12. St. Anselm
Neighborhood: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Address: 355 Metropolitan Ave.
The longer I work as a food writer, the less attached I've become to the rhythms of a traditional meal. Rather than an appetizer, entree and dessert for each diner, I favor the clatter and bustle of shared plates—wines sloshing from bottle to glass, forks casually reaching across a big wooden table. Indeed, I put a high premium on family-style bounty, and St. Anselm delivers. The kitchen's gas grill, so maligned by wood-and-coal partisans, is a boon here, subtly seasoning a whole trout, a butchers steak or shimmering little sardines with its flame. Chef Yvon de Tassigny smartly curbs any frippery at the garnish station, dressing his fire-licked foods simply: with some parsley and garlic, maybe, or lacy rounds of pickled lotus root. You'll want to bring a crowd.—JR