Friday, March 6, 2009
I would like to add my thoughts to the overwhelming outpouring of sadness in response to the passing of blogger extraordinaire Robert Guskind. He took notice of Eat It Brooklyn soon after I started and offered me a recurring spot on Gowanus Lounge on Fridays. It was a generous show of support to yet another voice amongst the multitude of writers covering, loving and defending Brooklyn. He will be missed.
I had heard about Alchemy (56 5th Avenue, between Bergen St. and St. Marks Place, 718-636-4385) from a few people, but only went there for the first time recently. I immediately liked the interior, with booths along the right side wall, the bar to the left, and tables set up in the back. The exposed brick lends itself to feeling like an old tavern, with low lighting and candles. The waitstaff was friendly, and the food was surprisingly good.
We started out with the Roasted Mushroom Salad which had loads of Shitake & Button mushrooms along with shaved fennel, arugula and Parmesan cheese. The cheese was perfectly sharp and salty, the dressing was slightly creamy and tangy and the portion made it quite substantial. Delicious and best shared with someone so as to leave room for other dishes!
My friend ordered of the Duck Confit Cassoulet which came with white beans, merguez sausage, braised pork and dried cherries. She was nice enough to share so I got to taste this amazing, dish. The strong flavors of the meats mixed nicely with one another, and the tart cherries stood provided a good balance with a lighter zing.
Her boyfriend chose the Hamburger which he described as "great". It was gone before I could get a good look at it. I did notice that the bacon looked high quality & meaty and the fries were well-done and crispy. The bun was also nicely toasted and on the small side which is good - you don't want your burger drowning in bread!
My boyfriend got the special Catfish entree topped with salsa and served with corn pudding and asparagus. All of the flavors were quite distinct, but worked well together. The salsa was simple but spicy and the corn pudding was the creamiest, most decadent side dish, perfect on a freezing cold winter night. The fish was cooked nicely too, so that it remained flaky and moist.
My favorite though was what I got, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with bacon, arugula, pickled onions, garlic mayo and fries. I do love pickled onions, and they added the perfect vinegary punch to this sandwich. The bread was excellent - thinly sliced and charred just enough to add a bit of smokiness. The bacon was meaty, the arugula added a nice, green, fresh taste and the garlic mayo brought it all together. It really was fantastic. It was also gigantic, and I ended up having it for lunch the next day, which I never do because I don't like to eat the same thing twice, but it was so good I didn't mind at all! Definitely going back for this sandwich!
Alchemy also offers special Mussels Mondays, and special deals on beer & wine pairings on Tuesdays. They have a number of hot drinks on offer perfect for the winter weather, and a great selection of special martinis and cocktails. Hooray for Alchemy!