1 Knickerbocker – lovely new gastropub now open in Bushwick

1 Knickerbocker Bar, credit: Gothamist

1 Knickerbocker Bar, credit: Gothamist

This looks like a great addition to the ever-expanding Bushwick culinary scene. They just opened on the Morgan L stop:

The eatery is the pet project of Jesse Levitt and Aimee Arcuiolo, veterans of fellow Bushwick spot Kings County Bar; it’s modeled, as required by law, in the style of a turn-of-the-century speakeasy, a nod to the address’s storied past as such, in addition to stints as a dance hall, brothel and textile factory. The restaurant is spacious and offers two rooms, with an elegant bar and intimate tables up front in addition to an area with more dining space in the back.

And it is one of, if not the loveliest space in the neighborhood, offering an antique aesthetic that feels neither forced nor kitschy; the walls are decorated with aged wood, intricate metal panels and artfully peeling paint, in addition to textile work the owners found while renovating the building. The tables are romantically simple by design and the long, wooden bar beckons you to sit on a stool, sip an Old Fashioned and argue with the bartender over the benefits of the gold standard.

In terms of food, head chef Steven Hubbell (Veerasway) offers a well-curated, slightly offbeat selection of American fare, with appetizers like fried cauliflower ($7), pig ears ($10) and mock turtle soup ($12 and served, we assume, sans Lewis Carroll character). As for the main dishes, the roasted pekin duck breast ($28) is outstanding, delicately rare and served atop a bed of braised red cabbage and fine spaetzle. Other noteworthy entrees include the smoked sabelfish ($16), paired with potato pancakes and herb salad, along with the vegetarian creamed greens and potato croquette dish ($14). Desserts ($10) include a pumpernickel cream—served with pine meringue, hazelnut, cranberry compote and crispy shitake—and a spicy/sweet (though slightly odd) stout and butternut squash fritter.

1 Knickerbocker boasts a full bar with all the whiskey, wine, beer and bourbon fixings; Hubbell’s also crafted a few specialty cocktails ($11) worthy of mention, in addition to classics like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans.

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