allswell

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Seared Scallops & Farro with Allswell Chef Nate Smith

Nate Smith is running late. I’m hovering near the bathroom at his gastropub Allswell on a weekday morning in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while Smith plans the day’s menu. The corner isn’t the worst place to wait – it’s outfitted with natural wood and patterned Wes Anderson-lite wallpaper. But I should have seen it coming. In a restaurant where the offerings change near-daily, menu meetings take top priority.

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We buy most of our produce directly from farmers at Union Square Greenmarket and through two small companies that work with family owned farms in upstate New York and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Our general sourcing philosophy is to buy from local, small, family-owned farms and organic wherever possible.

When the winter comes around we start craving citrus.  And persimmons.  And pomegranates.  And avocados.  And, well, you get the idea.   Just because they can’t be local doesn’t mean we’re going to sacrifice buying directly from small, organic farms.  And in comes California Family Farms - a produce company that goes directly to small farmers between San Diego and San Francisco and buys the best of the best.  Some farms are as small as a few acres and all of the farms are organic.  So for the winter months when local offerings are slim we’ll be featuring some gorgeous California produce.  We like knowing the name of the guy who grew our avocados (it’s david) and why our fuyu persimmons taste so phenomenal (it’s a method called dry-farming).  Even though we’re not talking to these farmers at the market, we still feel a strong connection to the produce we’re getting.  And that’s what it’s all about. 

ALLSWELL IN WILLIAMSBURG

Spotted Pig alumni, chef Nate Smith opened his new restaurant and bar in Williamsburg earlier this week inside the former digs of Raymund’s on Bedford Avenue. The new, brightly colored gastropub-style venue called Allswell serves “a bar-centric menu that should change dramatically throughout the week with dishes like shellfish stew, fried tripe, potted pork, and corned beef and cabbage pie,” reports Eater.com. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not savory bites, like anchovy fritters, will draw the A-list celebrity crowd that the Spotted Pig does, however, for now, it’s going to start out as a dinner-only spot, but will add lunch, brunch, and late-night service soon. Allswell that ends well, or in this case is just beginning.

Allswell over at Eater.com

Photo via Eater

RICOTTA

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat over med high heat.

1 Gallon Milk

2 Cup Heavy Cream

Occasionally, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan so milk does not settle and scald.

Heat milk until 150-160 degrees, or until you can leave your finger in it for only a second.

Once milk has heated, add

1/3 Cup plus 1 TBS White Distilled Vinegar,

Stirring only once to make sure the vinegar and milk are mixed through.

Leave mixture undisturbed. You will begin to see curds breaking off from the milk.

Once milk solids have fully separated, you will see a raft of curd form on top of a pool of clear-ish whey. This process will take place around 180 degrees.

Turn off heat.

With a slotted spoon carefully skim the newly formed curd, making sure to not scrape the bottom of the pan. There may be curds that have stuck to the bottom of the pot that will have a toasty flavor and scrambled egg texture - you don’t want to mix those into your ricotta.

Place the curds in a cauldron set over a bowl to drain out more whey. Discard what remains in the sauce pan.

If done correctly, you should have about 1 qt of ricotta.  Once cool, you can adjust the desired texture, by folding the whey back into the ricotta. If you prefer a drier ricotta discard the whey altogether.

Let cool, then enjoy!

We use ricotta in so many dishes - as stuffing for squash blossoms, in cakes, egg dishes at brunch or served with good olive oil and sea salt to accompany toasty bread. It’s truly wonderful to know how to make, you can add sugar or honey for sweetness, or sea salt, herbs and olive oil to keep it savory.

Hey, yo. Meet All’s Well! They are a band originating from Northeast Ohio.

Last night they won a competition and are advancing to the final round of the battle of the bands! Do me a solid and check them out. You won’t be sorry.

They can be found on Facebook here.
And they just started a Twitter as well, which is here

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It has been a pretty amazing birthday week long celebration. Started out with dinner with the fiance at El Almacen … we then had dinner the next evening at Allswell with my best man … and tonight my sister came to visit and we all met up with some of my other friends to have fantastic BBQ at Fette Sau, drinks at Spuyten Duyvil and desert at Momofuku Milk Bar. Tomorrow I’ll spend the day with the fiance at the Natural History Museum, and then dinner with another friend.

I feel extremely grateful to have had such a great couple of days and being able to spend it with some of my favorite people … and thank you so much llw for planning it all. =D

THE GLUTTON'S HIT LIST: Epilogue

Not sure about you, but the past week’s hit list made us hungry and we wanted to get right down to business, without a moment to waste.  Unfortunately, we targeted a couple of the ‘just opening’ establishments on the list, and they weren’t quite ready for us.  Here’s what we learned…

We stopped by SAUCE on Rivington & Allen one afternoon this week, but apparently it was one afternoon too early.  We entered the place about an hour before it opened for dinner, only to find that it was closed.  Owner, Frank Prisinzano, greeted us personally amidst the chaos of a new establishment trying to find its rhythm, and kindly explained that they were only open for dinner during their first week, but that they were about a day away from unveiling lunch service and the retail butcher counter.  Nevertheless, the glass case featured a cornucopia of carnivorous loveliness, and the best part is that the butchers can be observed through the plate glass window on Rivington Street as they manhandle massive cow and boar carcasses in preparation for public consumption, as exemplified in the beautiful vision below.  Vegetarians might want to stick to the south side of the street when strolling down Rivington from hereon in.  Sadly, we walked away from SAUCE empty handed this time, but we’ll be back, along with our appetite.

(The butchers at newly opened SAUCE in full view of Rivington Street passersby)

Last night, after jamming out at BROOKLYN BOWL with STEVE KIMOCK and special guests, WALLY INGRAM, BERNIE WORRELL and BOBBY VEGA, followed by the rock and roll antics of 30 piece circus punk marching band, MUCCA PAZZA, we strolled by the very new, ALLSWELL on Bedford and N. 10th Street to see what was happening in the highly anticipated gastropub.  It was lively inside well after midnight, but unfortunately the place was closed for a private party.  Rather than crash the party during opening week (and truthfully, more food and drink was not needed at that point of the night, even for THE GLUTTON), we just snapped a photo from outside, mainly with the intention of reading the specials on the blackboard.  Here is what we found:

(Through the looking glass at ALLSWELL)

Seems like the kids are having a fun time, but what is that we see on the menu?  If our eyes aren’t deceiving us, it says “Pork Faggot w/ Lentils - $22.”  I don’t think we are naive, uninformed, or politically correct, but this would be our first encounter with a “Pork Faggot."  According to Wikipedia, "Faggots are a traditional dish in the UK, especially South and Mid Wales and the Midlands of England.It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork.  A faggot is traditionally made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes bread crumbs. The mixture is shaped in the hand into balls, wrapped round with caul fat (the omentum membrane from the pig’s abdomen), and baked."  Thank you, Nate Smith, for bringing your Faggots to the neighborhood.  Things have certainly changed around here since Raymund’s occupied this space.

(Enlarged view of ALLSWELL’S Pork Faggot on the menu)

Here’s an epilogue to the Epilogue…we continued another block down Bedford Avenue in our state of bewilderment over the menu at Allswell, and we noticed that things were particularly calm and quiet for a Saturday night in the heart of the 'Burg.  It quickly became clear that this was at least partially due to the fact that the infamous corner dive, THE TURKEY’S NEST had been SHUTTERED!  Gates down, no note, no eviction notice, no letter to loyal customers, no health department violation sticker (shockingly).  No rowdy drunks, no stench of stale beer, nobody urinating on the sidewalk.  We don’t know if the TURKEY’S NEST is closed permanently or if the Turkey has just flown the nest for a brief vacation, or dare we suggest…renovations, but we caught a group of distraught swill seekers in a devastated state of shock upon learning of the situation.  We continued strolling along contemplating just how drastically the neighborhood really has changed.

(Has THE TURKEY’S NEST flown the coop for good?)


Sunday rituals from @allswellcreative: newspaper. Craving some #analog information delivery today. Nothing like good old iconic newsprint. Even the sound of opening and folding it has a specific familiarity no device can replicate. #allSwell #folkrebellion #slowdown #unplug (at The Memory Bank.)

THE GLUTTON'S HIT LIST VOL. 1: Restaurants we are dying to try (BROOKLYN EDITION)

Is it lame to talk about restaurants we haven’t eaten at yet?  Obviously, if we have not eaten the food or experienced the vibe of an establishment, we cannot provide the gluttonous insight on the eateries that you come here expecting to be fed.  Is it really interesting to rehash the buzz around town about where to eat now without the benefit of the firsthand knowledge required to make an educated recommendation?  Sure, why not?  Restaurants are springing up around town like weeds, and unlike Sam Sifton, THE BROOKLYN GLUTTON does not eat out for 13 meals a week.  Perhaps, as we check these off the list, some of these spots may inspire us to elaborate, but for now, we share with you the top ten restaurants we’re dying to try.  As usual, we try to balance our coverage between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and in this case, we successfully split the list in half without even really trying.  So as not to overload you, here are five new and almost new spots we are excited about trying in Brooklyn (all happen to be in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, actually).  If you make it to any of these places before we do, please share your thoughts on the disqus thread below or on THE BROOKLYN GLUTTON FACEBOOK PAGE.  We will follow up with the Manhattan list…

ISA - 348 Wythe Avenue @ S.2nd Street, Williamsburg; 347-689-3594


(ISA photo via archpaper.com )

ISA is a new Brooklyn outing for Taavo Somer, who brought us stylish dining hotspots, FREEMANS off Rivington and PEELS on the Bowery.  With its unmarked facade and its high design rustic interior that is visible through the large glass windows, the cozy elegance of ISA is extremely inviting.  It appears that ISA is shaping up to be some serious destination dining.  Somer has been quoted throughout the internets as describing the look and feel of the place as “primitive modernism."  Whether or not he intended for this term to also apply to the food is uncertain, but we can’t wait until the ‘primitive modern’ culinary movement starts to spread like wildfire throughout the land.  Williamsburg seems like just the place for such a smoldering concept to fully ignite.  It sure looks like Somer has got enough firewood to keep it going.

MAISON PREMIERE - 298 Bedford Avenue (S.1st & Grand Street), Williamsburg; 347-335-0446

(MAISON PREMIER photo via maisonpremiere.com)

Classic New Orleans style Oyster Bar serving 20 varieties of bivalves and Absinthe cocktails?  If anyone wants to hit this place right now, we will drop what we are doing and be there in a flash.  Maison is open 4pm to 4am daily with brunch at noon on the weekends and $1 oysters during weekday happy hour.  From the owner of Williamsburg Bistro, Le Barricou, this decked out, seemingly art directed old-timey NOLA bar is compared by Pete Wells of The New York times to Balthazar in that it is "a fake that sometimes improves on the original.” It sounds like you sit at the bar and fill out a seafood menu checklist with a pencil while perusing a long list of cocktails.  Seriously…nothing sounds better.

CALYER - 92 Calyer Street @ Franklin Street, Greenpoint; 347-889-6323

(CALYER photo via heresgreenpoint.com)

This little Latin Tapas spot in Greenpoint is brought to us by one of our perpetual favorite restaurant teams in the neighborhood.  Josh Cohen and Blair Papagni bring variety, flavor, delicious food and fun times to those of us lucky enough to be their neighbors in North Brooklyn.  JIMMY’S DINER on Union Avenue in Williamsburg and Greenpoint’s ANELLA couldn’t be at farther ends of the spectrum in terms of style of cuisine and dining experience, yet both places owned by the duo are consistently satisfying dining staples in the neighborhood.  They are also owners of SAINT VITUS, a bar and music venue at the end of Manhattan Avenue that somehow makes death metal hip and fashionable, along with tasty, creative steamed buns to enjoy during breaks from headbanging.  Anella has been attracting foodies from beyond the borough, having received a stellar review from Mr. Sifton in the New York Times round about last Christmas.  At the time, Joe Ogrodnek was the Chef, but his tenure expired shortly after the review, and in our opinion, the restaurant got even better with Gabriel Moya at the helm, and with Cohen frequently rolling his sleeves up in the kitchen as well.  Moya and Cohen are running the show at Calyer, and from what we are hearing the menu is comprised of an irresistible selection of small plates influenced by Moya’s Puerto Rican heritage and Cohen’s keen sense for seasonal ingredients and taste for offal.  The buzz is already abundant over the fantastic Chicharrones and fun cocktails, and, for what its worth, even in its early stages, the Yelpers seem to unanimously approve, which is a good thing, because Papagni has been known to keep a watchful eye on the Yelp reviews and take on the occasional voices of dissent firsthand.

ROSARITO FISH SHACK - 168 Wythe Avenue @ N. 7th Street, Williamsburg; 718-388-8833

(ROSARITO photo via foodcurated.tumblr.com)

Unlike Calyer, the Yelpers seem seriously divided about ROSARITO, with reviews spanning the spectrum from fabulous to horrid.  Nevertheless, we admire the owner’s other establishment, EL ALMACEN, a wonderful spot for Argentinian fare just a few blocks away, and we find the unusual Mexican Seafood format of the menu to be extremely appealing.  Rosarito does bear the burden of having set up shop in a space that could be considered a cursed location, having hosted one horrible failure after another on this odd 'so close but so far’ corner of N. 7th and Wythe Avenue.  The space seems to have been newly designed to complement the unfussy fare on offer, and they have an exceptional selection of Tequila to complement the fish tacos and other Baja inspired crustacean creations.  With the onslaught of high quality Mexican food in the neighborhood, ROSARITO needs to be doing something a bit different to set itself apart from the rest in order to make its mark.  We like the idea, and we are eager to try it with an open mind to find out on which end of the Yelp spectrum our opinion falls.

ALLSWELL - 124 Bedford Avenue @ N. 10th Street, Williamsburg

(ALLSWELL photo via ny.eater.com)

We are always conflicted when old neighborhood establishments cease to exist to make way for new places.  In this case, our favorite Polish restaurant on the Williamsburg side of Little Krakow, Raymund’s Cafe, has finally shuttered its doors for good, and its replacement looks like it will be a high concept, late night, gastropub aimed at the new wave of hipsters, yuppies, and foodies alike.  Rather than spending time and energy hating the newcomers, along with ourselves, we have rationalized that there is plenty of decent Polish food in Greenpoint for when we have a hankering that is really no different than Raymund’s was, and the folks at Raymund’s weren’t exactly warm and fuzzy, even after years of patronage.  So, while we are sad to see Raymund’s go, we welcome the new food movement, and accept the transformation as evolution.  Any day now, we expect ALLSWELL to open its doors.  Former Spotted Pig chef, Nate Smith, will be doing his thing here, offering lunch, dinner and late night dining for Willamsburg revelers.

Keep your eyes open for the Manhattan half of our hit list in the days to come…

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