The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

PHOTOS: Black Tree Opens in Williamsburg With Whole-Animal Chef's Table

By Serena Dai | October 7, 2015 4:43pm
 Trendy farm-to-table restaurant Black Tree opened a Williamsburg location in October 2015.
Black Tree Opens in Williamsburg
View Full Caption

WILLIAMSBURG — Farm-to-table restaurant Black Tree's new Williamsburg outpost is looking to serve diners an entire animal — in one meal.

The restaurant, located at 261 Metropolitan Ave., is debuting a chef's table meal in the neighborhood, with the entire eight-to-12 course meal guiding diners through the many parts of their protein, said co-owners Sandy Dee Hall and Macnair Sillick.

Hall, who's the executive chef, and Sillick first debuted Black Tree as a pop-up sandwich shop in Crown Heights in the hopes of making farm-to-table fine dining more accessible and affordable, they said.

They eventually opened a shop on the Lower East Side, at 131 Orchard St., and added menu items beyond sandwiches.

But the LES location's small size prevented Hall from exploring new concepts or bigger meals, he said.

Williamsburg's 1,700-square-feet, 75-seat dining room lets Hall cover more adventurous terrain, including an eight-seat chef's table where each course will highlight a different part of an animal.

Many unusual parts — like the brain, skin, tongue and ear — are too scarce to offer on the regular restaurant menu, Hall explained.

A tasting menu allows Hall to offer items like a duck head terrine or fried duck skin dipped in honey, letting diners explore an animal from nose to tail, he said.

"I want to get people out there to try different stuff and branch out of their eating," Hall said. "Let's just be weird. Just some weird, tasty food."

The tasting menu will cost $88, with a wine pairing running an additional $44. The chef's table meal will debut in a few weeks and be available from Wednesday through Friday.

The featured animal will change regularly, depending on what local farms have available that week.

Black Tree's regular menu also changes weekly based on which animals and produce the eatery is able to procure from farms, which must be within 300 miles of New York.

This week, the restaurant debuted with dishes made with goats from Stryker Farms in Saylorsburg, Penn., and cows from Finger Lakes Farms in Ithaca, N.Y.

A sign in the restaurant boasts dozens of farms from which all of the restaurant's produce and meat originated.

The geographical restriction means none of Black Trees dishes or cocktails includes lemons or limes, but that simply pushes the restaurant to experiment with bitters and vinegars, many of which they make in-house, Hall and Sillick said.

All of the entrees, with the exception of steaks, are priced under $20, part of the restaurant's continued pursuit of making local, farm-to-table food more accessible to a variety of diners, they said.

"It shouldn’t have to be a special occasion to eat here," Sillick said.

Black Tree faced resistance from the local community board in its bid for a liquor license but finally secured it last week, just in time for the opening.

Hall and Sillick said their restaurant's goal is to be part of the neighborhood.

"Our best customers are people who live across the street, above us, side from us. We want to replicate that here," Sillick said.

"All we do is help farmers," Hall added. "All we do is drive local business."