Everyone likes to dump on Williamsburg. You tell people about a fancy new place and they say, “I don’t give two shits.” But even if you’re the type to turn your nose up and poo poo Williamsburg like your shit don’t stink, you’re going to totally lose your shit what when you catch wind of these two shitters.
First up: Salt + Charcoal. Not only does its downstairs loo boast the sort of self-heating, rear-washing toilet seat that we last encountered at Beronberon, but the ceiling has a built-in speaker emitting dulcet jazz. Who comes up with this shit? (By the way, if you want to buy a Toto toilet for yourself, you’re shit out of luck: the company’s Soho gallery — yes, there was a toilet “gallery” — recently closed.)
Salt + Charcoal used to have the finest facilities in Williamsburg. But now Semilla is the new black. Some might say the most notable thing about this Havemeyer Street newcomer is its you’ve-gotta-be-shitting-me price point – you can’t even buy a beer at this place without plunking down $17. When we walked in recently, we were asked if we were there for snacks or for the eight-course tasting menu. As we debated whether $75 was worth it for a “veggie-forward” menu, the hostess was probably thinking, look, shit or get off the pot.
We’re glad we decided to stay – first off, the bread was just as good as Grub Street said it would be, and chef José Ramírez-Ruiz definitely knows shiitake from Shinola. Plus, not only did the bathroom sport a dope cylinder mirror by Greenpoint designer Bower (at left), but it had a trippy one-way mirror that lets you look into the kitchen without being seen. To tell you the truth, this kind of freaked us out, because there’s no note or anything assuring you it’s a one-way mirror – you’re left to wonder whether you have to flick a switch or something to make it opaque.
But once you’re over that, it’s a joy to take a whiz while watching culinary whizzes at work.