BROOKLYN — Brooklyn's status as the de rigueur spot to open a restaurant is firmly established, with chefs issuing some of the city's most exceptional culinary inventions from here.
This spring is no different, with area eateries concocting innovative entrees never before seen.
DNAinfo.com New York looks at, and tastes, some of the most creative offerings from Brooklyn's newest restaurants.
Duck Pastrami from Runner and Stone
Runner and Stone's co-owners Chris Pizzulli and Peter Endriss are the soup-to-nuts kind of guys. That's why the duck pastrami created by the duo — veterans of Blue Ribbon and Per Se, respectively — has been particularly alluring to the clientele of their Gowanus restaurant and bakery.
“All of its elements are made in-house. We make a toasted lager beer mustard. We pickle onions and we make our own pickles here in-house,” assistant manager Alexandra Bavelas explained. “The duck pastrami they roast here. They brine it. It’s cut really thin. It’s a very aesthetic plate and it’s been the most popular menu item altogether.”
Moules Poutine from Three Letters
The inspiration for this Clinton Hill establishment is “French truck stop” according to co-owner Cam Honsa. It follows that a traditional Moules-frites dish would fit the bill, but Chef Pip Freeman found room to innovate, offering the hybrid dish, Moules Poutine.
“It’s called poutine because you essentially get french fries, gravy and mussels and herbs all mixed together on one dish,” Honsa said. “The mussels essentially replace the cheese if you want to think about it like a poutine.”
Ricotta Dumplings from Fritzl’s Lunch Box
Chef Dan Ross-Leutwyler opened Fritzl’s Lunch Box in Bushwick to showcase unique sandwiches with proteins like fried bacalao (Spanish for salted cod) and crispy lamb, but one of his most beloved creations is his ricotta dumpling dish. Paired with rajas en crema (charred poblano peppers in a loose Mexican sour cream) and peekytoe crab, this dish is topped with a healthy dose of lime juice and fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley and tarragon.
“It’s one of the more non-traditional things we’re doing on the menu,” Ross-Leutwyler said. “I think what’s neat about it is that it brings a few things together that everybody likes … All of those [ingredients] are somewhat accessible but are presented in a way that I think most people aren’t used to seeing.”
General Tso’s Chicken and Waffles from Sweet Chick
The chicken and waffles boomlet is quickly evolving into a full-on trend. Williamsburg’s Sweet Chick serves up American food with a self-described rustic Southern accent and the restaurant's original chicken and waffle dish has become its calling card. But Chef Randy Reppel also takes the traditional pairing a step further with the spicy General Tso’s Chicken and Waffles, which is a featured nightly special.
"General Tso's Chicken is one of my go-to Chinese food orders,” he said. “Our version is simple, modern and delicious. I created broccoli and rice waffles, and the dish has become so popular that people are asking for it even when it's not on the specials' menu."
Salmon Poke Charred Apple Noodle from Suzume
Chef Mikey Briones of the recently opened sushi and ramen spot Suzume (Japanese for sparrow) is clearly passionate about his restaurant and his food. Though reticent to rhapsodize about his elegantly designed dishes, the unassuming chef clearly has his customers in mind, serving up deftly composed meals at a more than reasonable price point. Briones shared with us his Salmon Poke Charred Apple Noodle dish, which is garnished with pickled carrots, hijiki and crispy salmon skin. Served cold, the dish, which Briones describes as a Hawaiian-style tartare, is one of many highlights for this neighborhood spot in South Williamsburg.
BBQ Pulled Pork Pancake from Thistle Hill Tavern
As one of Brooklyn's most notable chefs, Dale Talde has poured his talents into three Park Slope restaurants — Pork Slope, Talde and Thistle Hill Tavern — but only the latter is home to these sweet and savory pancakes. Thistle Hill Tavern's BBQ Pulled Pork Pancake dish sets the pulled pork atop ricotta-herb pancakes and slathers the whole thing in a bourbon maple syrup.
“My chefs and I were talking about ways to make the pork dish on our spring brunch menu a little lighter," Talde said. "We agreed that BBQ pulled pork would be the perfect topping for a pancake. And to make them really decadent, we serve them with a bourbon maple syrup.”