Local Fare BKLYN
Oct. 5, 2016 @ 7 PM
181 Pacific Street / Brooklyn, NY 11201
Daniel Burns, Chef, Luksus, Torst
Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, Brewer, Evil Twin Brewing
You don't go to Luksus for comfort food.* Daniel and Jeppe are not in the business of doing something everyone has done before, only better. They are cooking and brewing in a wholly original way - introducing flavors and combinations of flavors that are bold and precise, and balanced and, most importantly, delicious. As with all new things, you need to be prepared to lay aside your expectations and experience, and approach you dinner with humility, because you are truly in the hands of masters of their craft. Daniel Burns and Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso may not yet be household names, but they are highly regarded by some of the world's best/most innovative chefs for their passion, their attention to detail and their creativity (e.g. Helmut Blumenthal, The Fat Duck; Rene Redzepi, Noma; David Chang, Momofuko). In 2013, they opened Luksus, the first high-end restaurant that offers only beer for pairing, and within 2 years, they received their first Michelin star.
*Torst, on the other hand, will absolutely sort you out. Try the welsh rarebit with any of the 21 artisanal beers on tap, which change weekly. Beer lovers take note - because Jeppe has so many relationships in the beer world, Torst will often host brewery takeovers, where they showcase the offerings of one of their favorite breweries or special releases of rare beers.
615 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn
Gabe McMackin, Chef, The Finch
A good restaurant, like a good person, should reveal itself slowly to you. The Finch is just such a restaurant. It opened 18 months ago, quietly, without much fanfare - in a discreetly elegant space off a corner in Clinton Hill. And for a time, albeit brief, The Finch was one of those neighborhood gems, the kind of place where tables are populated principally by people who pass it on their way home. But word inevitably got out and soon, very soon - like within 10 months, Michelin awarded The Finch its first star. There are quite a few chefs capable of preparing delicious sophisticated food and many more restaurants that are well styled and inviting, but The Finch distinguishes itself by pulling off a slight-of-hand of sorts. Your first impressions will be of light, and warmth and subtle refinement. And then the food arrives and it is so delicious and accessible that you will marvel - maybe even congratulate yourself - on having cleared off a plate of shaved tongue. Everything from the service, to the space, to the actual food on your plate has been painstakingly considered to lull you into happily enjoying a level of sophistication you may not have prepared yourself for on the odd Tuesday night. When I learned that Gabe came up through Roberta's, Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns - all temples of understatement, I could only think: of course. The menu changes daily and with the seasons.
212 Greene Ave., Brooklyn
Chris Pizzulli, Chef, Runner & Stone
Peter Endriss, Baker, Runner & Stone
When I set out to write about Runner & Stone, I was anxious to find just the right words to describe this special place. And then, I came upon this quote: "We love food here at Runner & Stone and we cook not because we have something to prove, but because we have so much to share. We invite you to share in our love of process, our respect for ingredients, and our excitement for our region's bounty." - as said by Chef Chris Pizzulli. That's it. That simple statement - warm with humility, generosity, and hospitality - perfectly captures the essence of who Peter and Chris are and completely nails the feeling you will have as a guest at their restaurant. Everything made at Runner & Stone - and so much is, from the outstanding bread to the pasta, mortadella, even the ketchup - evidences the same level of care and attention to detail as you'll find in the restaurant's stylized industrial space. Co-Owners Peter Endriss and Chris Pizzulli have brought not only their prodigious talents and experience (formerly as head baker at Per Se and Chef de Cuisine at Blue Ribbon, respectively) to the Brooklyn community; but also their commitment to local businesses and charities. Look for their breads and pastries at the McCarran Park Green Market on Saturdays and The Park Slope Farmers Market on Sundays.
Mike Poiarkoff, Executive Chef, Vinegar Hill House
On an uncommonly quiet street, where the cobble stones rise and fall in a way so dramatic you're forced to slow your pace, you will find one of Brooklyn's most charming restaurants. Vinegar Hill House feels like a place lost in time; which consequently (but perhaps surprising) makes it very much of its time. It’s a place that delivers on our very modern fascination with things we believe are time-honored, authentic, and most of all, artisanal. Mike Poiarkoff is cooking today very much how I imagine food was being prepared 100 years ago. Most items are prepared in a cast iron skillet over a wood-burning stove, and the menu itself is dictated by what's available in the markets. He also mainly purchases whole animals and designs the menu to incorporate every cut of meat. Vinegar Hill House verily fulfills the local-sustainable-seasonal promise, but don't be fooled by the lack of pretension. That bologna sandwich you just ate was actually made with lardo from Red Wattle pigs, cured for three months, and cheddar aged over four years. Simple never tasted so good.
Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave., Brooklyn
Patrick Miller, Chef, Rucola
All of my favorite restaurants have what I can only describe as a sort-of-magic about them. There's no one thing screaming out for attention (or applause), rather it's the perfect combination of a 1000 largely undetectable things that somehow make you feel special and very much at home. Rucola is just that sort of place. The kind of spot where you will regularly see A-list actors casually thumbing through a paper at the bar while the waiter chats with a regular whose dog is tethered outside. The food is delicious - checking all the familiar boxes of local, seasonal, largely plant heavy - but Rucola does it so naturally you take it as a given. There is an artlessness and lack of pretension to Rucola that encourages the same from every one of its guests. And who doesn't love that?
190 Dean St., Brooklyn
Erin Patinkin & Agatha Kulaga, Ovenly
There is so much to like about these two ladies, it’s hard to know where to begin. Importantly, they have a deft touch in the kitchen. Personally, I think their salted chocolate chip and salted peanut butter cookies are worth a trip from anywhere. The same has been said of their cheddar mustard scone or Brooklyn Blackout Cake (made with Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout and their own salty, dark chocolate pudding). Everything they make be it nominally sweet or savory, is actually a well-balanced combination of both. And maybe that's why it’s so satisfying. Erin and Agatha are also admirable humanitarians who have put their social ideals to work. In partnership with GOSO (Getting Out and Staying Out - a Harlem based nonprofit that works to provide skills and job training to young men who were formerly incarcerated) and Ansob Center for Refugees, Ovenly provides job training and opportunity to, in their words, "a diverse group of amazing humans." What an amazing, inspiring pair. Ovenly treats can be found at various locations around the city (e.g. at Joe Coffee, Stumptown Coffee Roasters), at Smorgasburg, the Down to Earth Markets, the East River Ferry at the India St. Pier, and Urban Space Vanderbilt.
31 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn
Producers & Suppliers
Building No. 3, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Grange is the leading rooftop farming and intensive green roofing business in the US. They operate the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on two roofs in New York City, and grow over 50,000 lbs. of organically-cultivated produce per year. In addition to growing and distributing fresh local vegetables and herbs, Brooklyn Grange hosts events and educational programming, provides urban farming and green roof consulting and installation services to clients worldwide, and partners with numerous non-profit organizations throughout New York to promote healthy and strong local communities. Oh, and they operate an apiary, keeping bees in over 30 naturally-managed honey bee hives, on roofs dispersed throughout NYC. You can purchase their produce directly at the LIC, Queens and Greenpoint Farmers Markets on Saturdays and Sundays respectively.
The Meat Hook
367 Graham Ave., Brooklyn
I came to Pollen's The Omnivore's Dilemma late, but just in time to appreciate what The Meat Hook is doing. They are a whole animal butcher shop (points for sustainability and also good news for cooks looking for more flavourful/unusual cuts), which specializes in meat from small family farms located in New York State. All of their beef is 100% grass-fed and grass finished and their pork and lamb are raised on pasture, as nature intended. The founders of The Meat Hook are on a mission to improve the quality of meat available to the consumer, direct more profit to the farms and also to promote and teach butchery as an artisanal craft. This bright and cheery shop deserves our support not only because it is a pleasure to visit but because it is making a meaningful impact on improving our food culture. As an added bonus, their Jalapeno Cheese Dip is worth a trip from anywhere.
Chef Collective is a boutique importer/distributor working exclusively with chefs in NYC. Started by a husband and wife team, who met while running a local cheese shop, they aim to support farmers and chefs by making the connection between them more direct. They direct-import/ship the majority of their cheese straight from the producer, and now do the same with charcuterie, olives, oils, butters, and basically anything else that their farmers produce. Their unique approach allows them to bring cheeses in when the producer thinks they are at their absolute best, and because almost every cheese spends less than a week with them, they are able to pass that perfection on to the chef. Reach out to Christopher Killoran for more information.
Beer, Wine & Spirits
The Red Hook Winery
175 Van Dyke Street, Brooklyn
Before opening Red Hook Winery, Mark Snyder founded Angel's Share, a New York based distributor of boutique, hand-crafted California wines. I mention it because this connection led Mr. Snyder to Abe Schoener and Robert (Bob) Foley, with whom he partnered in opening Red Hook Winery. In 2008, Mr. Snyder persuaded these two Californian wine-making legends to make wine from New York grapes and draw attention to the North Fork of Long Island and the Finger Lake regions. Today, The Red Hook Winery’s 70 plus wines are made from over 15 different New York growers and blended separately by Foley, Schoener and Christopher Nicholson. Have regard to the style on the bottle as each employs a distinct method of mixing. The Tasting Room is open daily from 11am to 5, except on Sundays when they open at noon.
208 Dupont Street, Brooklyn
Some of the smoothest, most subtle gin on the market is coming out of this small batch distillery founded in Greenpoint by Steven and Peter DeAngelo. The distillery has focused its production on three gins: American Dry Gin, the brand's top seller, made with organic New York wheat and botanicals like Tuscan juniper, chamomile, elderflower and Ceylon cinnamon; Old Tom, which is aged for a year in bourbon barrels and finished in sherry casks - perfect for an Old Fashioned; and Beach Plum Gin Liqueur, a cult favorite made by soaking Long Island beach plums (a rare, finicky, wild plum indigenous to New York beaches) in Greenhook's American Dry (with a touch of sugar) for seven months. Highly prized and totally delicious.
333 Douglass Street, Brooklyn
In a spacious 5,000 square foot venue, Threes Brewing is host to some of the most interesting beer and good food around. Though they offer a full back bar and Ninth Street Espresso coffee out-post (generously catering to all tastes), the heart of the pub lies in their 15 barrel brewery and 24 tap bar serving Threes' beers alongside their "friends and heroes." This last is both inclusive and clever. By rounding out the menu with beers from other breweries, Threes' brewmaster, Greg Doroski, is free to be a little more experimental and a lot more particular about what he releases and when. If you're looking to understand what you might expect to taste from those 15 barrels, Doroski sites Saison Dupont and Allagash Confluence as major influences on his brewing style. Beers with a farmhouse focus featuring beers fermented with saison yeast would not be surprising. If you ever needed another reason to visit, we are happy to say that our friends from the Meat Hook will now be taking over Threes' kitchen.
Other Half Brewing
195 Centre Street, Brooklyn
That Other Half Brewing went from doors-opening in 2014 to frequently being named Best Brewery in New York (and in the conversation for the title nationally) is remarkable, particularly when you think that their fame spread by word-of-mouth. Enthusiasts have written and blogged extensively and rhapsodically about their IPA's; and circle the block for a chance to buy a new, canned release. If you're interested, come early as they often sell out in a single day. If space is spare in their tiny (but atmospheric) tap room, you can find Other Half's beers at any number of the city's top beer spots (like Proletariat) and also, to the brewery's great credit, at some of New York's most haloed restaurants (e.g. those run by Andrew Carmellini, Danny Meyer, even Thomas Keller's Per Se). I point this out not to diminish other outlets or to put an inappropriate premium on fancy dining, but because beer - good beer - deserves a place at the table at any restaurant serious about food and pairing. Beer lovers have long appreciated the complexity beer is capable of - it's high time the rest of the food world caught up. Thanks Other Half for putting a crack in that ceiling.
Strong Rope Brewery
574A President Street, Brooklyn
Licensed as a Farm Brewery, Strong Rope Brewery takes its relationship to New York State farmers and maltsters seriously. For the uninitiated, having a Farm Brewing license means that the beer must be made primarily from locally grown farm products, which is a great example of how government can support local farms by increasing new businesses surrounding an industry, in this case the brewing industry. Owner Jason Sahler's approach to brewing highlights the connection between the farm and the tap both in his careful sourcing of ingredients but also in his almost culinary use of flavor. For example, he has a basil-raspberry brown ale and a strong blonde ale fermented with peaches and thyme that is aged in a whiskey barrel. He is very much among the brewers who appreciate beer's ability to complement food in a way no less complex than wine. I would encourage everyone to visit Strong Rope's taproom to sample their handcrafted local and organic ales to appreciate how the use of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices (all from New York State farms!) can make for great beer. Also, if you are looking for a custom beer for a party, event or any other type of shindig, look no further. Strong Rope Brewery will work with you in one-on-one sessions to come up with a special brew for you and your event.
91 S. 6th Street, Brooklyn
On a rare occasion, there is a bar or restaurant that you stumble into that feels like the "my bar" of your dreams. That place where the beautiful and cool and intelligent and creative, the successful and wanting and stylish and topical congregate within the right neighborhood and within the perfectly imperfect ambiance to create the bar you want to spend every hour out of work in.... and every hour at work thinking about. That place that you know well enough to feel too comfortable in, you know a couple of waiters' names, have that rapport with the bartender, and brag about knowing the maitre'd. Nevertheless, the excitement you have at going is justified by the myriad people that you may and expect to meet. Located just under theWilliamsburg Bridge, Loosie Rouge is that place... attracting the best of all people with its upscale relaxed Euro/Cali vibe, great cocktails, killer music and really delicious food.
Artists & Designers
Aptly named as it turns out. Because at the end of a project, you too will indeed love Berto. He is one of those rare treasures that delivers a steady stream of pleasant surprises. He's enthusiastic. Thoughtful. He is actually extremely reliable. I add actually because though he may be an artist/surfer/model/actor - he is one of the most reliable professionals I've had the pleasure to work with. He calls when he says he'll call. He shows up when he says he'll show up (with brief updates as he gets there). He can quickly assess what he will need, how long it will take him and actually delivers the work on time and under estimate. And he creates beautiful work. Joyful, happy work. He seems to do what he does for the pleasure of doing it - and lucky are we to enjoy it.
Jelle Wagenaar, Photographer
Jelle is a tremendously talented photographer whose client list reads like a who’s who list for fashion, sport, and music: Rolling Stone, GQ, Nike, Island/Def Jam, Wired, Sony BMG, Maxim, Capitol Records, Atlantic Records, Nylon ...and the list goes on. He's an absolute pleasure to work with.
Alexander Merchlinsky, Graphic Designer
Alex brought 10 years of experience building brands for the likes of Chanel, J.Crew and Estee Lauder to bear on the Local Fare Bklyn logo. We met briefly, he listened quietly and then, within short order, he produced a few options that perfectly conveyed the feeling we were looking for. As an art director and graphic designer in the fashion, luxury cosmetics and fragrance industries, Alex has strong experience in brand identity and print collateral as well as advertising, packaging, event invitations, visual merchandising, photography direction and retouching. He currently works freelance.