, swiss and black beans.
Order a grease-blotted cone of spicy cheese and scallion-shrouded waffle fries, and you’ll likely spend the rest of the day flicking pungent orange goo from under your nails. Not that it’s a deterrent; no more than being whipped by bitter, East River-emboldened winds as you bite into magic shell-coated soft serve “Dairy Dips,” such as the Jacker-Crax studded with buttered caramel popcorn and salted peanuts, or the Hawaii Five-O, embedded with toasted coconut and pineapple preserves.
Before Carmellini and crew revert to tending wood-fires and curating wine lists at Leuca, it’s a trip to watch them let it all hang loose at Mr. Dips.
111 N. 12th St., Williamsburg
Photos by Noah Fecks