The Brooklyn restaurant scene doesn’t boast any Iron Chefs or Food Network stars — yet. Right now there are a ton of talented young chefs and restauranteurs opening new places in the borough’s northern reaches, as well as evidence of a coming Manhattan invasion. Here’s all the rumors and news circulating through area restaurants, from our ears at the kitchen doors to yours.
Pies n Thighs
Food bloggers have been on PnT watch since early summer, but the road to fried green tomatoes and red velvet cake was delayed by a paperwork setback in early August. As part of their Tenant Protection Plan, the Department of Buildings is now requiring all NYC businesses that open after July 1, 2008 to file a form that proves that no tenants were displaced in the process. The ladies behind all that Southern fried goodness have requested an expedited hearing for their now-completed paperwork (the 166 South 4th St. storefront had been empty for several years before PnT set their sights on it). A 2008 opening is still the target, likely in December. Yup, that’s what expedited means with the DOB. The good news is that the meat, as well as the space, is getting an upgrade. Co-owner Carolyn Bane told us that PnT plans to serve organic chicken and grass-fed ground beef when they do open.
When Jean Adamson left her post as executive chef at Freemans, she set out to open her own place in her own neighborhood, Vinegar Hill. The restaurant will boast a wood-fired hearth where she’ll cook local, grassfed meats from Fleisher’s. Adamson plans to open later this fall; no word yet on whether they’ll be open for lunch, Dumbo-ites.
Roebling Tea Room II
Adamson’s pal and fellow Vinegar Hill resident, Dennis Spina, has a new Williamsburg spot on the burner. As the executive chef at Roebling Tea Room, Spina transformed the Willaimsburg eatery from a semi-decent breakfast joint with great teas to a serious food destination with not-to-be-missed nightly specials and a sweet wine list. Spina hopes to open the still un-named new place early next year.
Bouchon Bakery Brooklyn
When Per Se Chef Thomas Keller dined at Marlow and Sons a couple weeks ago, it wasn’t just for the housemade pork rillons. Keller may be checking out the Williamsburg food scene as a potential site for the next Bouchon Bakery.
Balthazar alum Danny Minch is opening a Blue Ribbon-style, casual fine dining restaurant in the space across from Clem’s. Minch recruited his chef from Clinton Street Baking Company, and rumor has it that Walter Foods, named after his bulldog Walter, a neighborhood fixture, will offer a slice of birthday cake on the dessert menu each evening. Mmmmm, birthday cake.
BrightSide, the Greenpoint restaurant backed by Heath Ledger, and now his estate, doesn’t seem to be reaping the benefits of the late star’s phenomenal Dark Knight success. Craig Rivard, the original chef to sign on to the project, recently walked after his salary was renegotiated for thousands less. Heath’s dad also came up with a new name: Five Leaves.