Through his much-loved spot Seersucker, and the fried-chicken sandwich destination Wilma Jean, Rob Newton has established himself as one of New York’s foremost southern chefs. His restaurants are the kind of small-ish neighborhood places that help define a certain segment of the contemporary Brooklyn dining scene. And now, the chef’s stage is bigger than ever with Black Walnut in Downtown Brooklyn’s Hilton Brooklyn, a 102-seat space that opens for breakfast and dinner tonight.
Newton went casual with Wilma Jean, but he sees the all-day Black Walnut as higher-end and an evolution of his cooking style. To that end, he’s pulling from a variety of influences, and in fact the chef has never been beholden to traditional southern cooking: His restaurant Nightingale 9 is informed by an obsession with Vietnamese cooking, and here he’ll freely incorporate Chinese and Japanese ingredients like Sichuan peppercorn (in pork confit), yuzu (seasoning a snack of crab and truffle), and milk bread (which comes with shaved ham). There’s also a Carolina fish muddle — a very old-school seafood and salt-pork dish — and other southern touches like country ham and smoked hocks. Check out the menus, and a few dishes:
Black Walnut, 140 Schermerhorn St., nr. Smith St.; 929-337-1280