The Regal (163 Hope St) bills itself as a diner, but the white brick facade and gold-hued bar are the first signs to indicate otherwise. Though its atmosphere is relaxed, this lovely restaurant’s roots lie in fine dining.
Run by the folks from the always-entertaining Hotel Chantelle, this 70-seat late-night spot features comforting, soak-up-the-scotch fat bombs like spicy fried chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, juicy lucy-style meatballs, Manischewitz short ribs, schnitzel and reuben rolls — all until 2:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and until 5:00 a.m. during “The New Yorker Weekend” — a.k.a. Thursdays through Saturdays.
The highlight of The Regal isn’t just the food and cocktail program run by chef Seth Levine and drinks maestro Steven Escobar, but the way it seeks to bring back old-school, late-night New York dining — the kind where, exhausted from dancing and partying and drinking, you sit laughing and cavorting and eating with your friends until it’s a few hours ’til your morning commute.
Be forewarned — you’ll want to sidle up to the beautiful granite bar and you may find it hard to leave. The bar is backlit with the light of a golden Buddha and it bathes everyone standing in it — just think of it as your own natural Instagram filter.
And once you gravitate over there, there’ll be cocktails galore, like this one — the Clumsy Workman, which combines anejo rum and Tia Maria (a dark coffee bean liqueur that also has rum, vanilla and sugar) with berries and mint.
The restaurant is also aging liquor in barrels behind the bar, and featuring 14 wines by the glass (a thrill to winos like yours truly, who are usually stuck with two choices by the glass), 10 craft beers on tap, 10 classic cocktails, and 10 specialty cocktails.
From the winter-friendly Powder Keg (barrel aged rye, cinnamon clove syrup, apple cider, lemon), to the summery Spitfire (sotol, pineapple, lime, jalapeño infused agave), to the pepperhead-baiting Reckless Abandon (scotch bonnet infused barrel aged vodka, ginger beer, lime, hellfire bitters), Escobar has created a fun mix. With milkshakes all the rage, the diner plans to serve theirs spiked.
For an app, you’ll want to tuck into Lucy’s Meatball, a riff on the “juicy lucy,” a Midwestern magical cheeseburger with the cheese tucked inside the patty. The Regal’s meatball hides rich basil ricotta inside their fresh house-ground beef, which is then coated in a warm and hearty house-made gravy — one your nonna could get down with.
Street steak tacos surf over to you on a paddleboard and feature crispy beef, tangy cilantro chili syrup (not so spicy it’s overpowering), pico de gallo and a lovely quail egg over easy on top.
A beet tartare comes with an ample stack of bread, but you won’t mind just grazing on the silky beef, forono beet, mint goat cheese puree and orange spice dressing.
The Regal excels at the trend of comfort food with a twist, featuring dishes such as chorizo meatloaf and jalapeno creamed corn. Come spring, the restaurant will have four outdoor tables, which the dog lovers of the neighborhood will be sure to snag. They also expect to start serving juice and smoothies in the spring because, well, it’s Williamsburg.