There has been a lot said about the gentrification of Williamsburg over the last decade, and particularly the last few years since the rezoning of 2005 opened up the waterfront areas for development. Much of this “urban renewal” has taken place on the North and South sides, which are generally divided by Grand Street, but it’s the East side that is now experiencing a broader transition period.
Nowhere is this more evident than east of Union Ave on Grand Street where the gentrification process is noticeably making its way down the street, block by block.
Opening in early November, Alien Café aims to take the neighborhood up a notch. Formerly the Grand Street Grill, a quick-service takeout joint, Alien Café owner Robert Sandoval decided to revamp the space his family has owned since 1999 to create something a bit different and more refined. And he’s serious about the food, enlisting award-winning L’Artiste chef Luis Santos to create the menu.
On the exterior, Alien Café sports a spaceship sign that bulges from the front of the unassuming building and lights up at dusk. But don’t let the kitschy name and sign fool you. Once inside you’ll be eased by a casual bistro atmosphere, charming enough to bring a date, and impressed by food that may be the only thing otherworldly about the place.
Options like Eggs Benedict with chipotle hollandaise or French Toast with sautéed apples and walnuts are delicious and worth the visit, but it was the Three Color Omelet that truly impressed me. Perhaps the most perfectly cooked omelet I’ve ever had, the egg was light and fluffy and had a perfect ratio of mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil meticulously diced and speckled throughout the egg. Every egg dish is accompanied by mixed greens and nicely prepared home fries and I added a side of crisp apple wood smoked bacon to round it all out.
The food is as easy on the wallet as it is delicious – no breakfast entrée eclipses $7 and the lunch options are just a couple bucks more. Plus, coffee lovers will delight at the café’s use of the classic French press, emphasizing the bold flavors and captivating aroma of organic Blue Bottle Coffee.
Alien Café is a welcome addition to the East side that will delight neighborhood residents and hopefully continue the trend of culinary innovations in the area.
812 Grand St. (at Bushwick Ave)
Take the L train to the Grand St. stop