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Park Slope-Born Chef to Open Gristmill Restaurant This Week

 Steak tartare ($17) at Gristmill in Park Slope.
Steak tartare ($17) at Gristmill in Park Slope.
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Josephine Rozman

PARK SLOPE — The neighborhood's newest restaurant is taking a fine-grained approach to farm-to-table dining.

Chef Jake Novick-Finder's Gristmill will highlight colorful locally grown produce and will also celebrate a less-Instagrammed ingredient: the flour in its breads, crusts and pastries. The farms that provide the produce are listed on the restaurant's menu, and so are the stone mills that make the flour.

"To me, the term farm-to-table has become a marketing buzzword that I’m not into,” Novick-Finder said. “I hope people understand that if we care about our flour this much, we care about everything in between."

Gristmill opens Wednesday at 289 Fifth Ave. between First and Second streets in the space last occupied by Brooklyn Central Pizza. It's the first foray into restaurant ownership for Novick-Finder, 26, who started his career at 12 as a pastry intern at the now-closed Chanterelle.

  Mushroom pizza ($19) at Gristmill. Photo by Josephine Rozman.

At 14, he launched his own handmade chocolate truffle business and later went on to spend five years working as a pastry chef for Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.

  The interior of Gristmill, where chef-owner Jake Novick-Finder says the clean design puts the spotlight on the menu's ingredients. Photo by Josephine Rozman.

Novick-Finder was born in Park Slope and lived on Berkeley Place until about age 7 or 8, when his family moved to Rhinebeck. His mom still runs a small farm there and Gristmill will use vegetables grown there.

  Beets with their greens in "seeded breadcrumbs" ($15) at Gristmill, the new farm-to-table restaurant opening July 13 in Park Slope. Photo by Josephine Rozman.

Almost every ingredient the restaurant will cook with comes from New York or Massachusetts, and Novick-Finder said he's so committed to seasonal cooking that he won't even buy garlic or onions out of season — he's been testing recipes with scapes and spring onion as he waited for the local garlic and onion harvest.

  Shrimp and cornbread at Gristmill. Photo by Josephine Rozman.

Gristmill's wood-fired New American menu includes beets with their greens on a bed of seeded breadcrumbs ($15); head-on shrimp with cornbread ($18); summer squash soup with radish greens and basil ($12); and a fennel pizza with bacon, bleu cheese, dandelion greens and balsamic vinegar ($17).

For the past week Gristmill has been serving dinner to friends and family members. Favorite dishes among early customers include the garlic knots ($8), pepperoni pizza with honey ($19) and "curds and whey" ($16) — a garganelle pasta dish with kale, porcini mushrooms and Grana Padano cheese, Novick-Finder said.

"We try to take the ego out of the chef and really focus on what the farms are growing," Novick-Finder said.

Other recent Openings & Closings in the neighborhood include:

► The real estate brokerage Halstead Property will move into the former Tutta Pasta space at 160 Seventh Ave. this fall.

► Williamsburg's The Meat Hook will partner with Threes Brewing at 333 Douglass St. starting July 11 to do the cooking at the Gowanus brewery.

► The burrito chain Chipotle opened at 185 Seventh Ave. in Park Slope.