Once again, Thanksgiving is upon us. It seems to happen this way every year. We know the holidays are coming. Summer fades into the fullness of fall, day after day. We find ourselves shocked by glimpses of bright leaves on trees idling down for winter, even though it’s happening all around us for weeks on end. And then, suddenly, they’re here. The holidays.
Thanksgiving is our holiest of non-holy holidays – the only day of the year on which all Americans, regardless of provenance, faith, class, politics or favorite kind of music, perform the same rite – the rite of an indulgent feast, steeped in a stew of traditions that each of us, with our own tribes, riff on across the generations, packing them with personal memories, making them our own.
In honor of the great day, we present our Brooklyn Thanksgiving Potluck. Why not relax, close your eyes, and join us for this imaginary feast? Just you, your favorite crew, and some of our favorite Brooklyn chefs, sharing some of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes and the stories behind them. And to ease that holiday family tension – wine and beer picks too!
Eastern District is a cheese and beer shop in Greenpoint, owned by Beth Lewand and Chris Gray. Beth curates the cheese case, and Chris manages the beer. Both focus primarily on regional goods, but always make room for critical imports. They make some mean sandwiches too. Beth and Chris get our Thanksgiving Potluck started off in style, with their take on Oysters Rockefeller.
Nicole Centeno & Brian Chaszar of Greenpoint-based Sea Bean Goods make small batches of soup using fresh ingredients sourced directly from local farmers at Brooklyn Greenmarkets. Their soups are available at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Flea (in winter), as well as for home delivery, and they’re are on the menu at Paulie Gee’s and Eastern District. For our Thanksgiving Potluck, Nicole and Brian serve up a Creamy Celery Root Soup.
Jacques Gautier, chef and owner of Park Slope’s Palo Santo, has a dedicated following. Fans crave his Latin-American and Caribbean-inspired cuisine, crafted with meticulously-sourced local meats, seafood shipped directly from fishermen, and veggies, herbs and rabbits from his rooftop garden. For our Potluck feast, Chef Jacques takes on the turkey his way, with heritage-breed bird and a Mexican-inspired twist…and doubles down with a side.
Scott Bridi of Brooklyn Cured takes inspiration from the culinary traditions of New York City — Italian-American pork stores, the Lower East Side deli, the French charcuterie, and the German beer garden. All his products are handmade with the highest quality local meats. Scott was initiated into the art of charcuterie at Gramercy Tavern, before taking his skills to Marlow & Daughters, then striking out on his own with Brooklyn Cured. Scott, a born-n-bred Brooklynite from a big Italian family, brings his Grandma’s stuffing to the Potluck table.
Noah Bernamoff of Boerum Hill’s Mile End needs no introduction. His Brooklyn take on Montreal Jewish Delicatessen and smoked meats have garnered rave reviews and devotees citywide. For our Thanksgiving Potluck, Noah serves up one of his favorite Thanksgiving sides – Brussels Sprouts with Candied Walnuts and Green Apple.
Evan Hanczor is the chef at Williamsburg’s Egg, a restaurant renowned for its Southern-inspired fare and its use of truly farm-fresh ingredients. The restaurant owns Goatfell Farm, a small farm in the Hudson Valley, which supplies almost all of its produce. For the potluck, Chef Evan shares one of his family’s favorites – Brussels Sprouts with Country Ham and Apples.
The Italian-inspired Brucie has become a sensation in Cobble Hill, delighting the ‘hood with its creative, ever-changing menu and dedication to locally-grown ingredients. For our Thanksgiving feast, chef and owner Zahra Tangorra offers up her original seasonal spin on an old-school classic — Panzanella.
Do or Dine’s original (and elevated) take on ‘fine diving’ has generated quite a buzz since opening this summer. The Bed-Stuy restaurant, opened by a crew of veterans of The Modern, churns out well-executed plates with brash and often chuckle-inducing attitude. Pablum Director (ie. co-head chef) Justin Warner brings us his Do or Dine-ized take on one of his childhood faves – Baked Apples with Marshmallows.
At Purple Kale Kitchenworks, chef Ronna Welsh puts an innovative spin on cooking classes. Rather than focusing on recipes, she teaches a way of approaching cooking that allows home cooks to be more creative and reduce waste while serving up a higher-level of food much more easily (and quickly) than one might expect. Her method is inspired by the restaurant discipline of mise en scene. For our Thanksgiving Potluck, Ronna shares her mom’s Walnut Sour Cream Apple Pie.
Colonie is killing it, bringing friendly but elevated bistro fare to Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood notorious only for its dearth of dining options. Executive Chef Brad McDonald is a veteran of some of the city’s (and the planet’s) finest kitchens, including Ducasse, Per Se, and Copenhagen’s Noma. For Thanksgiving, he brings us his dad’s pecan pie .
Court Street Grocers, opened just over a year ago in Carroll Gardens by two art school buddies turned food fanatics, is a neighborhood favorite for many reasons, but it’s their sandwiches that have won them accolades. Owners Matt Ross and Eric Finkelstein have a knack for re-engineering classic sandwiches – ones we all remember from way back when – in a way that respects those memories, but subtly takes the end result to new heights. Here’s their take on one of the most important elements of the Thanksgiving feast – the Leftover Sandwich.
With so much focus on the food, and so many dishes hitting the table during the Thanksgiving feast, what to do about wine? We asked the pros at a few of our favorite wine shops – Red Hook’s Dry Dock Wine + Spirits, and Williamsburg’s natural and biodynamic-focused Vine Wine and The Natural Wine Company – for their holiday selections.
With a rotating selection of fourteen local and global craft beers on tap, hundreds of bottled varieties in the case, and a homemade mad-scientist contraption that fills growlers using a counter-pressure system that keeps the beer notably fresher than alternative pouring methods, Park Slope’s Bierkraft could be called the mothership of the craft beer renaissance in Brooklyn. Bierkraft cellar manager Matt Barclay has turned us on to more great beers than we can count. Here, he shares his Thanksgiving picks.
We hope you enjoy this imaginary feast, and hope you find some inspiration in these recipes. And we sincerely wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.
And for you true gluttons out there, feel free to gorge on last year’s Thanksgiving Potluck as well.