Brooklyn Kitchen owners Taylor Erkkinen and Harry Rosenblum, in collaboration with local star butcher Tom Mylan, debut Brooklyn Labs and the Meat Hook on Monday. When Erkkinen and Rosenblum discovered a 7,000-square-foot former furniture showroom up for rent nearby earlier this year, it came time to expand and partner up with the borough's celebrity meat man. “The concept of the lab was a place to work out our collective obsessions,” says Mylan.
When he announced the concept back in September, Mylan called it a "food dork megaplex," and so it is. The fate of the original Brooklyn Kitchen shop is undetermined, but all courses will now take place in the new, larger space, Erkkinen says. There are two classrooms that accommodate 10 to 40 students per session. Demos, such as kombucha brewing, will cost $40, and hands-on classes like knife skills, sausage-making, and cake decorating will start at $75. More advanced cooks will soon be able to take one-on-one tutorials in everything from butchering to artisanal bread-baking.
As for Mylan's Meat Hook, it's a departure from his former counter at Marlow & Daughters. “We’ll be a little less fancy, highfalutin: less pâté and cured meats, more sausage, roast beef, and pastrami. And our prices will be, on average, lower,” he says. Relations with his former employer are amiable, Mylan claims, though he did poach two Marlow colleagues Brent Young and Ben Turley to partner with him. Whether a neighborhood filled with freelancers and artists in the middle of a recession can sustain two artisanal meat shops is iffy, but Mylan has faith in his ability to draw customers from outside Williamsburg with ample parking, an easy-to-get-to spot off the BQE, and proximity to the L and G subway stops at Lorimer Street.
There's plenty to shop for, like locally raised grass-fed beef from Kinderhook Farms and grain-fed meats from Meiller’s and Sons, as well as roast chickens, smoked chickens, handmade pastas and sauces, and aromatics like garlic, onion, and herbs. (There's also a limited supply of Thanksgiving turkeys.) A dry-goods room stocks bulk olive oils, vinegars, spices, and Cayuga Pure Organic beans and grains from Tompkins County, New York. And in addition to Brooklyn Kitchen–style racks of kitchen tools, bakeware, and tableware framing the butcher cases, there's room for brewing and wine-making supplies, as well as a plan to sell Long Island grapes during wine-pressing season.
Expect construction to continue after next week's opening, and possibly into December. But whole animals are in the fridge (and our slideshow), and the upstairs classroom already hosted its inaugural lecture: "Charcuterie CSA With the Piggery!" Mylan says the kitchen will continue to expand its potential: “92nd Street Y shit: cookbook readings, a conference about meat in the U.S. events that it’s been hard to find a venue for.”
The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs and the Meat Hook, 100 Frost St., nr. Leonard St., Williamsburg; 718-349-5033
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.