First off, thanks to everyone who provided recommendations before my visit (re: Boston chowhound needs Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill recs).
Got in Friday afternoon and started out with a nice fruity strong Mai Tai from the Zombie Hut while waiting for friends. Place was totally empty, but the bartender sure knew how to mix a good cocktail.
Once the friends met up, we decided to head over to Bar Tabac for dinner. A friend recommended that, and I was psyched since I've read so many good things here about that. Started with the goat cheese salad. I was actually pretty disappointed with this, and was expecting something closer to what the menu had described. A few sprigs of field greens with a vinaigrette and some goat cheese spread on crusty bread. My disappointment, however, quickly went away once the second course came. The eggplant and tomato gratin took me to heaven. More like a lasagna, rather than a typical gratin, the flavors really complemented each other. My friends all opted for the burger and fries and they all seemed quite pleased with their meals. For the four of us and a bottle of pinot noir, the bill came to just under $100 (excluding tip), not bad for all the great food and atmosphere.
The next morning we ended up at Sonny's Bar and Grill on Smith St. for brunch. Nobody could decide on a place, much to my dismay, this seemed generic enough to suit everyone's tastes. I ordered the goat cheese omelette with homefries and toast. At least toast can't be screwed up. The eggs were overcooked - as was the asparagus that came in it. The homefries were mushy and had a weird tangy taste. I left not feeling so hot for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe their standard pub fare is better and brunch just isn't their forte? Bill came to about $35 for 3 people excluding tip, no alcohol - Cheap, but I'm sure I can find better elsewhere for that price.
Met a friend for margaritas at a little place down a ways on Bedford St. in Williamsburg. Don't recall the name, but it was a little hole in the wall playing hip dancey music. Ordered a white wine margarita (not really sure what that means) and it was quite refreshing, a bit drier than your usual margarita. We ordered the chips and guacamole. Chips were nice and crispy, guacamole was a little bland (could maybe use more onion or garlic flavors), but certainly did not lack in cilantro (one of my favorite ingredients). Very cheap - $15 for the 2 of us and a decent snack.
Headed back to Smith St. for dinner at Zaytoons. Definitely some of the best middle eastern food I've had. We started with the hummus. Perfect creamy texture, but maybe needed a little more cumin (or some sort of oomph). I like the fresh, warm pitas, which doesn't seem to be a standard with a lot of middle eastern restaurants. I ordered the combo platter with falafel, grape leaves, moujadarra, foul and tabouleh. Loved all of it except for the foul - which seemed a little bland - or perhaps I'm just used to it with a lot of garlic and onions. One friend got the goat cheese pitza and the other got the chicken shawarma - both raved about their respective choices, no complaints at all. Since there is no alcohol served there, the BYOB option made it incredibly affordable to have a great meal with a bottle of wine from the place a block away. Dinner for 3 people excluding tip was an incredible $40 and worth twice that.
After attending a hilarious play about Wilford Brimley in Williamsburg, stopped by the Alligator Lounge for a drink. Free cheese pizza with the purchase of a drink. Guess one can't complain about the quality of food when it's free. So a good option if you're piss broke and need to eat - but expect cardboard with a sprinkle of cheese. Also dropped by Sweet Ups for a drink. Cool interior, one wine option. Stick with the beer.
Finally, before leaving to come back home this afternoon, I had by far what is the best brunch I've ever had. Le Petit Cafe on Court St. was slammed, so service was very very slow (unbelievably small place that can hold more people than the 3 cooks can take care of). However, the food and the waitstaff made it all completely worth the wait. If you have a nice leisurely afternoon, that would be the time to hit this place up. Got an omelette with cheddar and mushrooms, homefries and a bagel with cream cheese. Eggs cooked perfectly, homefries with just the right amount of spice and onions, my only complaint is there was barely any cream cheese on my bagel (I like it completely covered). I am also a huge fan of having a soy milk option for the coffee drinks - which also stand out from most coffee drinks at other places. And fresh squeezed juice to order - extra pulpy OJ which was just right. $40 excluding tip, no alcohol, and reaffirmed my love for brunch after my bad experience the day before.
Can't wait to come back and check out more places listed on this board (when there aren't more people to consider and I can go on my own!)