Monday, January 12, 2009

Right around the corner...

It is dangerous to have a restaurant close to one's home.  We have several.  As Karina and I have talked about cutting out of Brooklyn, we often run into some troubled moments.  She inevitably mentions the restaurants we won't be able to go to anymore, and how she likes to be able to do that!  I tell her we will likely go out less and less as we (grow up) get married, have kids, etc.  

I think it will be ok, we will move up into the mountains of northern New England, have some kids, do some (very) small scale farming, and be very, very happy.  But Buttermilk Channel isn't going to make that transition any easier.

On the corner of our block, around september, construction began on the storefront vacated by Cafe Scaramouche in mid '07.  On several occasions the grinding of the jackhammer at 8AM was a foil to my attempts at sleep.  We lost parking spots and gained new sidewalk; all the while with growing anticipation.  Anytime a store opens curiosity and excitement are stoked.  

The boards came down and windows went up, allowing us covetous glances inside at the high bar and tables that began to appear.  Finally we began seeing those who would be the purveyors of the restaurant.  Watching a tasting as we walked home one night Karina and I said to each other, for the first time of many, "this is going to be dangerous".  They were young, and the decor was simple and homey.  Everything about it screamed New American and Slow Food

Finally on Tuesday the 25th of November, Buttermilk Channel opened up.  We were expecting to go the following night, but could not resist a change of plans and walked in around 7.  The staff was friendly, but not overbearing, and we took our seats at the large community style table in the middle of the floor.  

The place seats somewhere around 50, with about 6 or 7 seats at the Bar, 10-12 at the big table and another 40 or so at 2 tops (which can be combined into 4 and 6 and whatever...).  

After looking at the Menus we knew our doom was sealed.  They had Mozzarella and peppers from Caputo's and Esposito's, the two very fine italian deli's in the neighborhood; they had a Lamb special for tuesday nights, with lamb from Jamison Farm a nice certified humane outfit in western PA; they had some terrific east coast Oysters, which made me very happy; and for Karina, a full Vegetarian Menu.  Chef Ryan Angulo has done a terrific job of putting together a menu that is cohesive, but can also serve varying palettes (and ethical deviants like myself and Karina).  It is also almost fully stocked with seasonal and local (northeast, at least) foods.

I ordered some oysters and the lamb, and Karina ordered Johnny Cakes off the veggie menu.  They also brought out some delicious sweet and savory popovers as a starter.  The food was really good, not too complicated, but with interesting combinations.  The anchovy olive butter served with lamb and cauliflower made for a spry and tasty dish; and Karina's mini pancakes came with some delicious mushrooms and garlic, and (very) fresh slaw.  

We finished off the meal with some terrific Oatmeal Cookies.  

Since that visit we have been back several times.  We have made a bit of a ritual of going there on thursday nights after the Office, for fries, wine, and the absolutely outrageous Apple Cider Donuts.  Service is excellent.  The owner and manager Doug Crowell is devoted and obviously knows the ins and outs of the business.  Additionally he is supportive of his waitstaff, a quality few managers possess.   

Last night I finally tried the namesake dish, the Buttermilk Fried Chicken.  It was fantastic.  The winter vegetable slaw is really terrific, and for a twist, the dish comes with warm waffles and a maple syrup concoction (hey Ryan, what's in that shit??).  All together the dish is the most comforting of comfort foods.  Who doesn't love chicken and waffles? 
Karina had the Kale and Endive salad, which comes with a lovely (on the hard end of) soft boiled egg split in half sitting atop the salad luxuriously.  It was also delicious, her favorite dish so far (i think).  

In all our visits so far, the place has been generally crowded, and the service has been, without exception, very smooth and very clean.  The servers are warm and helpful, but not annoying and overly friendly.  They don't bother you with extended conversation and up-selling techniques.  They largely allow you to do what you came there to do, enjoy the food.  

I don't know how we are going to get married with this place so close.  We have to figure a way to limit our visits to a reasonable once/month, or something.  Otherwise there just won't be any money left.

Eat dangerous.

1 comment:

Karina said...

You forgot about the most important root beer floats!!! They are delicious AND they use Blue Marble Ice Cream (which is a local ice cream joint on Atlantic. The most amazing ice cream I've ever tasted, and is made with Natural By Nature (grass-fed cows).

The johnny cakes with the mushrooms were delicious, but I attempt to try something new everytime I'm there. The endive and kale salad was divine-- I thoroughly enjoyed the dressing and the crutons. The sweet potato croquets were awesome and of course the fries are always a favorite of mine (anywhere I go), but the aioli dipping sauce that comes with it is perfection!

We are thinking about having our rehersal dinner there... but until then, we go there morelike once every 1 or 2 weeks!