"I wanted to fill my menu with things I love to eat," says Dale Talde of the restaurant with his name on the door, which opened in Park Slope last Sunday. In his case, that means a menu with broad-reaching Asian influences—from Thai to Vietnamese to Japanese and Filipino—but with often American sensibilities: brisket nods to Texas, "pretzel dumplings" to New York; an iceberg wedge salad isn't likely to be found anywhere in Asia.
After Talde (best known for two stints on Top Chef and Top Chef All Stars) left Buddakan, he knew he wanted to open his own place but wasn't expecting to leave Manhattan. But he was approached by the two owners of Thistle Hill Tavern in Park Slope, David Massoni and John Bush, and their Brooklyn boosting won him over.
It's a roomy corner restaurant handsomely outfitted in engraved wood, a dominant bar up front (with taps from Hitachino red rice ale and Kirin Ichiban to $3 Miller High Life) with booths in back; several tables at the far end have a view into the open kitchen. It's a great look at the workings of Talde and his crew, who've been running full-tilt in the restaurant's first week. "I've been through three restaurant openings," Dale laughs, exhausted but happy, "but man, is it different when your name's on the door."
We chatted with Dale about which dishes were inspired by late-night food runs on Top Chef, which dishes he thinks are "f***in' bangin'," and which dish is "sort of barbecue, but sort of messy stoner food." Check 'em all out in the slideshow above.