#8 Northeast Kingdom’s Stone Cut Oat Porridge
No. 8: Stone cut oat porridge from Northeast Kingdom (18 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-386-3864)
Porridge might be a breakfast basic, but on the dinner menu at Northeast Kingdom, it gets special treatment–and it should not be missed.
Bushwick’s Northeast Kingdom celebrates humble ingredients, and on the ever-changing seasonal menu here, you’ll find many fine specimens of local produce, seafood, and poultry basking in glorious simplicity, the true essence of each item showcased by a supporting cast of garnishes that’s pared down to just what’s necessary. With that context, porridge doesn’t look out of place on the dinner menu, even if you’d be inclined to think of it as a proletariat breakfast dish elsewhere. Order it and be further convinced that it belongs–the hearty bowl of soft-cooked oats is as rich and savory as a winter stew, and it’s bolstered voluptuously by a runny-yolked egg and the earthy paper-thin slices of crispy sunchokes. It’s comfort food and immensely satisfying, and it works as a precursor to a heftier meal–perhaps you’ve come for NEK’s killer burger–or as the main event if you add a plate of simply dressed greens on the side.
The 20 Best Sandwiches In 20 Brooklyn Neighborhoods
Before trying the Northeast Kingdom chicken sandwich, I would’ve thought it was impossible to improve upon something so simple and so good. I mean, what’s better than a classic chicken sandwich? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a chicken sandwich smothered in spicy, nutty Kung Pao sauce that’ll make your tongue tingle and your nose burn and will leave you feeling like you just can’t get enough of this savory sandwich served on a soft, sweet brioche roll that offers the perfect contrast to the crunchy, spicy chicken. Do yourself a favor and eat up accompanied by one of the many beers Northeast Kingdom has on tap. This is definitely one of our favorite lunches in Brooklyn.
Posted by Kristin Iversen on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Creamed Kale; Northeast Kingdom
Even kale needs to feel decadent sometimes, and what better way to do it than by adding lots of cream and butter and dairy goodness? None that we can think of. So when you want to feel a little bad when you’re eating kale, get on over to Northeast Kingdom and either order the vegetarian main of Cauliflower, which comes with creamed kale, potatoes, and roasted garlic, or order the kale salad which comes studded with tangy, creamy blue cheese. Either way, the dairy goes a long way toward cutting the intrinsic bitterness of the kale, making it even more delicious than you ever thought it could be.
18 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
The Michelin Guide has released its “Bib Gourmand” picks for the forthcoming 2014 dining guide.
These are restaurants that the guide highlights for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head). New entries on the Bib list include ABC Cocina, Battersby, Northeast Kingdom, Mayfield, Porsena, Seersucker, and Xixa. Restaurants that land on the Bib list are not awarded Michelin stars. The full list of star ratings for 2014 will be released next Tuesday. Congratulations to all the 2014 Bib Gourmands.
4. Northeast Kingdom, 18 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn
Aside from the fact that the owners are native Vermonters, freshness is perhaps the strongest thread that connects this restaurant to its namesake county in northern Vermont, where many residents grow kitchen vegetable gardens, eggs come from a farm stand down the road, and meat is procured from a pig-raising neighbor or beef farmer. Owners Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke have imported this ethic to Brooklyn, sourcing produce from Brooklyn Grange (which I wrote about last week) and farm-raised meats from upstate while adding foraged ingredients whenever possible. Seasonal menus shine a spotlight on what’s fresh right now. This summer, try the roasted tomato gazpacho and Brooklyn Grange greens.
It’s around 7 p.m. on the hottest Friday in recent memory. On a roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yard overlooking smokestacks, shipyard cranes, and city bridges, the East River glittering quicksilver just beyond the dry docks, Brooklyn Grange managing partner Anastasia Cole Plakias points to a row of ruffled green leaves, streaked vibrant purple, and instructs me to pick one and take a bite.
I do as she says. The leaf has a green, vegetal flavor, with a strong wasabi note, a warm sensation on the tongue. “Ooh, that’s good,” I say. “Wait for it,” Plakias says, grinning as I chew. Moments later, my mouth explodes in a fiery burst of black-pepper spice. “Whoa!” I say, laughing, and she smiles: “The chef at Lafayette has been loving these.”
Dusk is falling on Brooklyn Grange’s second rooftop farm, planted in 2012 after the flagship farm (established in 2010 ona roof in Long Island City) proved to be a huge success. The project put Plakias, along with partners Ben Flanner and Gwen Schantz, at the helm of a strange new industry: urban commercial organic farming. As successful farmers do, they’ve been expanding, first here, and rumor has it, soon to the Pfizer building, a mile or so down Flushing Avenue.
And they’re cranking out great vegetables. Plakias has just fed me a baby mustard leaf; I’m stunned by the force of its flavor. I haven’t had greens that strong since living on an heirloom vegetable farm, in a place called Paradise Valley, the summer after college.
“We’ve been selling lots of these beautiful little leaves,” Plakias says. “They’re everybody’s favorite.” She turns one in her fingers as she nibbles. Looking closer, her brow furrows: “Looks like they’ve been getting eaten by beetles,” she says, showing me the leaf. “See that shotgun effect?” It’s peppered with tiny holes.
These greens and others are the top crop right now. Earlier today, farmers arrived around 4 a.m. and picked 100 pounds of mixed greens, 50 pounds of arugula, and “dozens of pounds of other things,” Plakias tells me. By now, this morning’s leaves are in restaurants around the city, likely being plated as we speak: Lafayette, Blanca, Northeast Kingdom, and Prospect are all clients. At 7 p.m., the Friday dinner rush has begun.
The greens are great, but, as in most gardens, tomatoes are the uncontested star. Brooklyn Grange grows a full rainbow of heirloom varieties; however, none are quite ready, the vines heavy with unripe produce. “Tomato plants don’t do well in temperatures above 95 degrees,” Plakias says, cupping a plump fruit in her hand. “Basically, their growth stagnates. They’re doing what the rest of us are doing, gritting their teeth, trying to survive. We should be getting ripe fruit any day now, but this heat is really not helping.”
She shows me a bed of Feherozon peppers, which are thriving, their pillowy, pale yellow forms grassy and sweet. Later, they will blush a rich, striated orange, and their flavor will deepen. We say hello to hens in a roomy coop, to a bright bed of zinnias and sunflowers, and pause to watch a honeybee drag another, against her will, from the hive (she escapes and flies away).
As we are leaving, Plakias stops. “I just learned this, and I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.” She’s standing near a patch of basil winged by beds of sunchoke, eggplant, and ground cherry that will be harvested later in the season.
“Basil has different flavors along the leaf. Find a nice big one and try the stem. It’s floral, sweeter. . . . The other end is going to be spicy, it will have almost a bitter note.” I pick a leaf and try it. One end is tender and lush, the other leaner and tougher, its flavor stronger and more mature. “It’s really cool tasting that,” she says, “and being able to connect with plants through their life. That may sound a bit precious, but, quite frankly, it really is a wonderful thing.”
That concludes our tour, and throughout the weekend, I can’t stop thinking about those greens. On Sunday night, I find myself at Northeast Kingdom ordering a Brooklyn Grange salad and little else. The plate arrives, heaped with emerald bounty: Arugula, leaf lettuce, and those raucous little mustard leaves are lightly tossed in a simple, unobtrusive vinaigrette. I normally chop the hell out of salads, so I can assemble perfect bites with bits of each component, but these leaves are best enjoyed whole, folded beneath the fork with a crisp, wet radish, just as nature made them.
Days have passed and that salad continues to haunt me. I’m excited for the next wave of vegetables. There is so much to come. Soon, the tomato vines will burst into color—stripey Green Zebras, savory and acidic; deep purple Black Cherries, musky and rich; dandelion-yellow Sungolds, sweet as grapes and snackable by the pint—and nutty sunchokes and eggplants will follow, and on and on, into the fall. Which leaves me to wonder—am I to spend the rest of the summer chasing down the freshest produce, completely at the mercy of the harvest? Alas, there are worse fates.
April 14, 2013
In this city, restaurants come and go faster than you can say “sustainable locavore burger.” And even though there are great new additions to the culinary landscape popping up every week, you’ve gotta give kudos to anyone who can stick it out for over a year. With that in mind, we bring you Still Got It, our tribute to establishments that continue to serve mouthwatering meals and drinks long after the buzz has faded—or if the lingering hype is still justified.
Bushwick’s bar and restaurant scene’s been blowing up over the past couple of years, with hip new establishments popping up (and jacking up rents) with astounding frequency. These newcomers have sparked debate over whether they’re welcome additions or just ominous signs that Bushwick will soon suffer the same hyper-gentrified fate as, say, Williamsburg. But the neighborhood’s culinary scene is certainly still worth a try, if just for standby bistro Northeast Kingdom.
Rustic little Northeast Kingdom has been around much longer than some of its neighboring eateries, having opened just off the Jefferson L stop in the fall of 2005. Since then, owners and founders Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke have striven to serve organic, locally-sourced dishes reminiscent of those cooked up in farms in their native Vermont; chef Kevin Adey likes to use ingredients found on foraging adventures or purchased from nearby organic farmers, utilizing them to create hearty, flavorful meals. The menu changes depending on the season, though some dishes, like the meaty, Vermont-cheddar topped Autumn’s Harvest Farm Burger ($17), remain constant. For appetizers, try the fennel salad ($9), a piquant mix of crunchy fennel, creme fraiche and grapefruit, or the fresh farm egg ($9); favorite main courses include the garlicky winter mushroom pasta tossed with creme fraiche ($17) and the aforementioned burger.
Northeast Kingdom’s also got a good beer and wine selection, with local drafts of the former including Six Point Sweet Action and Brooklyn Pennant Ale. And they serve brunch on weekends and lunch on weekdays: check out the stomach-warming buttermilk biscuits made with homemade gravy and sausage ($13) on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The restaurant can get pretty crowded on weekend evenings, but they’ve got a whole downstairs area for drinks while you’re waiting, plus they take dinner reservations for parties bigger than four people, and have a late-night menu that goes from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Though, do be prepared to wait for your food on a busy night, and expect to dine in close quarters to your neighbors; the upstairs space is small, and you might find yourself sitting next to a couple dining on a locally-sourced $20+ broiled salmon, sighing about how Bushwick’s just so over.
Northeast Kingdom is located at 18 Wyckoff Ave at the corner of Troutman Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-386-3864, north-eastkingdom.com).
- 18 Wyckoff Ave. USA – Brooklyn, NY 11237
- (718) 386-3864
- Opening hours
- Lunch & dinner daily
- Menu prices
- You don’t have to say goodbye to American pie at Northeast Kingdom, since this place is revered for its heavenly pot pies. It’s a little taste of Americana-style food in the heart of warehouse-heavy and mega organic supermarket-enhanced Bushwick. Sure, it’s a bitty gritty, but it has a burgeoning culinary scene, and Northeast Kingdom is running with the big dogs. From fried green tomatoes and Vermont cheddar-stuffed pierogi to fricassee of wild mushrooms made silky with cream and sitting atop favas, carrot purée, and new potates, Northeast Kingdom’s chef, Kevin Adely takes the best of the farmstand and brings it to life. Dishes like ginger-mint dressed pan-roasted duck are proof that it isn’t your average country cookin’, so leave Billy Bob behind.
A Feast of Seafood for the Holidays
Three chefs’ recipes for your festive holiday table, plus 12 recommended Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs
Posted: December 14, 2012
Braised Portuguese Octopus
Recipe courtesy of chef Kevin Adey, Northeast Kingdom, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Chef Kevin Adey employs flawless technique, learned and perfected at Le Bernardin, in the kitchen at Northeast Kingdom, where seasonality and a farm-to-table ethos rule. His exquisitely flavorful octopus dish can stand on its own, or works well tossed with chunky pasta or cubed and boiled new potatoes.
• 2 cups white wine
• 20 baby octopus, cleaned
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 3 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3 sprigs thyme
• 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, cold
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 teaspoons squid ink
1. In a small saucepan, heat the wine until it boils and continue to cook over medium-high heat until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Set aside.
2. In a dry sauté pan, sear the clean octopus, suction cups down, until they turn a nice dark maroon. Remove the octopus, and any juices that have leached out, to a plate or shallow bowl.
3. In a separate pan, heat the canola oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over low heat until translucent and soft, but not browned. Add the butter to melt, then whisk in the flour to make a small roux. Continue to cook one to two minutes, to cook off the raw flour taste. Whisk in the cold stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the thyme, reduced wine, octopus and any juices. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the octopus is tender.
4. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the octopus from the liquid and set aside. Whisk in the squid ink, then taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if desired. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and return the octopus to the sauce. Serve hot or warm. Serves 8 as part of a buffet or seven fishes feast.