Under Lachlan and Key

Gwynnett St.'s new incarnation is hard to define, in a good way

If Lachlan feels a little familiar, that's because the interior hasn't changed much since the place was called Gwynnett St.

What has changed: a more casual, gastropub approach and an eclectic new menu from Allswell alum Alexis Krisel.

There's less fuss to the food, but there's nothing oversimplified about it. Krisel's octopus ($13), for example, is slowly braised in chai tea, grapefruit, lemon, lime and star anise before being charred and served with beets, clementines and strained Greek yogurt seasoned with Madras curry. It works together beautifully.

Curry makes another appearance in soupy Goan-spiced mussels ($11 or $17) brightened by the addition of pickled fennel and served with thick slices of bread for sopping it all up. In an Italian sojourn, house-made pappardelle ($16) is tossed with a brothier-than-your-usual-Bolognese meat sauce made with rendered guanciale and creamy leeks.

When Krisel does do simple, the results can be very, very good. Take the flourless chocolate cake ($6) for example. No, really get over your oh-God-please-not-this-again reluctance and take a bite of this insanely delicious, creamy, ganache-like chocolatey cliché killer. Krisel uses only butter, Valrhona chocolate and eggs for the cake, then serves it with house-made crème fraîche.

This is an easygoing place with a menu that's hard to pin down. "New American" doesn't quite cut it. It incorporates a bit of everything, all of it quite good.

At Lachlan in East Williamsburg, the menu is wonderfully eclectic. Here, chef Alexis Krisel's striped bass with cauliflower.

Lachlan owners Cameron Birge and Carl McCoy.

Little has changed about the interior of Lachlan since its previous incarnation, Gwynnett St.

Alexis Krisel's mussels with Goan curry, served with pickled fennel and thick slices of bread for dipping.

Chef Alexis Krisel (center) has developed a menu that's hard to define, in a good way.

Housemade pappardelle is tossed with a brothy ragu made with guanciale and leeks.

Charred octopus with beets; the restaurant's spicy gin cocktail, The Wadsworth.