Pomme de Terre About to Open, But Maybe Lower Your Hopes a BitWe’ve seen delivery trucks pulling up to Pomme de Terre, and the Ditmas Park bistro has a working Website. But what exactly will the food be? Tom Kearney, the chef at the nearby Farm on Adderley who is helping develop the menu, tells us it won’t be regional or seasonal, if that’s what you were hoping for; look instead for a “familiar” bistro menu: “If you’ve experienced or read the menu of L’Express, Pastis, Balthazar, or Le Bateaux Ivre, then you know what to expect in mini-version.” Kearney will not be cooking himself at Pomme de Terre; a line cook will be executing the chef’s recipes. “After this opens I’ll be dedicating myself to the day to day back at the Farm,” he says. Whatever Pomme de Terre serves, it’s got to be better than the options provided by its predecessor, a roach-infested bodega.
Related: Ditmas Park Bistro Has a Name and No Official Permit Yet
NYC Meat Clubs Accepting New MembersThe first rule of meat club is … it’s okay to talk about meat club. Actually, it’s more than okay. As CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) co-ops spread throughout the city, more and more New Yorkers are getting locally sourced beef, pork, lamb, and poultry directly from small, upstate farms, bypassing vendors, grocers, and even greenmarkets. Recently, a good friend took us with him to the Windsor Terrace home of a local meat-club (his term) distributor. There, he picked up a box filled with eggs, chicken, steak, leg of lamb, and an ivory-white, creamy-pure fresh ham, just waiting to be brined and roasted that night. New meat clubs are developing in neighborhoods all over (Victorian Flatbush just got one, which is good news for us): To find out about your local meat-delivery service, contact Nancy Brown at Lewis Waite Farm, a sylvan paradise that is coordinating the city’s fledgling meat-club movement.
CSA Pastured Meat and Poultry [Official site]
Ditmas Park Bistro Has a Name and No Official Permit YetPomme de Terre, the just-named bistro on Newkirk Avenue announced here and written up recently in the Times, is just a couple of weeks from opening in Ditmas Park. The name is even on the door! This is the first middlebrow eatery to penetrate what was previously the no-restaurant’s-land of Newkirk Avenue, home only to Pakistani bodegas, laundromats, and (at times) even a few stray bullets. “We are ready,” co-owner Gary Jonas tells us. “We could set the tables and start cooking tonight, but we just need to get signed off by the Buildings Department.” Customers at Jonas’s other area restaurant, the Farm on Adderley, are all wondering when Pomme de Terre will open. “It’ll be packed on the first night,” Jonas predicts. Of course it will. Where else are Ditmas Park residents going to eat?
Pomme de Terre, 1301 Newkirk Ave., nr. Argyle Rd., Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. No phone yet.
Related: Farm on Adderley Owners Launching Tiny Ditmas Bistro
Wing Woes on First Avenue; French Bistro Tougher Than Gun Shots in BrooklynDitmas Park: Patois and Sweetwater owner Jim Mamary is opening a French bistro at the corner of Newkirk Avenue and Argyle Road, and his progress hasn’t been hampered by a recent shooting nearby: “You can’t open up a flower shop on a strip nobody would walk on. It’s us guys who take the risks. Restaurants take the risks.” [NYT via Eater]
East Village: Despite having encouraged wing reservations for yesterday’s big game, Atomic Wings lost track of orders and left customers waiting one to two hours for what turned out to be cold Buffalo not-so-goodness. [Grub Street]
Financial District: A new Mexican cantina called Mad Dog and Beans has brought fish tacos and chiles rellenos to Pearl Street. [Zagat]
Soho: Palacinka has lost its lease. [Eater]
West Village: L’Impero alum chef Michael Genardini will be in the kitchen of a rustic Italian eatery called I Sodi, which should be ready this March in the former Puff & Pao space. [TONY]
Farm on Adderley Owners Launching Tiny Ditmas BistroDitmas Park is taking another step toward being the next big Brooklyn neighborhood with an addition to its scant restaurant scene. There now is the Farm on Adderley, Picket Fence, and a guy that cooks ribs on the street outside of left-wing cafe Vox Pop. But help is on the way, reports the Ditmas Park Blog. Gary Jonas and Allison McDowell, the owners of the Farm on Adderley, are planning on opening a small bistro on Newkirk Avenue, currently best known for its laundromats and ill-stocked Indian groceries. The two will be operating partners with Pacifico and Patois owner Jimmy Mamary. We asked McDowell about it, and she explained the plan: “It’s going to be tiny. We’re not doing a big, family-friendly neighborhood restaurant there. It’ll be more grown-up, European, but there won’t be a liquor license, just beer and wine. We’d like Tom Kearney, our chef at Adderley, to do the menu, but that’s still up in the air.” So, apparently, is the name: We’re suggesting the Barn, but only because Lentils & More is worse.
Newkirk Bistro Aims for Xmas Opening [Ditmas Park Blog]
Related: Best French Fries: The Farm on Adderley [NYM]
Health-Food War Brews in Ditmas Park
There’s a war going down in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and the winner, so far, is the neighborhood. For years, the Flatbush Food Coop has pretty much had the run of the area, and neighbors, even those who were members, often grumbled at their prices. But earlier this year, the Natural Frontier market opened down the block, garnering kudos for their extremely competitive prices. Now Flatbush Food has fought back, taking over the just-vacated Associated Supermarket across Cortelyou Road. Not that they want you to think of it that way.
Left-Wing Café Introduces Centrist Grilling MenuA left-wing bookstore probably isn’t the first place you would look for char-grilled foods, even if it does include a café, but in Ditmas Park, you take your restaurant specialties where you can get them. At Vox Pop, among the progressives perusing books like The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Marxism for Beginners, you’ll find hungry locals chowing down outside Thursdays through Sundays.
Picket Fence Not Long for This WorldThe era of Ditmas Park boasting two good New American restaurants may be coming to a close. According to a Craigslist ad posted today, picket fence, the neighborhood’s pioneering New American restaurant, is for sale. (The other favorite is the Farm on Adderley.) It was with great sadness that we read the following line: “Visit picketfencebrooklyn.com and see for yourself what a great opportunity this is.” (We’re easily moved.) The restaurant helped spark the Ditmas Park revival; we’re sorry to see it go, but curious as to what will come in its place.
Cozy Restaurant for Sale [Craigslist]
Epic, Possibly Disgusting Food Odyssey to End in Brooklyn WednesdayEat Industry, a documentary from two Brooklynites who took it upon themselves to drive across America and see where their food comes from, sounds like the kind of anti-industry agitprop that’s already been done to death. At least judging by the trailer: A cattleman describes the use of steroids on calves as a time machine, turning them into adults overnight; a community meeting looks as dramatic as a scene out of Erin Brockovitch. Whether or not it all adds up to anything will be revealed Wednesday night, when filmmakers Rod Bachar and Lilach Dekel screen the movie at Haute Barnyard spot the Farm on Adderley. The screening, which includes a Q&A with Bachar and Dekel, hot and cold hors d’oeuvre by chef Tom Kearney, and organic wine from Frey Vineyards, is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Proceeds go to post-production costs for the film. Let’s just hope you have an appetite left after watching the thing.
Eat Industry screening, The Farm on Adderley, 1108 Cortelyou Rd., nr. Coney Island Ave., Ditmas Park, Brooklyn; 718-287-3101.
Ask a Waiter
Papaya King’s Alexander Poulus Serves Franks to Martha Stewart, Referees FightsAlexander Poulus was working as an engineer five years after graduating from NYU, but when his uncle Gus, the founder of Papaya King, offered to bring him into the company, he couldn’t refuse. For 35 years, he has seen the Upper East Side location (which is about to celebrate its 75th anniversary) through stolen tip jars, windows shattered by brawling drunks, and of course the snappy service of countless hot dogs that are “Tastier Than Filet Mignon.”
Hill Country to Challenge Blue Smoke, RUB on Their Own TurfHill Country BBQ, we’ve learned from owner Mark Glosserman, has officially signed its lease and begun construction at 30 West 26th Street, just a few blocks from Blue Smoke and RUB . Isn’t it bad medicine to open so close to a pair of established, busy barbecues? Says Glosserman: “It’s a great spot, and the price was right, and we’re in a big office building, so there will be a lot of traffic even though it’s a side street. We have a lot of faith in our product.” No doubt. But we actually like Hill Country’s chances. New Yorkers have shown a willingness to go the extra mile to eat great barbecue: Daisy May’s BBQ sat on a desolate stretch of Eleventh Avenue and didn’t even have tables; RUB ran out of meat every night; Blue Smoke barely had any smoke flavor during its first year, as a result of chimney malfunction. Glosserman hired the best barbecue cooker in the city, Robert Richter. If Hill Country delivers the goods, New Yorkers will support it … right?
Another ‘Izakaya,’ to Our Chicken Heart’s Delight
Following the lead of newcomers Izakaya Ten and Zenkichi, the once-formal Takayama has reinvented itself as Ariyoshi, an izakaya with a sushi bar boasting a lengthy menu of tempura, yakitori, noodles, and assorted plates like veal-liver sashimi. Though sake barrels and light boxes decorated with bamboo give the narrow, high-ceilinged space a serene vibe a world away from the noisy Japanese St. Marks dives (there’s also a small private room in the back), the prices are reasonable: $2 for two gelatinous hunks of beef tendon in a stock of octopus, egg, radish, and tofu (there are ten other varieties of oden stew, too), and $2 for a skewer of salted chicken hearts. The toro tartar, one of the priciest dishes at $13, is a tuna portion large enough to feed two, topped by a quail egg sitting in a nest of flying-fish eggs. They’re not serving cod sperm yet, but the manager says he’s considering it. Daniel MaurerAriyoshi, 806 Broadway, nr. 12th St., 212-388-1884.
The Underground Gourmet
Flatbush Farm Takes Haute Barnyard to the Next Level
76-78 St. Marks Ave., nr. Sixth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-622-3276
With the possible exception of the Bay Area, Brooklyn may be the world epicenter of so-called local, seasonal, and — in the prevailing menu-speak — “organic whenever possible” cooking. In the past, it’s been enough to cite farm sources (360, Franny’s) or host farmer dinners (Applewood). Now, Kings County Haute Barnyard restaurants are confusing matters by naming themselves as if they were, in fact, produce-purveying competition for the Park Slope Coop.
First came the Farm on Adderley, in Ditmas Park, and now there’s Flatbush Farm, a bar and restaurant in the old Bistro St. Mark’s space that started serving small plates over the summer and launched its dining-room menu late last month. Chef Eric Lind, late of Bayard’s, has the right rural connections: His former boss, chef Eberhard Müller, co-owns Satur Farms on the North Fork and supplies Lind with locally grown produce. Aside from a few artfully displayed farm implements and staid portraits, the long, high-ceilinged space is more urban chic than country quaint; paper napkins and juice glasses for wine are the most notable signs of the restaurant’s commitment to the Simple Life. But Lind’s menu lives up to its rustic promise with hearty dishes like spaetzle with mushroom ragout and lamb shoulder with bubble and squeak. One night’s pork goulash was a tough, chewy disappointment, but the special salmon-cake appetizer was a textural triumph, moist and meaty over a bed of leeks and grainy mustard. One of those and a Pinkus Organic Ur Pils in the Indian-summer-worthy garden is about as bucolic as Brooklyn gets.
— Rob Patronite and Robin RaisfeldRead Adam Platt’s Haute Barnyard top ten.