Tue Oct 21 2008
Photograph: Jeff Gurwin
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
In recent years, the decidedly less gentrified turf south of Park Slope’s 9th St has developed a food and drink culture all its own. Artisanal beer bars and wood-fired pizzerias are now displacing the Laundromats and takeout joints that once peppered the ’hood. From this South Brooklyn renaissance comes Sidecar, a gastropub that debuted last summer. The history of the space speaks to the area’s evolution: The building did time as a pharmacy (the back wall still bears the faded words DR. TUCKER'S 59 FOR ALL PAIN) and then a 99-cent store. Now there are painted tin ceilings, deep banquettes and a snug garden. But Dr. Tucker still has a say: He lends his name to a potent-bordering-on-toxic gin and ginger syrup cocktail that joins a roster of otherwise impressively executed classic drinks. In fact, the dedicated bar is an imposing presence, eclipsing even the eclectic food menu: The Ramos Gin Fizz—a gin, cream, lemon and egg-white New Orleans standard—arrived whipped to perfection, crowned with a hint of orange flower water. The bistro fare was spotty in comparison. Triangles of flaxseed-enriched toast were a nutty canvas for whipped salt cod, fortified with garlic, cream and potatoes. Buttermilk fried chicken was a surprising coup—a generous platter of white and dark meat, juicy within and jacketed in a salty, satisfying batter. But the banh mi—one of a few global outliers—fell short. In place of a baguette was a wan square of ciabatta, and the filling was a flavorless mash-up of grilled pork, pâté, cilantro, and limp carrots and cucumber. Not exactly destination fare, but at Sidecar, that’s not the game. If you’re a local, you could do worse than a late-night nibble at this neighborhood joint. Just don’t neglect the potables—doctor’s orders.