Thanks to Chow Alert for clueing me in to some posts that I missed about Bistro St. Marks in Brooklyn. I took my notoriously picky husband there for our anniversary and I finally, after 4 years of marriage, took him to a place where he liked everything and left happy. I dreaded going because we walked a long way to get there putting hubby in a foul mood (it's on St. Marks and Flatbush) and I was ready to turn around rather than have to deal with him telling me why it was a crappy choice and wondering why I believe a bunch of strangers on the internet to decide where to eat.
I did some reading around about the place before we went and many of the reviews faulted the service and some said it was overpriced. The accolades noted excellent food, especially the seared tuna.
The service was excellent, maybe a little slow, but I prefer this to rushing people out the door. The manager/owner greeted us with a handshake and spoke with us a little bit. And the waiter was very helpful and didn't get anything wrong...he even went down to the kitchen to give us the brand name of the butter they use because we asked about it. Even the runners were gracious without being obsequieous.
What my husband thought put this restaurant above others are the small things like amazing butter, getting the doneness of the meat correct, nice barware etc. In addition to that he loved the food, felt the flavors balanced nicely, appreciated the good cuts of meat and was overwhelmed by, what he called, the best french fries he has ever had in this country. They were handcut, not too thin, not too thick, cooked just right. He got the steak which was very tender and cooked simply. I had the lamb which was also amazingly tender, no fussy preparation just grilled allowing the meat to carry the dish. The greens it came with were a bit too bitter for my tastes but the beans and roasted onions were light and subtle.
They had quite a few fish dishes on the menu which I would like to try out on a return visit. We both had a red meat craving so we indulged that even though we usually prefer fish.
The creme brulee for dessert was one of the better ones I have had (this is my favorite dessert) though the custard part of it was a little thick, which isn't wrong just not my favorite. The carmelized sugar on top was neither too thick nor too thin.
As for the surroundings, I loved the dark tones and sleek modern look. it is a narrow space with very high ceilings so the dark brownish grey walls, banquettes and bar grounded the space, made it feel cozy. The prices (entrees around $16-23) were a little high for Brooklyn but very worth what you get. We each had a drink or two, an appetizer each and one dessert for $96 (incl. tip).
I would love to hear other people's opinions after having eaten here, especially what fish dishes to try.