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'The Taste' Runner-Up Chef Opening Steakhouse in Greenpoint

By Serena Dai | December 30, 2014 1:10pm
 Chef Diane DiMeo, who's been on reality shows "The Taste" and "Chopped," is opening a restaurant in Greenpoint.
Chef Diane DiMeo, who's been on reality shows "The Taste" and "Chopped," is opening a restaurant in Greenpoint.
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Courtesy of Diane DiMeo

GREENPOINT — A chef who's advanced on reality cooking shows like "The Taste" and "Chopped" will soon be bringing her talents to Greenpoint.

Diane DiMeo's new steak restaurant and lounge, Hook & Cleaver, will open its doors at 68 Greenpoint Ave. next Thursday, she said.

The chef, who was a finalist on the ABC show "The Taste" while on Anthony Bourdain's team, said the new spot was inspired by old, underground clubs where men would go after political rallies to eat steak and cheese.

It will only be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and won't have a sign outside, DiMeo said. Instead, just two red lights will point diners toward the spot, adding to the "underground" theme.

"It’s kind of your old typical steakhouse," she said.

Food and drink at Hook & Cleaver will be simple, DiMeo said. Cocktails will be classics like Tom Collins and whiskey sours — without any crazy innovations — and steaks will be grilled simply without any sauces or marinades.

Diners can pick out their cuts for the night from "meat cart girls," women who will push around a cart displaying the steaks.

"I like to go back to the ages where you're eating real food," DiMeo said. "I don't want heavy sauces. Don't make it special, I want to just eat my food."

Steaks will range from $12 to $28, depending on the cut and meat. Hook & Cleaver will also have a late night menu with burgers, steak and eggs, and fried cheese sandwiches going until 4 a.m. 

Eventually, the spot will also open for brunch.

"Greenpoint is super ready for a funky cool steakhouse," DiMeo said. "No pretension. You don't have to wear your suit to come in."

In other local restaurant opening news:

► A new farm-to-table restaurant opening in Williamsburg this month will serve its own beers.

Owners of Bill Baker's, located at 364 Grand St., plan to open by the end of January, said co-owner Nels Benton.

He and co-owner Adam Randisi met in culinary school years ago and started to get into brewing beer recently, Benton said. When they looked to open their own restaurant, they decided to offer some of their recipes, to be brewed by Spider Bite Beer, rotating on four taps in the eatery.

The chefs' feature beer is a vanilla porter — a creme brulee-tasting beer that brings their food knowledge into drink.

"We encourage you to come in, have one or two [small] plates, have a good beer and have a good bourbon," Benton said. "We just try to pull all the aspects of what you would want together."

Food will be "rustic American," a combination of Benton's Southern comfort food background and Randisi's classical French background. Small plates will cost between $5 and $15.

The restaurant will have a total of 16 beers on tap. In addition to a craft beer focus, the spot will have a wide selection of bourbon and bourbon-based cocktails.

► Celebrity custom cake baker Penny Stankiewicz of Sugar Couture opened a bakery in the neighborhood this month.

Stankiewicz, who has had clients like Adele, John Mayer and Hugh Jackman, offers both sweet and savory pastries at her new shop at 386 Graham Ave., according to the New York Daily News.