18 Wyckoff Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Cuisine: American Nouveau
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: All major
Hours: Sun-Wed 5pm-11pm; Thurs-Sat 5pm-11:30pm; Brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm
Booze: Full Bar
Subway: L train to Jefferson
Menu: Click Here
NY Mag says:
Bushwick is derived from the Dutch for “little town in the woods,” but a New England deer camp is the last thing you’d expect to find on its post-industrial streets. Nevertheless, husband and wife proprietors Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke have blithely imported touches of their native Vermont to the nether regions of the L train. Potted evergreens, seemingly the only vegetation for miles, mark the entrance, beneath a copper stag nailed to a slab of wood. Although a paint-by-numbers deer in a winter scene hangs over the bar, the interior avoids campiness; slate-gray planks in the ceiling impart a minimalist vibe. The food relies on fresh ingredients, with a menu that shifts accordingly. Gruyère cheese appears frequently, in a grilled mushroom sandwich, with cheddar in mac & cheese, and matched with coarse-cut country bacon in the N.K. version of a croque monsieur. Chicken pot pie is a signature dish, made with organic meat stewed with peas, carrots, and thyme, and crowned by a thick, flaky crust. An indie and glam-rock soundtrack sets a festive mood for the young crowd, reflective of a new Bushwick demographic attracted by cheap rents. And the discontinuity of northeast Vermont in northeast Brooklyn seems not to faze them.
NY Times says:
Northeast Kingdom, a modest and charming restaurant so far east on the L line that not even the most duplicitous real estate agent could sell it as East Williamsburg, is another one, a small place with a short menu of homey cooking in a one-story building surrounded by blocks of factories and warehouses.The dining room is done up in salvaged woods: ceiling, floor, wainscoting. Vintage wallpaper decorates a corner, and found stained-glass windows with mismatched colored panes separate the kitchen from the dining room. Two tiny deer heads flank a large mirror hung on the wall near the communal table in the middle of the room. A far-ranging but coherent mix of music – from Can to Flaming Lips to Iron & Wine, with plenty of old-timey folk music for good measure – plays loudly over the restaurant’s stereo system. Paris Smeroldo, a law-firm librarian turned cook and restaurateur, opened Northeast Kingdom with his wife, Meg Lipke. They both hail from Vermont; they borrowed the name of the sparsely populated region on the state’s Canadian border for their restaurant in a sparsely populated border region of Brooklyn.
Their menu has changed a number of times already in the month since they opened. A rotating selection of toasts ($4.50; two to an order), bruschetta by another name, makes up the bulk of the appetizer options. Toasts topped with sautéed kale and pecorino delivered on their simple promise one night; a pair piled high with eggplant and goat’s milk Gouda did the same on a follow-up visit. Menu staples include a hearty, simple dish of lamb stewed in red wine ($12), a homey chicken potpie ($12) and a B.L.T. dressed up with balsamic-spiked mayonnaise ($9 with a side salad). All are worthy. The nightly specials, like grilled bratwurst with tender braised red cabbage or a rosemary-scented chicken leg over mashed potatoes, proved consistently rewarding. Other than a lackluster apple dessert on my first visit, desserts (all $4) were all winners, excellent with a glass of port ($6) or the end of a bottle from the restaurant’s gently priced list (all bottles $21 to $34). The best dessert was a slice of banana cream pie: crunchy crust, custardy banana filling exploding with banana flavor, freshly whipped cream on top. It’s the slice of pie you hope will come out of that rotating display at a diner but never does.
Northeast Kingdom is an inviting, warm beacon on an otherwise spartan and industrial stretch of Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick. Its owners made the right choice going for a cabin-in-the-woods feel, not a party-on-the-slopes one: you don’t feel as if you’re being hit over the head with an antler to drive the point home.