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RED HOOK TAVERN

BEST NEW BISTRO

RED HOOK TAVERN

SHORTLISTED BY BISTRONAUT #1

WHO
Hometown hero Billy Durney splashed onto the NYC restaurant scene 6 years ago with Hometown Bar-B-Que, arguably New York’s best bbq joint, which was quite a feat considering Billy, a former bodyguard and Brooklyn native, had never operated a restaurant before. For his long-awaited second spot, Red Hook Tavern adds another dining destination to a somewhat less trafficked corner of Brooklyn. This time, he’s focusing on more than just meat, and creating a relaxed ambiance for denizens to knock back some excellent natural wines, tuck into an incredible burger, or enjoy chef Allison Plumer’s cooking.

FOOD
I’ll wager this Wedge Salad is the most satisfying wedge in New York right now, with romaine leaves dressed to perfection and topped, with Billy’s thick cut smoky slab bacon from Neuske’s. - $16
Another standout were the country ham croquettes. Mixed with cheddar and rolled in rye breadcrumbs before frying, they’re Billy’s take on the NY classic ham and cheese on rye, served with a smear of dijonnaise sauce. - $8
It wasn’t immediately clear that we were supposed to scoop the Roasted Corn with ‘nduja up and eat with the radicchio leaves accompanying it but it was a refreshing bite. - $16
The standout, as everyone will say, is the Dry Aged Red Hook Tavern Burger. There’s nothing fancy about this burger at first site, though in its simplicity lies perfection. A melted curtain of American cheese drapes over a thick, crisp, hockey puck of a burger patty that sits atop a slice of white onion, accompanied by a single hefty pickle spear and 3 wedge fries begging you to focus on the meat. Subtract a teensy half point for being served with a half-sour (not full) pickle, but otherwise this dish is the nearest to burger nirvana we’ve had in some time. If anyone knows how to season beef, it’s Billy Durney. Amen, brother. - $22
DRINKS
Having recently gotten more into natural wines, Billy put a beautiful list together for a range of options by the glass ($12-25). I’m not sure how many taverns have a $400 bottle of Champagne on the list but the owner’s love affair with wines is on full display in a rich selection of good juice.
A list of "Curated Classic" cocktails (from $13) harken back to an older era, and are attributed to the time and place of their creation, like the Modder River à la The Savoy Hotel, 1920s. The lovely-named Temperance Cocktails are $9 and seem more than an afterthought. Beers are $6-8 and rep Brooklyn hard, with Threes Brewing, Folksbier and Other Half brews available.
DECOR
A tavern by name as well as style, the wooden finishes inside help create a homey vibe, but a cozier option to the individual tables would have been old school booths. Old timey lanterns and wallpaper and a piano add some vintage charm but the place feels decidedly new.

NOISE
Moderate. But you’re probably coming here to see the local artists and edgy Red Hook residents hanging out and having a raucous, good time with each other anyway.

SEATING
Wood tables and chairs in front of and around the large impressive bar and bar stools that span the entire room.

VIBE
Packed bar on a Sunday night filled with locals and burger aficionados alike.

SERVICE
Friendly and helpful.

WOULD RECOMMEND
You know it’s a good sign when you scheme about getting back there fast to eat another wedge salad and burger all to yourself.

WHO
Hometown hero Billy Durney splashed onto the NYC restaurant scene 6 years ago with Hometown Bar-B-Que, arguably New York’s best bbq joint, which was quite a feat considering Billy, a former bodyguard and Brooklyn native, had never operated a restaurant before. For his long-awaited second spot, Red Hook Tavern adds another dining destination to a somewhat less trafficked corner of Brooklyn. This time, he’s focusing on more than just meat, and creating a relaxed ambiance for denizens to knock back some excellent natural wines, tuck into an incredible burger, or enjoy chef Allison Plumer’s cooking.

FOOD
I’ll wager this Wedge Salad is the most satisfying wedge in New York right now, with romaine leaves dressed to perfection and topped, with Billy’s thick cut smoky slab bacon from Neuske’s. - $16
Another standout were the country ham croquettes. Mixed with cheddar and rolled in rye breadcrumbs before frying, they’re Billy’s take on the NY classic ham and cheese on rye, served with a smear of dijonnaise sauce. - $8
It wasn’t immediately clear that we were supposed to scoop the Roasted Corn with ‘nduja up and eat with the radicchio leaves accompanying it but it was a refreshing bite. - $16
The standout, as everyone will say, is the Dry Aged Red Hook Tavern Burger. There’s nothing fancy about this burger at first site, though in its simplicity lies perfection. A melted curtain of American cheese drapes over a thick, crisp, hockey puck of a burger patty that sits atop a slice of white onion, accompanied by a single hefty pickle spear and 3 wedge fries begging you to focus on the meat. Subtract a teensy half point for being served with a half-sour (not full) pickle, but otherwise this dish is the nearest to burger nirvana we’ve had in some time. If anyone knows how to season beef, it’s Billy Durney. Amen, brother. - $22
DRINKS
Having recently gotten more into natural wines, Billy put a beautiful list together for a range of options by the glass ($12-25). I’m not sure how many taverns have a $400 bottle of Champagne on the list but the owner’s love affair with wines is on full display in a rich selection of good juice.
A list of "Curated Classic" cocktails (from $13) harken back to an older era, and are attributed to the time and place of their creation, like the Modder River à la The Savoy Hotel, 1920s. The lovely-named Temperance Cocktails are $9 and seem more than an afterthought. Beers are $6-8 and rep Brooklyn hard, with Threes Brewing, Folksbier and Other Half brews available.
DECOR
A tavern by name as well as style, the wooden finishes inside help create a homey vibe, but a cozier option to the individual tables would have been old school booths. Old timey lanterns and wallpaper and a piano add some vintage charm but the place feels decidedly new.

NOISE
Moderate. But you’re probably coming here to see the local artists and edgy Red Hook residents hanging out and having a raucous, good time with each other anyway.

SEATING
Wood tables and chairs in front of and around the large impressive bar and bar stools that span the entire room.

VIBE
Packed bar on a Sunday night filled with locals and burger aficionados alike.

SERVICE
Friendly and helpful.

WOULD RECOMMEND
You know it’s a good sign when you scheme about getting back there fast to eat another wedge salad and burger all to yourself.

CHEF

Allison Plumer

OPENING DAYS

Open for dinner. Closed Monday.

RESERVATIONS

By phone or online, a few days in advance.

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