Vintage curios, muted milk-bottle lights, locally sourced oyster ’shrooms. As the name portends, this is twee Brooklyn by way of shoot-’em-up Bushwick. Despite its backwater locale on Wilson Avenue, the quaint charmer brandishes some prime talent behind the stove and the bar: respectively, chef Jessica Wilson (A Voce) and consulting cocktailian Natasha David (Maison Premiere)—another testament to the creep of low-key culinary ambition into the borough’s once-precarious corners.
ORDER THIS: The chef describes the lusty, sometimes whimsical fare as “England meets Vermont.” To that end, a hulking pork chop ($20)—thicker than an ax handle—seems more fit for a barrel-chested lumberjack than the skinny-jeans set (gathered here neath an oversize boho painting of a leggy brunet on a horse). The juicy skillet-seared slab is embellished with contrasting accoutrements: bitter braised brussels sprouts and a sweet and tangy bacon-fig vinaigrette. Other earthy, elegant dishes, like a pitch-perfect creamy celeriac soup ($6) or a buttery, beer-steamed mussels special ($7) on one night, are equally comforting.
GOOD FOR: A soul-warming walk-in meal. While nearby Roberta’s—on a buzzing corner of Bogart Street that seems like Times Square compared with this quiet drag—draws destination diners willing to brave two-hour waits, this narrow slip of a restaurant pulls off a strictly local vibe to warm effect. The two-month-old spot’s lean, slick-haired barkeep, whose disarming friendliness belies his cool greaser threads, sets a Cheers-like tone, making newcomers and second-timers feel like regulars. On a recent fall night, strangers struck up an impromptu reminiscence of early-’90s R&B—SWV! Boyz II Men! En Vogue!—at the sturdy black-steel bar while the wind howled outside.
THE CLINCHER: Most small restaurants have trouble achieving both serious food and drinks, but this flyweight depot punches above its weight. The cocktails (boozy classics, enlightened riffs) rank with the best in the borough. Our favorite was the Iron Lady ($10): Bittersweet aperol gets a double dose of flowers with rose-infused gin and Lillet Rose. Lemon juice cleans up the finish on the structured but feminine sipper. Dear Bushwick, we can forgive the name.—Mari Uyehara