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New Brooklyn Cuisine


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Although this topic is often discussed here, there isn't a separate thread for it.   As I contemplate trying to have dinnner at Brooklyn Star -- even though chances are I will have to go back to Ma

Well, the great thing about Brooklyn is that it's a far better place to live than Manhattan. And now we don't have to commute to Manhattan in order to eat food that isn't red sauce Italian or pink ta

Put those goal posts back.     I am not talking about bars which are good, not that good, and bad. I am talking about bars with extensive beer lists*, even if the bar is a dump. I have a dol

To close, I think the proponents of the existence of a New Brooklyn Cuisine are making a fairly modest claim. You, Orik, are blowing that claim up way beyond what its proponents contend -- and then arguing that your inflated version of the claim is incorrect. Well, yeah.

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I'm not saying it's unique to Brooklyn. I'm saying it's characteristic of Brooklyn. All these restaurants, having the same set of features, are there. They're not fiction.

I don't believe in Brooklyn. As far as I can tell, it's just a myth.

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To close, I think the proponents of the existence of a New Brooklyn Cuisine are making a fairly modest claim. You, Orik, are blowing that claim up way beyond what its proponents contend -- and then arguing that your inflated version of the claim is incorrect. Well, yeah.

 

But Orik may be wrong on the blown up claim as well. Take Orik's claim that Brooklyn "isn't an early adopter". Okay, so who is? Let's run down the list of cities I'm familiar with:

 

DC - at least until 2007 there weren't many (any?) NBC style restaurants. At that point, Columbia Heights was only starting to become Columbia Heights. The explicit point of reference for the people in DC at the time was NYC. The city just got its first faux speakeasy last year! Can we call Cashion's NBC? It wouldn't be out of place in Brooklyn, but it's really more of an old-guard French bistro. I'm sure there are plenty of NBC restaurants on U-Street and Columbia Heights now. But this is four or five years (at least) after theses places started to open in Brooklyn.

 

Boston - Again, Craigie on Main doesn't really qualify. Hungy Mother? Again, not really, but okay, it's less than a year old and in Cambridge. Probably the best example of an NBC style restaurant I can think of is the Butcher's Block which is Barbara Lynch's interpretation of an NBC restaurant, in house charcuterie and all. I'm probably missing something, but the point is, there's not much comparable. Let's cross the boarder.

 

Toronto- Black Hoof, Foxley and the other West Queen West/Ossington/Parkdale restaurants are very, very NBC. Problem is that none of these places are older than even the NYMag article about NBC cuisine. Again, NBC style restaurants, misinterpreted mind you, are an explicit point of reference in the coverage of these restaurants. How about if we move away from the English speaking world.

 

Montreal - Okay, so Joe Beef, Pied de Cochon, and some others predate many of the NBC restaurants. Pied de Cochon may be something different, but Joe Beef sits pretty comfortably with the NBC restaurants. Montreal went through an NBC-style movement during the early part of the decade, but the style of many of the restaurants was decidedly different - it was very Quebecified (I'm not going to try and define that here). Unsurprisingly, the people running Mile End lived in Montreal during this period.

 

So where to look for the early adopters? Philly? San Francisco? LA? Are the bistronomiques in Paris an appropriate comparison? Doubtful, but I haven't been. The gastropubs in London? Again, doubtful, but I haven't been. Even still, do we think that the owners of Marlow & Sons were thinking about L'Ami Louis? The point is, that it's very difficult to find another city where a group of restaurants sharing this particular ethos sprung up at a time predating the early NBC joints.

 

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I don't have a strong feeling about where this all started, but the glossy magazines I throw away reflect at the very least a national trend.

 

In particular, I just read a really surprisingly savvy little piece in Travel & Leisure, believe it or not, which convincingly identifies a general faux retro

trend, and appears to be discussing Brooklyn even when it's not.* It may be that NBC - which is indeed not a figment of Sneak's imagination - is an instantiation of a broader Zeitgest.

 

Check out the list which comes with it too.

 

*

I’ll wager you two bits your bartender’s wearing muttonchops and a waistcoat. If not you should ask for your money back, order your Sazerac elsewhere...

Meanwhile, every indie musician has stolen his look from the cover of the Band’s first album. The hills are alive with the corduroy tones of Beard Rock.

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Wrong continent, Adrian.

 

Sneak - in a 2006 article, there is quite an explicit claim about the origins:

 

The New Brooklyn Cuisine (or NBC) restaurant is a subspecies of the New American restaurant, and probably originated in Boerum Hill or Park Slope

 

What is the modest claim being made, the one I'm supposedly inflating?

 

eta: of course it's impossible to find a more ludicrous claim than the one made above - think about the New American Restaurant of Gotham Bar, Gramercy Tavern, Savoy before it suddenly became all about head cheese and pig tails - can you imagine anything more different from that than Marlow & Sons?

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I don't have a strong feeling about where this all started, but the glossy magazines I throw away reflect at the very least a national trend.

 

In particular, I just read a really surprisingly savvy little piece in Travel & Leisure, believe it or not, which convincingly identifies a general faux retro

trend, and appears to be discussing Brooklyn even when it's not.* It may be that NBC - which is indeed not a figment of Sneak's imagination - is an instantiation of a broader Zeitgest.

 

Check out the list which comes with it too.

 

*

I’ll wager you two bits your bartender’s wearing muttonchops and a waistcoat. If not you should ask for your money back, order your Sazerac elsewhere...

Meanwhile, every indie musician has stolen his look from the cover of the Band’s first album. The hills are alive with the corduroy tones of Beard Rock.

 

How can you trust that article? My guess is that he was referring to the album cover of the 2nd album "The Band", not "Big Pink" (although the back of BP had a picture of the group, didnt it?).

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I don't have a strong feeling about where this all started, but the glossy magazines I throw away reflect at the very least a national trend.

 

In particular, I just read a really surprisingly savvy little piece in Travel & Leisure, believe it or not, which convincingly identifies a general faux retro

trend, and appears to be discussing Brooklyn even when it's not.* It may be that NBC - which is indeed not a figment of Sneak's imagination - is an instantiation of a broader Zeitgest.

 

Check out the list which comes with it too.

 

*

I’ll wager you two bits your bartender’s wearing muttonchops and a waistcoat. If not you should ask for your money back, order your Sazerac elsewhere...

Meanwhile, every indie musician has stolen his look from the cover of the Band’s first album. The hills are alive with the corduroy tones of Beard Rock.

 

Although, interestingly (or not), the faux retro part was a late addition to the NBC package. The first NBC restaurants were more Bobo moms-and-pops. There's nothing really faux retro about Franny's or The Good Fork. I think the retro part got inserted when NBC restaurants started popping up in Williamsburg: Marlowe & Sons' contribution to the genre.

 

Of course I agree with you that this style is reflective of the zeitgeist in general.

 

(And of course I agree with Steve that they meant the second Band album.)

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Another thought:

 

I think the reason NBC is NBC is because just about all the notable restaurants that have opened in Brooklyn in the last decade or so are related to the genre. So it's not that the genre is unique to Brooklyn, but that it's predominant there.

 

Look at the East Village. The Redhead could almost be an NBC restaurant. So, in a way, could Knife + Fork. But in the East Village, they're just idiosyncratic individual places, not examples of a style that dominates the area.

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Wrong continent, Adrian.

 

Sneak - in a 2006 article, there is quite an explicit claim about the origins:

 

The New Brooklyn Cuisine (or NBC) restaurant is a subspecies of the New American restaurant, and probably originated in Boerum Hill or Park Slope

 

What is the modest claim being made, the one I'm supposedly inflating?

 

eta: of course it's impossible to find a more ludicrous claim than the one made above - think about the New American Restaurant of Gotham Bar, Gramercy Tavern, Savoy before it suddenly became all about head cheese and pig tails - can you imagine anything more different from that than Marlow & Sons?

 

Firsty, if that 2006 article was the one in New York, of course everything New York writes includes exaggerated bullshit.

 

Then, I think you have to look at the development of the style. As I said above, the beard-rock part of NBC is a fairly recent addition. The initial NBC consisted of a bunch of restaurants opened mainly by married (or living together) couples (since at that pre-hipster time "the new" Brooklyn was a place people moved when they needed more space after they got married), many of whom met while working at Savoy, serving food heavily influenced by Savoy's purported philosophy regarding procurement of local and seasonal ingredients. Is The Grocery really anything other than a homier, more modest version of Savoy?

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There's nothing really faux retro about Franny's or The Good Fork.

 

Well, I guess some of the fixtures at the The Good Fork are faux retro. Certainly exposed brick, tin ceilings, and old-style fixtures are a big part of NBC interiors. I guess you'd have to say that all the NBC places are faux retro in the same way that all of Brownstone Brooklyn is faux retro. I mean, a big part of why people move there is how "charming" all the old buildings are.

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