Joe Carroll Floods Williamsburg With Lake Trout
Restaurateur Joe Carroll has done it again with his latest eatery, Lake Trout, which opened this weekend. At least this time, he moved away from his holy trinity on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and instead, set up shop down the way at 160 Havemeyer St. Still, that’s damn close.
The first venue Carroll opened was beer lover paradise Spuyten Duyvil in 2005. It was popular, sure, but more for those in-the-know than the full notoriety it has today. That changed when two years later he set his hooks in the barbecue scene and created the well-liked Fette Sau across the street. I thought he had done enough culinary damage to the avenue with that, but then Carroll went ahead and re-opened St. Anselm last year, this time as a steakhouse (before it was a snack shop that quickly closed). When that opened I wondered, could this new restaurant be as successful as his other two? Yes, based on the rave reviews it garnered and the wait times that still run over an hour on any given night, Carroll’s achievement gleams.
At Lake Trout, Carroll sticks to the Americana cuisine theme found at his other establishments, but this time, it’s styled after a fish shack with Baltimore chic. Helming the menu is former Fette Sau executive chef Matt Lang, who had a hand in deciding the direction of the tiny, 16-seat restaurant. Like Carroll’s barbecue joint, they don’t have a large menu, and instead focus on simple dishes that they execute well; these include a pollock and cheese sandwich, jumbo lump crab cakes, salt-and-pepper shrimp, and the “lake trout,” which is actually whiting fillets with French fries and potato bread. With the sudden rise of the fish sandwich (regarding New York Magazine’s spread on the dish a couple weeks ago), I wouldn’t be surprised if Carroll has another winning eatery. He just seems to know the perfect timing to go fishing.