A new restaurant has moved in across the street from the Park Slope Food Coop (an organization of which I am a member, and yes, I know, they should have a hyphen: co-op =hippy sharing organization, coop=chickens). Previously in its space was The Black Pearl, a sort of vaguely Irish (maybe?) vaguely bistro-y place where I had bad mimosas once. Anyway, it's great to have something else there, and it was getting a little press, so I decided to make the SEVEN BLOCK trip to Union and check it out.
I read somewhere that they changed chefs about two weeks in and are going to "gradually transition the menu," or some such rhetoric. The point is, because the restaurant is new and in the middle of a shake up, I'm going to wager that experiences in the next few weeks will vary widely.
First things first, the cocktails are fab, AND the wine list/cocktail menu has a helpful graph in place of a table of contents. Everyone loves a graph. I had a Marconi (kind of like a Negroni but with prosecco and a Campari cousin) v. good; one of my friends had a cider martini which was good as far as girly drinks go, and another friend had a Rye Manhattan that I REALLY recommend.
This place takes drinking seriously, as evidenced by a picture of their bar.
The chef change became readily apparent when we heard the specials from our lovely waiter. He described something called "Testa" that was a pork puree--now anyone with Italian 101 knows "testa" means "head." When I called him out on trying to cover up the fact that he was describing "head cheese" (I'm a bitch, I know), he came back with the spiel that it's respectful to eat the whole animal or some coop/foodie bull. Anyway, I ordered it, and it was wonderful--a little crispy, healthily salted, and the lightly poached egg on top was just the right simple accompaniment. Other, more "normal" firsts came from the regular (old?) menu, but all were equally delicious, if less "adventurous."
The entrees, all from the menu, were generally simple affairs: thinly sliced duck with spaetzel and brussels sprouts (which google just told me there's an "s" on), steak with mustard greens and scallops in a white pepper--pear "gastrique" (ok, that's kinda fancy). All of these dishes were really very nice and well executed, but seemed a little too simple after the fireworks show that the appetizers put on. One friend, a vegetarian-ish person, was disappointed with her pappardelle and beets. I think it needed lemon...or something. Anyway, it was obviously a throwaway, obligatory vegetarian dish, and I'm not sure you can get away with that in the Slope, guys.
Desserts were rather lackluster, but maybe new chefie hasn't got around to it yet. For the time being, I recommend you let the sommelier guide you to an after-dinner scotch or one of their good selection of dessert wines.
As an added bonus, the restaurant was baby-free when I went (yess!), but the squishy booths could be seen as kid friendly...maybe...kids like that shit right?
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