Just across the border of Clinton Hill in Bed-Stuy, young professionals hell-bent on a securing a promising future populate a landscape that’s gentrifying quick enough to make your head spin. In the midst of it all lies Baron’s, a comfortable, farm-to-table chophouse that boasts tasty burgers, a short list of entrees, and a $1 Happy Hour oyster special that keeps locals coming back. It’s the same space as the defunct DeKalb Restaurant, and not much has changed with décor. A recent Sunday evening found us nestled in Baron’s back room, a spacious cavern featuring walls and ceiling lined with frosted, small-paned windows salvaged from a psych ward, and outfitted with old wooden tables and pew seating from an old church. Work from local artists lined the walls; the WillyBJazz band played familiar favorites to an appreciative crowd. In the quieter front room, guests with children dined under a Gothic wooden chandelier as the bartender mixed drinks behind the tall bar decorated with an old metal railing from a local firehouse.
Dipping back our heads to slide cool, briny Sewansecott oysters down our gullets, we couldn’t help but notice the tidy presentation of Baron’s popular house ground beef burger ($12), served on a wooden breadboard with a tiny galvanized pail of thick-cut fries. Chef Vitorio Bar touts his in-house butchering of Fresh Arcadian Pastures beef primals, saying it provides the tastiest, freshest cuts. We put it to the ultimate test by ordering the beef steak tartar ($12), topped with a sunny orb of egg yolk. It proved exceptional (well deserving of a better accompaniment than the toasted sesame seed buns it came with). So much so that we followed it with the grilled NY Strip ($26) au poivre, with creamed spinach and their famed cheddar polenta fries.
Although a bit more of the fat could have been trimmed, the steak was fresh, tasty and well-prepared. The polenta fries, available for $7 as a side dish, were crisp on the outside, creamy and cheesy on the inside. An order of brick pressed chicken ($18) drew raves from my dining companion, an avowed non-chicken lover. Served atop a pillow of mashed potatoes larded with braised bacon, mushrooms and chasseur sauce, the chicken was a lovely juxtaposition of crispy and smooth. Baron’s offers a nice roster of whites and reds by the glass, as well as an impressive selection of whiskey and single malt scotch. For dessert, crack through the burnt-sugar crust of their crème brulee to reveal the wealth of silky-smooth custard nestled in a tiny Mason jar. With a simple but interesting menu of mostly familiar favorites -- with a few surprises, like their merguez lamb sandwich ($14), reflecting the staff's Israeli roots -- Baron’s does what it does well, without overreaching.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER: WINNIE MCCROY