Barbecue joints in Park Slope, name one. (Scratching head.) I'm coming up short, though have heard recent rumors of a Dinosaur Bar-B-Q in the works. Chef Jacques Gautier of Palo Santo in the Slope also realized this barbecue deficiency when his business partner's pregnant wife was craving brisket. "A few beers later," he explained—and sometimes these stories actually end with a good idea.
Fort Reno—a nod to the park in D.C. where Gautier and his high school cronies used to hang out—is a cozy 25-seat space, softly lit with upside-down colander chandeliers and mason jar lamps. It officially opened Tuesday night on the same block of Union Street as Palo Santo (which you could easily walk past and never notice; it's tucked into the first floor of a brownstone).
"We're not trying to stick to any one specific style of barbecue," said Fort Reno chef Lia Forman, a Palo Santo kitchen transplant. For now, the chalkboard menu will feature meats sold by the pound and Southern-style sides ($4 each) made from local ingredients, including Palo Santo's (very local) rooftop garden. The brisket, ribs, and pulled pork are served on butcher paper-lined trays next to macaroni and cheese, collards, beans, cole slaw and biscuits.
"This summer, it's going to be gangbusters!" said Forman, who's excited about having more produce options from the Greenmarket. She smiled especially big when referencing "stone fruits" and "pie."
Gautier is already a regular shopper and chef demo-er at the Grand Army Plaza market on Saturdays. He's getting the beef for the brisket from Creekstone Farms, the pork from Heritage Foods, the dairy (including the butter and buttermilk in those biscuits) from Ronnybrook, eggs from Tello's Green Farm, and produce from Phillips Farm. Gautier was a vegetarian for five years and wants to make sure there are plenty of veg options, even if this place is serious about its smoked meats.
We swung by Fort Reno to preview the menu, including cocktails—take a look!
669 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (b/n 4th and 5th Avenue; map)