St. Anselm, one of Williamsburg’s most popular steakhouses, on a regular Friday night has been rumored to require wait times of up to two hours. In order to avoid any unnecessary waiting, we arrived around 5:15pm, which is just fifteen minutes after they open. Luckily we decided to go on a day in which it rained heavily all day so there was less of a turnout. We were seated immediately across from the open kitchen so we could watch the chefs at work. There were only about three actual chefs in the tiny kitchen.
They usually have a clam appetizer but today they were offering Prince Edward Mussels instead. They were a dozen for $6.00 so we decided on a dozen to share. Our waitress brought over our order of mussels with half a loaf of bread. The butter-lemon sauce that the mussels were cooked in was excellent for bread dipping! The mussels themselves were very big and plump. They were cooked to perfection – there was not a single one that was overcooked.
3/5 of us opted for the Butcher’s Hanger Steak cooked with garlic and butter ($16.00), which is one of their specialties. The steak looks small at first but it is, in fact, very thick and hearty. Despite it’s small size, by the time I got to the last piece I was feeling pretty full. I ordered my steak med-rare and it arrived right on mark. The meat was a nice pink color and the steak was not tough or chewy at all. Each piece went down perfectly with just a few quick chews. I hate steaks that are so tough that I have to chew so much that my jaw hurts. No such thing here, I guarantee it!
We also ordered a few sides to share. First up was the Bacon ($7.00). We got two orders since each order only comes with one full slice. The thick-cut bacon was very juicy and tender. There was a thin layer of fat on each piece, which almost melted in my mouth. I’ve heard people compare this to Peter Luger’s bacon and I don’t really think it matches up to PL’s thicker-cut bacon. The bacon here, while good, was a bit on the salty side and sometimes I would need a sip of water to chase down the salt.
We ordered a side of Spinach Gratin ($7.00) as well. The spinach was very hot when it arrived since it had just spent some time in the oven. There was a nice layer of melted cheese or cream on top of the spinach, which gave it a nice and crunchy crust. The bottom layer was very soft and didn’t require any chewing at all.
Our last side was the Pan-Fried Mashed Potatoes with truffle oil ($7.00). The moment our waitress put down the mashed potatoes, we could smell how good it was. The truffle oil was infused within the mashed potatoes and meshed really well with the soft potato. The crispy crust of the mashed potatoes gave the entire dish a very different texture – it was crispy and mushy at the same time! I highly recommend ordering the mashed potatoes to share no matter what entrée you order!
After we finished all our steaks and sides, we were all pretty stuffed. It all looks very tiny but combined together it is one monster of a meal! But since we just had so much salty and savory foods, we decided to share a dessert. We opted for the Vanilla Ice Cream with Pork Brittle and a Dark Chocolate sauce ($6.00). After trying the Bacon Doughnuts at Traif, on the South Side of Williamsburg, we were expecting another amazing pork-and-sweet-dessert mixture. We were kind of disappointed because the pork brittle didn’t really mix well with the ice cream and it really did not add to the flavor of the ice cream at all. We wound up eating just the ice cream by itself and leaving all the pork brittle behind. The ice cream itself was very good and the dark chocolate sauce gave a bitter element to counteract the sweetness of the ice cream.
The service was pretty consistent. We were in and out of the restaurant in an hour and a half, which is pretty quick for a steak meal. By the time we left, almost all the tables were filled up with some empty seats left at the bar. After our cheap and delicious meal, I can understand why they’re packed on most nights. I can definitely see myself returning to St. Anselm for another meal. However, next time I might go for the Bo Bo Chicken instead of the steak. So much red meat!
Tip: WC, or Water Closet, is the sign for the bathroom.