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.
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.
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.
This new Gowanus restaurant serves a sandwich that's all about balancing savory and sweet, soft and crisp.
Per Se's former head baker, Peter Endress—whose breads you could find weekly at Smorgasburg—have settled into the Gowanus at Runner & Stone Bakery and Restaurant. And in a couple respects, they're better than ever.
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.
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.
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.
If there was any doubt that New York is living through an ice cream golden age, it was erased yesterday's Ice Cream Takedown at Brooklyn's Bell House. Almost 20 intrepid amateur competitors served tastings from two gallons of homemade ice cream to a packed room of devotees. There were no dull offerings here; these creations spoke to the infectious enthusiasm of our city's home cooks to make for themselves versions of the creative, delicious ice creams on offer in groceries, restaurants, scoop shops, and street carts.
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.
There are all sorts of fantastic bakeries in New York where you can pick up pie for your Thanksgiving table. But many of them require advance orders for Thanksgiving—and sometimes that just doesn't happen. Sometimes, you just need a last minute pie. And luckily, these fine bakeries are here to help you out.
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.
New York's never been a great pie town. We have lots of great baked goods and lots of talented pastry chefs, but somehow our pies have never made it onto my nationwide pie honor roll. But with artisanally inspired handmade food in Brooklyn appearing at every corner and market, and the borough's do-it-yourself food culture growing ever-larger, we knew that a pie culture couldn't be far behind. Pies 'N Thighs started it, and now to pie lover's rescue come two pie companies—Four and Twenty Blackbirds and First Prize Pies.
The winner, whose name we approve of: the Serious Business taco. [Photos: Katie Quinn] Theo Peck and Nick Suarez, cook-off organizers extraordinaire, knew New Yorkers liked tacos, but it was not until their sold-out Brooklyn Taco Experiment, this Sunday,...