Sitting on a leafy corner off Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jack the Horse Tavern is the embodiment of Brooklyn Heights chic: cool and picturesque with vintage flair. The brainchild of husband-wife duo chef Tim Oltmans (Tabla) and Micki Schubert, the restaurant touts airy storefront windows that peek onto a charming colonial streetscape of brick homes and shuttered windows while inside, a soft jazz soundtrack bids diners to ease into their surroundings and stay awhile.
Upgraded pub grub rules the day at this refreshed take on a local tavern, with flourishes highlighting the natural elegance of seasonal produce. The farm fresh beet salad ($10) is a harmonious symphony of red, golden and candy cane beets accented with goat cheese and a bitter hum from spindly twirls of cress. On the more indulgent side, a unique take on macaroni and cheese ($9) serves corkscrew cavatappi in a smoldering smoked gouda sauce.
On the entrees front, a well-charred flatiron steak ($29) is another fine example of the restaurant's upgrade of classic fare. The accompanying dollop of tarragon-flecked béarnaise is a classic bistro pairing for steak, while the prototypical steakhouse side of creamed spinach is surprisingly light here, barely kissed by a drape of melted butter. Crunchy flakes of sea salt give the dish a tactile quality that makes the meal a fully sensory experience. A side order of garlic-chive potato puree ($6) is perfectly silken with a green garlic flavor that evokes the verdant scents of a newly verdant farmer's market.
The strong bill of fare is bolstered by a terrific cocktail menu. The Arrangement ($12) is a boozy tour de force of mezcal, rye and falernum, a clove and almond-scented tiki bar staple. The juicy combination of blackberry, vodka and sauvignon blanc makes the Long Bottom Bramble ($10) a dangerously easy-drinking thirst quencher. And like at any worthy neighborhood tavern standby, half-priced specialty cocktails at happy hour are on offer to sweeten the deal, with small plates to fortify the stomach seven days a week.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER OMAR TUNGEKAR