Borough Food and Drink, Zak Pelaccio and Geoffrey Chodorow’s new co-venture, celebrates the best of
We first dined at Borough Food & Drink on opening night, and the scene was a combination of circus and approaching-well oiled machine. There appeared to be almost as many employees as customers, which made the space between tables a bit busy at moments. When I had called ahead for a reservation, I had been told that I would be able to walk in and get a table, but this was woefully inaccurate. We ended up waiting at the bar, where bartendress Summer took excellent care of us, for almost an hour. The specialty cocktails are worth a sip, and so these were not moments idly spent. The “Legacy” of Bay Ridge tastes of the tropics (Bay Ridge in August?) and is almost unbearably sweet, and the Chelsea Cherry skillfully blends chocolate and cherry flavors. The Queens Candy Apple is a twist on the classic apple martini, topped with a slice of apple that, once you near the bottom of the glass, makes it difficult to get the last drops of appley goodness until you eat the apple. Once we were seated, service was attentive and our food arrived in a reasonable amount of time.
Borough Food & Drink is comfort food heaven, assuming that “comfort” isn’t referring to the sensation one experiences after a meal there. The restaurant is not the wisest pick for waistline-watchers, but for those who worship at the altar of the happy tastebud (and don’t mind the slight discomfort of overfullness afterward), this is the place. On our first visit, we began with flatbread topped with guanciale (an unsmoked Italian bacon) and ricotta and the big bowl of dumplings, and I would have been satisfied leaving the meal at that. The flatbread was especially delicious, making it difficult not to overindulge, even in anticipation of the courses ahead. The dumplings were pan-fried rather than my usual boiled, which made them no less delectable, but slightly heavier (read: less room for what followed). What followed were the spicy pork sliders, one topped with bacon and cole slaw, and the other with bacon relish. These were good, but our first course was a hard act to follow. We also got the perfect, threadlike tobacco onion rings and the fried pickles with spicy aioli, which, while they sound odd, were awfully tasty. Dessert was Brooklyn Blackout Cake from the Two Little Red Hens Bakery. Listen to me carefully: Do. Not.
On our second visit, for which we arrived with the triple threat of a reservation, an earlier dinnertime, and its being a Wednesday, we started with the Borough spreads & dips. These included smoky eggplant spread, a Lebanese “yogurt cheese” called lebneh, and taramosalata, the Greek fish-roe spread, and were served with warm bread spiced with zatar, a Middle Eastern blend of spices that often includes marjoram, wild oregano, thyme, toasted white sesame seeds, and sumac. One of my companions, who does not count himself among the babaganoush-friendly, nonetheless quite enjoyed the eggplant spread. The tangy lebneh and salty taramosalata balanced out the trio. The