Near the banks of the East River, The Camlin’s out of the way location evokes the wine bar’s namesake, a river that flows through Ballinalee, Ireland. The old warehouses and Williamsburg Bridge let you know you’re still in Brooklyn, but the simple, clean food and placid atmosphere make this new restaurant an ideal escape from the pressures of city life.
The Camlin sits on the waterfront at the corner of Kent Avenue and North 3rd Street. Brought to the neighborhood by Chef Amorette Casaus and owner Mandy Oser, the team behind the Midtown wine bar Ardesia, the Camlin aims to please with good wine and classic cocktails with a modern twist. The diverse menu of small food items is designed to accompany the carefully curated drinks lists.
Oser said she’d like the 60-seat restaurant and bar to become a favorite among locals, and she hopes to cultivate the same laidback atmosphere that’s made Ardesia a popular spot since it opened in 2010. It seems to be working; when we popped in Wednesday night the barstools were filled with patrons quietly chatting as they unwound after their workday.
“Wine can be intimidating,” Oser acknowledged. “We wanted to make it fun, and one way to do that is to offer tastes of things that might be unfamiliar, so it’s like that vibe where you walk in the door and it’s an extension of your home. At Ardesia we’re ready to geek out about wine, but if you just want to be there and share a moment with your friend or your coworker, we want to create the experience that you’re after.”
“Camlin” is Gaelic for “crooked line,” and it’s the name of the river where Oser’s husband grew up fishing. While Oser’s in charge of the ambiance, Chef Casaus creates colorful dishes that draw on her desire to cook food that’s personal and delicious. The menu of sharable small plates ranges in price from $10 to $18. There’s also a selection of “small bites,” with a sampler of four for $25; the pretzel nuggets with mustard and beer cheese are a personal favorite of Oser, who said the menu was designed with Williamsburg in mind.
“You want to be respectful of what the neighborhood wants,” she said. “It’s evolving, and we want to offer really great and interesting products, but we want to do it at a price point that’s affordable, too.”
The Camlin, 175 Kent Avenue, currently opens for dinner at 4 p.m., closing at midnight Monday through Wednesday, 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 11 p.m. on Sunday. In the coming weeks it also plans to begin serving lunch during the week and brunch on weekends. See dinner menu below.