Harvest time is a slippery slope leading directly to holiday feasting. In Central Europe, any fruit that isn't consumed fresh or canned is dried, to be turned into all kind of dishes that presage the holidays. In Switzerland and Southern Germany, dried pears are saved for Hutzelbrot—dried pear bread—which is now available at Runner & Stone.
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By reputation, Lavender Lake is known as a bar more than a restaurant, but their kitchen is putting out thoughtfully prepared dishes that pair well with a few stiff drinks.
My best bite at the new Dinosaur Barbecue in Brooklyn wasn't the wings (awesome) or the ribs (awesomer). Don't get me wrong—the pits are running quite well here. But it was this fat slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie ($5) that impressed me most: chocolate wafer crust and an inch and a half of light, airy peanut butter mousse.
Tucked away in Gowanus, Chef Angelo Romano has a place of his own at The Pines, where a casual outdoor menu and indoor one that pushes a few borders match with chef-driven cocktails and a casual setting. Here he talks about what it takes to be the chef behind a chef-driven menu, and why Gowanus is where he's happy to plant his stake.
This is a Brooklyn restaurant story we've heard before, but not quite.
Because Runner & Stone in the Gowanus has more going on. It opened in December as a bakery and patisserie serving breakfast and lunch. Dinner launched soon after. There is also brunch. Oh, and a full bar. For a restaurant open for less than three months, that's no small achievement.
The question is how the restaurant's full menu stacks up to the destination-worthy bread and quality pastries. Though the menu strikes a careful balance between invention and restraint, it doesn't quite reach the bakery's heights.
Click through the slideshow for a look into the pastry at Runner and Stone, a new bakery and restaurant in Gowanus, Brooklyn, featuring classic French pastry and a stellar use of simple ingredients.
This new Gowanus restaurant serves a sandwich that's all about balancing savory and sweet, soft and crisp.
Brooklyn-style barbecue comes to Gowanus.
Chris Bradley, the executive chef of Danny Meyer's latest restaurant inside the Whitney Museum of Art Untitled, is something of a pioneer: he's lived in Gowanus, the neighborhood bordering Park Slope and Caroll Gardens, for the past four years. His commute to work isn't speedy, but it's worth it to live in a place that he thinks is going to make it big in the next year. "It's one of those frontier lands where rent is still cheap," he says. "The young and the hungry will come."
I don't quite remember when the notion of an ambitious restaurant opening up in Gowanus ceased to seem strange. After the success of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, perhaps; or maybe around the time Roberta's became a picnic-tabled dining destination in Bushwick? Regardless, we're now at a time when a talented chef considers a restaurant a block from the canal a reasonable proposition. Angelo Romano has come through Roberta's and the now-closed Masten Lake. It's the sort of often wildly original, anything-goes model of many Brooklyn restaurants these days—housemade this, backyard-grown that. These sorts of spots can be creative to a fault, dishes bigger than imagination than can be pulled through in execution. But for the most part, The Pines avoids those pitfalls.
Peter Endriss, Runner & Stone's baker, is one of the many alumni of the Per Se bread ovens who have gone on to run some of the city's best bakeries. He's been selling his bread at incubator markets like Smorgasburg in Brooklyn and New Amsterdam Market in Manhattan, as places to spread the word about the Runner & Stone café and restaurant, slated to open in September.
The past few years have seen something of a barbecue revolution here in New York, but that doesn't mean much to us vegetarians. Even places that are doing creative things with barbecue don't make much concession to us, relegating our options to side dishes. And even then, dishes like collards or beans are often laced with pork products, limiting our choices even more. The first time I visited Fort Reno Provisions, they mentioned that their collard greens are completely vegetarian (though the beans are full of meaty burnt ends). I've eaten there twice now, and some of the sides make the trip well worth it.
[Photo: Jessie Pascoe] On a dusty stretch of Third Avenue in Gowanus, Draft Barn has been serving some seriously impressive suds (they have over 250 beers!) and unpretentious Eastern European grub. With sister locations in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton...
I've always wondered why New England-style seafood preparations have never made it far beyond the New England borders. That's precisely what Aaron Lefkove and Andy Curtin, a couple of Brooklyn bandmates with—get this—no restaurant experience, thought to themselves before they opened Littleneck.
Pizza Cotta Bene, a pizzeria in Gowanus that on paper is new (they opened just over a year ago), but you wouldn't know it by looking at it. Everything from the cheap interior tables, to the soda fountain, to the glass display case showing a half dozen by-the-slice selections looks just like the pizzerias of my youth, and good news: the pizza is good. Great, even.
It's really the best of both worlds. The Plum Crumble at Four & Twenty Blackbirds features pie with a traditional crust on the bottom and a crumble crust on the top.
We're back today for yet another slice of this Cranberry-Sage pie. If I were smarter, I would have bought an entire pie instead of stopping in every few days for a slice or two.
Picking between the autumn pie offerings at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanus is no easy feat. While they may not make the single best pies in town, they are more than delicious, and you can always count on a mix of classic and creative flavors.
I've always found grandma slices to be a three-buck gamble, but this square holds its own. Just as tasty is Tomato and Basil's Margherita ($3). The lower crust-to-topping ratio makes this slice more of a flavor bomb than dear old granny's and brings it more into line with the qualities that make slices like Di Fara's memorable.