I like to travel to eat, whether it’s the west coast, the south, New York, Boston or points north. Living in Connecticut is weird due to the fact that you can travel to Fairfield county for a whole different set of options than you would normally have in central Connecticut, but if you venture just another half hour or so you are smack dab in one of America’s Culinary Meccas. When I go eat in New York I try to find some obscure new shit that is gaining popularity but is also recommended to me. Brooklyn seems to have become a sort of restaurant Petri dish over the last 5 years or so. On any given day you can walk through one of Brooklyn’s many neighborhoods and see a spot opening or closing, this is something that a landlocked Hartford resident yearns for. A few weeks ago I traveled to a small open aired kitchen restaurant that was recommended to me based off of the neighborhood I was staying in. Now if there are any Brooklyn residents reading this, please feel free to chime in. Battersby is located at 255 Smith St. Now there is a discrepancy as to what neighborhood it is in due to the fact that it is perfectly in the center of four. Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Boerum Hill. Does it matter? Fuck no, but I do like to be correct! Either way Battersby was super charming and it was a damn good meal, I’d like to talk about the meal now. *Disclaimer* This was an excellent meal and it definitely warrants being featured and written about. Battersby has a small regular menu but the Chefs do two different “spontaneous” tasting menus, five course or seven. I got a seven-course menu that was filled in with small tasting bites that were not part of the actual courses. Everything you’re about to view and read about was committed to memory with a little help from our server. Something like a spontaneous tasting menu is awesome to me ands I feel like not enough restaurants are doing this. I stole the following right off the Battersby website because it gives an awesome backstory of both chefs' history.
Head chefs and co-owners Walker Stern and Joe Ogrodnek developed a friendship while honing their culinary skills as students at the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating in 2002, both worked at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and individually went on to have distinguished careers at some of New York City’s best restaurants. Walker served as Chef de Cuisine at The Vanderbilt, and has also cooked at Blue Hill and 81. Joe was previously the executive chef at Anella, Sous Chef at Gramercy Tavern, and has also cooked at Union Square Cafe and Tabla. Since opening its doors in 2011, Battersby—which is named after the street in Philadelphia where Joe grew up—has prized itself on sophisticated, yet thoughtful dishes, expert technique, and a unique and welcoming environment. Following the critical acclaim and neighborhood following of Battersby, Joe and Walker opened their second restaurant Dover on Court Street in November of 2013.
The butternut squash was the opener; it was a small bowl, just a little bigger than a shot glass. I’m not a huge fan of butternut soup, but this was excellent. Heirloom vegetables were insanely tasty, few different types of potatoes, beets and carrots in it if I can recall correctly. The broth that it was served in was vegetable based yet frothy at the same time, super clean dish. Rounding out the first wave of plates was the crab dashi, I’m thinking peekytoe. Dashi is a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisines. Dashi forms the base for miso soup, clear broth, noodle broth, and many kinds of simmering liquid. This was tasty, could have been a little more crab in the bottom but it made for a little meaty treasure one I sucked all the broth away.
These scallops were small but perfectly cooked; I would actually prefer 5 small scallops as compared to one or two big diver scallops. Roe with Fennel-cucumber broth is a taste combination my mouth has not encountered yet and I loved it, very CLEAN, that was a reoccurring theme throughout the meal. Now, I’ll eat salmon, but I’m not a huge fan of it. It takes certain cooking techniques to bring out the natural buttery taste in the fish. THIS was fresh salmon, almost a perfect cube, the size of a golf ball, if balls were square, you get it. Served with beluga lentils which is a safe and predictable fish pairing, it was ok. This duck was rare with a crisp skin! I like that. Duck meat is so weird to me because it is so steak-like, yet it comes from a bird. Confit, braised, roast, what have you, I love duck every way. Before I move onto dessert I would just like to point out that I was very distracted by this meal. On TWO separate occasions I forgot to take pics before ripping into the food like a horny caveman of the future, I see you Paul. The scallop dish was captured in the kitchen because chef Walker allowed me to grab a pic of someone else’s dish and one was completely lost. An agnolotti dish that the chef prepared special and made for no one else. Burrata and black winter truffle, I’ll be kicking myself for a long time for that one.
Finally dessert came; to start and completely cleanse the palate was a lemon sorbet with added apple celery juice. This mixture of flavors was so refreshing and tart at the same time, totally confused my buds. Apple Gallette for real dessert, if you ask me dessert could have been a little more interesting and sexy but it was a classic, and a damn good one, I actually had two.
I hereby give Battersby....
Join me next week when I make my way to the famed Hoo Doo Barbecue in Ridgefield CT!!!