After a summer of impressive newcomers to Brooklyn’s restaurant scene — The General Greene, James — No. 7 in Fort Greene ups the ante with its casual-chic decor (designed by Matthew Maddy of Weather Up) and adventurous cooking (like soft-boiled, panko-crusted fried eggs with cold, slow-roasted pork). Chef Tyler Kord, a neighborhood local for eight years and the former sous chef at Jean-Georges’s Perry St., dished about his favorite Brooklyn eats and his own inspired menu.
Where do you like to eat out around here?
I’m a professional cook. I work 16 hours a day. So I never have time to go out and eat. But I like Happy Restaurant — the Chinese take-out on Clinton and Fulton. I’m a big chicken and broccoli fan. Their wonton soup is pretty good too.
Any local sit-down restaurants — fancy restaurants — you like?
You know Bonita on DeKalb? It’s gotten significantly fancier and I love it.
Have you checked out James or The General Greene?
I’ve eaten at both and I thought they were very nice. Both are trying to bring something comfortable but also elevate the level of technique and food in the neighborhood.
Think their buzz represents a sea change for Brooklyn?
I think the people that work at most of the nice restaurants in Manhattan tend to live around here, so I don’t think it’s the neighborhoods drastically changing, I think people are just starting to acknowledge that where they live is a viable place to do what they want to do. So of course Frank Bruni is paying attention.
A lot of Brooklyn restaurants emphasize their locally grown ingredients. Not No. 7. Is the locavore movement getting tired?
I don’t think that eating foods that are grown near you is ever going to be passÃ©. But I don’t want to pay so much for produce and meat that I have to charge exorbitant prices and alienate the neighborhood. So I’m all for as local as possible, until it becomes too expensive.
How do you define No. 7’s cooking?
I kind of just wrote the menu and cooked what I felt like, and it unintentionally veered toward Eastern Europe at one end and Asian/Korean at the other. I didn’t set out to open a Hungarian/Korean fusion restaurant — but I’m moving in that direction now.
How different is it from Perry St.?
We’re using really similar techniques, and I feel like our flavors are not incredibly different. It’s a lot more casual, cause we’re in Brooklyn. But it’s a similar idea — a lot of preparation to produce an ultimately simple and delicate kind of plating.
How did you come up with kimchi perogies?
I guess with everything I start with one element on the plate. I wanted to put a steak on the menu, and I wanted to marinate it like Korean barbecue, and then I wanted things that made sense with that. Perogies sounded like fun because they’re just mashed potatoes in a pasta dough, but with kimchi it just seemed really logical. If you have perogies in Poland they may have sauerkraut in them, and in my mind kimchi is a short walk away from sauerkraut. In the end they’re both pickled cabbage.
What’s your favorite dish?
The chicken fried steak sandwich that’s on the late-night menu. It’s totally killer.
You’re right next to a church. How’d you get a liquor license?
Our lawyer wears a gun on her ankle. I’m sure she has a license for it. I hope.
No. 7, 7 Greene Ave. at Fulton St. C to Lafayette, G to Fulton. Open Tue.-Sun. 6pm-2am. Restaurant 6:30 or so-midnight, bar 5pm-2 am. No phone. Full cocktail menu expected by this weekend. Garden to come either later this fall or next year.
Sent by Nicole. Photos by BB.