The New York Times reviewed Smith Street’s high-flying Battersby this week, and as a result securing a seat for a journey through the tiny restaurant’s spontaneous tasting menu – one of the best-kept secrets of the borough’s dining scene, until now – probably just got a lot harder.
After the required ‘new Brooklyn’ setup, reviewer Ligaya Mishan cuts to the chase: “…the food at Battersby is thoughtful, poised, occasionally revelatory.”
She likes the lamb…
“Behold the lamb, presented three ways as part of a tasting menu: shoulder, seared and carmine, tasting of pure animal; shank, slow-braised into soft focus; and rib, pomegranate-glazed, with sweet and sour in a dead heat. This is a biography of lamb, intimate in its details. You sense that the person who cooked it broke down the animal himself. You do not coo over such a plate; you bow your head, in grace.”
… the famous kale salad (picked by New York mag as the Best Salad of 2012, and aptly described as ‘hot and cold, crispy and crunchy, sweet and sour with a bit of funk.’), and the octopus and chorizo – Battersby’s version of surf n’ turf.
“But spaghetti with sea urchin is a mirage, the creature’s glorious brine lost in the muddy broth.”
[Hold on. Editor’s note: Full disclosure – I found this knuckle-rap baffling. Since experiencing the uni/spaghetti thing several months ago, the dish’s delicate, sea-kissed luxuriousness has been the subject of far too many daydreams. Not a mirage.]
“Battersby is grown-up, even earnest. This is fine dining in hipster’s clothing: the new new Brooklyn, perhaps.”
And the reaction:
Want more? Here’s our conversation with co-chefs Joseph Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, covering everything from their way of doing food, to the disparate paths that led them through some of the city’s sleekest kitchens before joining forces, to cook together, in a tiny kitchen on Smith Street. - Inside the Battersby Box