It’s been twelve years since kosher eatery Ratner’s Restaurant closed on the Lower East Side, where it presided for nearly a century. The original Ratner’s is still lamented among New York’s most missed restaurants, with old-school LES-ers fond of reminiscing about their legendary potato pancakes and blintzes. The site where Ratner’s once stood will soon be home to–what else?–glassy new condos, but a small taste of the original can now be found in Brooklyn.
Theo Peck’s grandfather was the owner of Ratner’s, and Peck grew up hanging out among the lox cases and deli counters of the famed eatery, so he brings a little of that sensibility to his eponymous new food store Peck’s, which opened in Clinton Hill this fall and marked a grand opening last week, along with the debut of Peck’s new prepared food options.
No one will confuse Peck’s for a Kosher LES original–in fact, with its sleek, white subway tile interior, it might look more at home in a glassy Manhattan condo than on Myrtle Avenue. In truth, the new Peck’s is more of a New Brooklyn gourmet food shop in the mold of Green Grape Provisions in Fort Greene or BKLYN Larder in Prospect Heights. There’s La Colombe coffee, fully-stocked charcuterie and cheese cases, and fresh-baked treats like olive oil polenta cake and buttermilk-cranberry muffins.
But it’s Peck’s more old-school heritage that sets it apart, with classic Ashkenazi items like like gooey, pull-apart coconut macaroons and a delicious chopped liver–free of any fusion pretension or New Brooklyn updates, its savory, decidedly liver-y taste would make your Jewish grandma proud, but the light, almost fluffy consistency makes it a little more accessible to the offal-averse. There are sour pickles on hand from local purveyors Gefilteria, and a prepared foods lineup from chef Lupin Mindlin (of the Good Fork and Grand Electrica) that includes options like sweet and sour beets with crispy chicken skin, and matzo ball soup with confit chicken, carrots, egg noodles and dill.
There are also rotisserie roast chickens available most nights and plenty of more low-key items on the salad, sides and sandwiches list. This isn’t the new spot to get your classic deli sandwich fix, but with new twists on old favorites on the rotating menu, like braised brisket with kimchi and kewpie mayo on challah, the sandwich options are solid, if not traditional. If that’s not enough, Peck’s has a few tap beer lines installed and plans to add growlers to go and pints to stay shortly, as well as a back garden once warm weather arrives. It might not be LES circa 1905, but count Peck’s as a solid addition to Brooklyn in 2014.
455A Myrtle Ave., between Washington and Waverly, facebook.com/pecksbrooklyn
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