Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prices: Brunch entrees, $2.25 to $6.25; dinner entrees, $6.95 to $16.95. Cards: American Express, Carte Blanche, Diner's Club, MasterCard, Visa.
Even among the culinary curiosities of Columbia Road, Hazel's is unique: low-country Tudor, you might say, or Arkansas Anglican -- Southern homestyle with a sword hanging overhead.
Actually, what appears to be the flotsam of some trans-Atlantic time warp is just the hopeful transformation of a neighborhood watering hole into a semiserious late-shift restaurant.
The one-time Excalibur's, a nonexclusive Afro-Arthurian music club whose reign as the local black Camelot ended a couple of years ago, has not changed hands either behind the bar or over the skillet. Hazel has just come out of the kitchen, so to speak, and put her mouth where her menu is.
And that means "Southern specialties" including fried chicken, barbecued ribs and pork chops, such daily greens as kale and cornbread in the basket (sweet rather than breakfast-style cornbread, as it happens, so don't bother trying to spread cold butter on it, as it will immediately collapse).
On the other hand, it's hard to get away from the stucco-and-stained beam decor and the stained-glass sword, so several of the other dishes have a publican heartiness: prime rib, for example, and trout with shrimp stuffing, a fried mariner's platter and king crab legs.
(There also is an underexploited stock of Guinness stout, which the waitress was sweet enough to replenish from a nearby purveyor, although Miller Lite seems more in vogue.)
Whichever continent you come down on, the fare is fairly hearty.
The least expensive order, the $6.95 fried chicken known as "Hazel's pride," includes two quarters, one white and one dark, rolled in a seasoned flour and fried hot (not greasy) but soft, plus a choice of various potatoes, a veggie (there's usually only one) and salad.
At the high end, there may be nightly specials, such as a surf and turf for $19.95 or the filet or lobster tail served solo for $12.95.
Again, the cooking is unfrilly: The lobster is run under the broiler, so it dries out, but it's attractively presented pulled through its char-barred shell.
The filet was rare as ordered, and rather cautiously seasoned, but with its fat blanket still attached.
Trimming gets overlooked here in general; the breakfast steak, a midsized New Yorker, is of good quality but handcuffed by gristle, a minor annoyance and one easily remedied.
Still, with two eggs for $6.25, it's the kind of bargain that used to keep steakhouses alive.
The Saxon revival is strongest at Sunday brunch, which features the kind of $5.95 platter that plumped up Henry VIII (and a few generations of Southern farmers as well): two eggs, any style, three or four rounds of sweet-cured ham, a smattering of sauteed mushrooms, irresistibly greasy-crunchy home fries, a broiled tomato, a muffin and a first-class slice of what is known as "black pudding."
The only disappointment is that the kitchen is so chintzy with the pudding, a conservatism reflected in its fear of frying blood sausage by its own name.
Included in the price is a glass of champagne with a peach; but considering the New York State sweetness of the sparkly, and the fact that the peach half is canned, you might do better to stick with bloody marys.