In Prospect Heights, A Neighborhood Restaurant With A Focus On Seasonal Ingredients
James Restaurant | 605 Carlton Ave | Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Just a stone’s throw from Flatbush Avenue, tastefully situated among the century-old brownstones in Prospect Heights Brooklyn, is James, a restaurant co-owned and managed by Deborah Williamson and executive chef Bryan Calvert. Named for Bryan’s great-grandfather, James is a romantic cross between rustic charm and sophisticated allure, dressed with brown leather banquettes, pressed tin ceilings, salvaged mirrors from the Plaza Hotel, and a custom-made Dutch Lucite chandelier.
“We tried to do what we love in an environment that feels approachable. It’s the way we both like to dine, without it feeling remotely precious,” says Deborah.
While the majority of the menu is dictated by what’s seasonally available, a few top-sellers (namely the black kale salad with a poached farm egg, the black angus burger on a sesame brioche, and the lemon ricotta cheesecake) can be ordered year-round. Bryan’s green thumb has long supplied the restaurant with a bounty of produce and herbs, but he and Deborah have also worked hard to develop strong relationships with farms such as Liberty Gardens in Coopersburg, PA and Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden on Staten Island.
“We’ll have warmer, homier, deeper flavors for fall,” promises Bryan. “We’ll do a celery root soup, smoked trout, richer meats like duck, and more braised items.”
And, if your mind isn’t on a meal, have a seat at their gorgeous, antique wood bar and agree to a cocktail. Their raw, all-natural house-made bitters, created by former head bartender Justin Briggs, launched a line they now sell through their retail outlet, Cecil & Merl. Bryan’s infamous cheesecake loaf and Deborah’s heavy canvas market totes round out their shop. “I was never a cheesecake fan,” says Deborah, “but I lost my mind over this one when Bryan made it.”