Appetite for Ambition

Isa and Gwynnett St. require happy leaps of faith

Oklahoma barbecue this. Midwestern cheese curd that.

If the frenzy surrounding new Brooklyn restaurants is to be believed, Americana has colonized Williamsburg with a heavy fist curled around a can of Bud.

We beg to differ. Here, two new B-Burg restaurants unafraid to serve deliriously ambitious–and delicious–food.

Isa (This restaurant is now operating under a different concept and chef): Poor, misunderstood Isa. The space designed by Taavo Somer is head-spinningly psychedelic, and Ignacio Mattos's food is an assertive blend of wild rusticity and fancy techniques. Much of the big-name press has found it confounding–their loss. Our meal was a Molotov cocktail of uncommon inspiration. One highlight: flax and rye crumbs buttressed against beef tartare ($15) silky with smoked-hay oil. Crazed dreams followed our meal. When's the last time a restaurant had that effect on you? 348 Wythe St. (at Fourth St.), Brooklyn; 347-689-3594 or isa.gg

Gwynnett St.: Justin Hilbert blindsides diners with a mini loaf of whiskey soda bread ($5). So Irish, so homey. The courses that follow at this easygoing spot are infinitely more complicated yet equally satisfying. A garden plot's worth of bitter greens ($12) are strewn around a soft-poached egg yolk and pine-nut purée. Hot potato foam ($11) is studded with oxtail and prunes. A poached rib-eye ($30), topped with pickled bone marrow and parsley parts, was the best in recent memory. 312 Graham Ave. (at Anslie St.), Brooklyn; 347-889-7002 or gwynnettst.com