I've noticed a trend as of late in NYC. Upscale chefs, opening sister restaurants that are more lowbrow. Cheaper, more casual, more accessible. Daniel Humm did the Nomad as his follow-up to the 4-star Eleven Madison Park, Wylie Dufresne just opened Alder, his more casual WD-50, Michael White did Osteria Morini, Daniel Boulud opened DBGB some years ago, etc, etc. It's a common trend, and I love it. It gives more opportunity for people to explore a highly recognized chef's cuisine. I call it "culinary ingenuity accessibility".
Which brings us to The Elm. Paul Liebrandt's follow up to the upscale Corton, which he recently parted ways with. The Elm is located in Brooklyn. One floor below the King and Grove Hotel in Williamsburg. it's a nice open space, with a big open kitchen. The food here "melds the tradition of classical French cuisine with a contemporary approach to ingredients and technique that the chef is well-known for." I had a meal there last week, and it was quite excellent. It's one of the hottest restaurants to open this year, and there is some exciting stuff going on in that huge open kitchen!
My meal started with a wonderful amuse of a lemon financier with ricotta. A small bite, perfectly executed. Solid and perfect execution is what The Elm is all about.
My complimentary rye sourdough and butter was great too.
The menu at The Elm is divided into four categories: Raw, Sea, Land, and Shared. From the "Raw" section, I started with Kanpachi "Jamon" with Heirloom tomatoes, and Vadouvan spice. It was a truly lovely and beautiful dish. What I loved about this dish, is that there is a lot going on in this dish, with flavor and texture, but it all works out harmoniously, and every ingredient is well thought out. All the flavors and texture complement each other perfectly. It was truly wonderful.
Gnudi surrounds a scallop in a "Tom Yum" broth, with Spring onions, and lemon balm. It's a sensational and ingenious dish. Those gnudi are perfect pillows of joy, that scallop cooked to perfection, that broth with it's ode to Thailand, a great and soothing fusion of culinary bliss. Exquisite.
From the "Land" I went with the Duck, slow-roasted with pickled cherry, and toasted honey jus. Again, everything on the plate worked well together. That meat so moist and juicy, beautifully cooked and executed. Truly fabulous. I also recommend asking the excellent sommelier at The Elm to pair a wine with this dish, if not all dishes. The wine that he paired with dish was and amazing pairing, and took the dish do another level. Well Done.
Being on a diet, I decided to order the dessert for two. I was dining solo, but you know, that's how I roll. It was a Summer Berry Tart with lemon confit meringue, and lemongrass marshmallow. True Greatness. It was beautiful, delicious, and perfectly executed. Just like everything else at The Elm.
The Elm is one tree I'd like to bark up on.
160 N. 12th St. (inside the King & Grove Hotel)
Brooklyn, NY 11211