November 17, 2014

HB Eats: Le Fond, Brooklyn

Le Fond in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a culinary dream come true for Chef Jake Eberle and I’m sure many of his diners, including me.  I’ve been looking forward to Chef Jake opening a restaurant since the first time I sampled his delicious food back in 2008 (my pre-blogging days!).  Since then I’ve followed him and his exciting take on food to great restaurants such as The Lamb’s Club.   I’m so thrilled that Jake finally got the opportunity to put his unique touch on French cuisine and create an inviting space to partake in the feast.

Le Fond’s setup is the perfect mash up of high-end dining meets rustic comfort.  Every inch exudes thoughtfulness and handcrafted detail, from the wooden serving tables built by Jake’s father to the ceramic bread plates and paintings made by local artists. But when you visit, don’t forget about all of the love put in the food.   

I wanted to order every appetizer on the menu, but narrowed my selection to the artic char, the foie gras terrine and the item that made my eyes light up upon viewing the menu:  the octopus.  After all, Chef Eberle was the first person who introduced me to the wonderful world of octopus and I haven’t looked back since.   The octopus was extremely beautiful and flavorful.  I could have eaten multiple dishes of this delicate treat.  I felt the same about the velvety smooth terrine, which spread amazingly on the accompanying toast.  The artic char is smoked in house, which was a perfect complement in the trio of apps.

My entrée selection was a bit trickier, because I was in the mood for chicken but I was worried that it wouldn’t be exciting enough, given the other great options.  Chef Jake assured me the chicken was a wonderful choice.  He was right, the chicken was perfectly moist throughout and topped with a crispy skin.  I was also impressed by the fun table-side pouring of chicken jus on my plate.  My dining companions enjoyed the Cassoulet and the Wild Striped Bass and raved about how excellent they were as well.

For dessert I knew exactly what to order from the previous photos that I had been drooling over on social media for weeks-- the maple grade ‘A’ beignets.  These little bites of heaven were in fierce competition for top dessert with the almond cake that tasted like the best Madeline cookie that I’ve ever had.  Overall, Chef Jake’s comfy play on French food went far beyond my high expectations.  Thanks for a great meal!  I’m so glad I now have another delicious reason to visit Brooklyn.  And so do you!

January 26, 2014

HB Eats: Toby's Public House - Brooklyn

Cozy. Friendly. Delicious… that’s Toby’s Public House in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  My good friend first introduced me to Toby’s when she had the pleasure of living just a stone’s throw from this awesome brick oven pizzeria and bar.  Years later when she sadly left New York for DC, her goodbye dinner was at Toby’s.  Now whenever she comes back to visit, a ceremonial stop to Toby’s is always on the itinerary.  Every time I eat at Toby’s the food seems to gets better and better.  On this recent trip, Toby’s was packed with happy patrons.  We chose to eat at the bar to avoid an unusually long table wait caused by the NFL playoffs.  This turned out to be an awesome decision thanks to the very nice bartender Mike, who doubled as our waiter. 

First we ordered a plate of Toby’s decadent mushroom ravioli.  It was served straight from the brick oven in a seasoned cast iron pan and topped with a luscious creamy black truffle sauce.  The dish was so good (and we were so hungry) that I didn’t take time to snap a pic.  I know it’s hard to believe!  Trust me, they looked and tasted fabulous and you should order them when you go!

After the ravioli, we had a tough time choosing which pizza to order since every pie on the menu sounded amazing.  My pick, and favorite, was the Proscuitto Di Parma with baby arugula, parmigiano reggiono, and olive oil.  We also had the Del Mac with sweet italian sausage and red onions, and the Quattro Stagioni with parma cotto ham, crimini mushroom, artichoke hearts, and olives.   All three thin crust pizzas were perfectly balanced and flavorful.  That was the first time that I remember actually having ham on pizza, and it was surprisingly tasty.

Since there is always room for dessert, I also shared a slice of light and fluffy key lime pie.  A perfect end to a great meal.

During my time at the bar I learned from Mike that Toby’s has a special beer club for discounts and specials.  You even get your own mug that hangs above the bar.  And if you can’t make it to Brooklyn, Toby’s has a second newer location in Little Italy.   I’ve heard that the pizza there is equally as delicious, so I can’t wait to try it one day soon!