Delaware & Hudson的Course
Patti Jackson將Pennsylvania Dutch挖到她的Williamsburg餐廳啦。這裡的早午餐包括手工玉米煎肉餅和漏斗蛋糕配早餐香腸。這裡在早餐時間供應的班尼迪克風格的蟹肉餅，最近受到了Peter Wells 的高度評價。
Are you hungry, right now, for green tomatoes baked in a pie?
I am. An old farm recipe, green tomato pie was new to me when I ate a small wedge of it at a very likable Brooklyn restaurant called Delaware and Hudson two weeks ago. Now I can’t stop thinking about it. Double-crusted like an apple pie, bobbing between sweet and savory, it had the herbaceousness and tang of unripe tomatoes and the very old-timey flavor of molasses and brown sugar. The ingredients combined in ways that had me tasting spices that weren’t, in fact, in there.
Patti Jackson, the restaurant’s chef and owner, called the recipe “an agglomeration of Pennsylvania Dutch and Shaker pies, stuff that’s always interested me.” At this point, it’s hard to find a New York chef who doesn’t cook with ingredients from the mid-Atlantic, but ones who draw on the region’s recipes are much more unusual.
Delaware and Hudson, which opened in May, looks the part of the contemporary Brooklyn restaurant that preaches all things local and seasonal. The tables are bare wood. The ceiling rafters are exposed. Pickle jars sit above the kitchen door. The walls are pinned with glamour shots of farmers’ market bins piled with strawberries and purple-tipped asparagus.
The restaurant stands out from the pack, though, in part because Ms. Jackson draws on the traditions of long-gone Americans who would have been amazed to hear that farm-to-table would become a slogan one day. Old-time regional recipes (“from Baltimore to Buffalo,” says a sign by the door) flit on and off her weekly menus. They don’t define the restaurant’s cooking, though. Ms. Jackson does. Her four-course $48 set menus are drawn from her life, and their personal point of view helps make Delaware and Hudson so winning.
She grew up in Clarks Summit, Pa., close enough to Pennsylvania Dutch country to know how a fresh pretzel ought to taste. You’ll know, too, because the first thing to land on the table after you choose your main course is a galvanized pail of hot pretzel rolls, boiled in lye and studded with white salt crystals, like Amish rhinestones. The chewy, yeasty pretzels were wonderful smeared with ramp butter or a green mash of fava hummus that came out alongside breakfast radishes and crisp, cool slices of fennel.
Putting herself through culinary school in Baltimore, Ms. Jackson cooked atthe Harvey House restaurant for Rose Baumel, known to all as Miss Rose.
“Miss Rose was in the kitchen every single day in a housekeeper’s dress,” she recalled. “She did all the money and all the liquor, and when it was time to do the crab cakes, all the guys in the kitchen would prepare separate parts of it for her and she would go off in a corner and secretly mix it all together.”
Ms. Baumel’s precise formula probably disappeared along with the restaurant’s sign, a rabbit in purple neon, but the young cooking student watched closely enough to have her own ideas. Delaware and Hudson served Miss Rose’s crab cakes in June on top of hollandaise with purslane leaves. They were precisely the golden pan-fried patties of clean white crab meat, just barely holding together, that I see whenever I look at a blue crab.
Pretzel rolls followed by three other small dishes, like the crab cakes or a hungry farmhand’s salad of string beans and creamy new potatoes in vinegar and warm bacon fat, are the appetizer course. Next comes handmade pasta, and dinner suddenly veers toward Italy. This is inconsistent with the stated theme of the restaurant, but consistent with the life of Ms. Jackson. She was the chef at a string of Italian restaurants in Manhattan — Le Madri, I Trulli and Centovini — and she knows her way around a pasta roller. In June, sweet pea ravioli had delicate thin-skinned wrappers, perfectly formed little flying saucers in a butter sauce with slivers of Virginia ham. Her fresh spaghetti in a quick sauce of ripe tomatoes and basil dotted with milky ricotta got the dish, which often goes wrong, exactly right.
Ms. Jackson’s food doesn’t have the buzz-cut professionalism of some restaurant food, which seems to have been produced by Adderall-chewing line cooks who practice their brunoise in front of a mirror while listening to“Eye of the Tiger.” Her cooking has a more relaxed, informal air.
This is its charm and sometimes its weakness, too. Earthy and delicious noodles made from einkorn wheat and fresh herbs were clumped together one night, as if the noodles had not been sauced soon enough. A vegetarian main course called corn mush was as dense and bland as a bowl of hot cereal you made at breakfast and forgot about until lunch. Corn pudding was a nicer variation on this idea, sweet kernels of corn baked into a soft, custardy dome of cornmeal. But the ratatouille served with it wasn’t the usual soft, sweet melting pot of summer; the vegetables were still half-crisp and noticeably bitter.
These slumps may soften my recommendation, but they weren’t enough to knock any of my meals seriously off-track. Any bad impressions were wiped out by a half-dozen good ones, by a duck breast with rhubarb or a hunk of wild striped bass with yellow cherry tomatoes cooked just until they wilted. Servers were stiff in the beginning, marching around with one hand awkwardly ratcheted up behind their backs as if their wrists were attached to bungee cords, but they are more at ease now, giving the restaurant a friendliness that can make you think you have traveled much farther than 10 steps from Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.
Then, a pair of desserts, small and homey, like a warm button of steamed chocolate cake next to a miniature peach shortcake. Why two desserts? Why four appetizers? I think it’s the generosity implied by the out-of-print cookbooks Ms. Jackson reads, by the spirit of places like the Harvey House, by the old way of cooking to fill people up and make them happy at the same time.
Finally, a plate of four mignardises arrives. There may be a chocolate-caramel candy and a one-bite macaron infused with the taste of ripe Tristar strawberries. The plate is always delivered by Ms. Jackson with the smile good cooks have when they know everyone will leave the table happy.