Brooklyn comes through

As promised, Gina, Kate, and I went out last night for our fancy dinner as part of Dine-In Brooklyn, an annual week-long extravaganza during which pricey Brooklyn restaurants offer a three-course dinner menu for $23. This is still more than I’d generally spend, but I like to take advantage of it because I’d never go to most of these restaurants otherwise.

We picked Chestnut, a restaurant in Carroll Gardens with a self-proclaimed “refined rustic” style. The lighting in the dining room was so cozy, and I loved how the wall of French doors allowed a view of Smith Street (one of Brooklyn’s most charming streets packed with amazing restaurants).

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Once we were seated, the server brought us rosemary foccaccia and whole wheat raisin walnut bread (plus pickles, but I let the other girls eat all of those because I’m not a fan). I had a slice of each bread dipped in olive oil.

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The foccaccia had a sprinkling of sea salt over the top and was sooooo good with the rosemary. And the raisin walnut bread was dense on the inside and crunchy on the outside because the crust was geniously studded with walnuts.

During these restaurant weeks, many restaurants offer a separate “downgraded” menu with just a few choices because they are stingy and don’t want to give away their best dishes for reduced prices. Chestnut, however, had the full menu available! The only catch was that certain items (the ones marked with smiley faces) would cost an extra $7 … but our server explained that even if we ordered two “smiley face” courses, the charge would still only be $7 (and not $14). That made me happy. So happy that, in an unprecedented maneuver, I decided to go smiley face all the way šŸ˜€

For my first course, I ordered the grilled octopus with sunchokes, kumquat, & fennel pollen:

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Let me just say that I love grilled octopus. I know that some are afraid of the suction cups:

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But if you are afraid, you really need to get over it because it’s sooooo good. The texture is similar to chicken, so it’s really not that scary. Gina and Kate each had a successful bite šŸ™‚

I had to taste everything at the table, of course, so I also had a “nugget” of Gina’s potato gnocchi with prociutto and oyster mushrooms.

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I generally don’t like gnocchi due to my potato-aversion, but I thought these had a very creamy inside texture with a bit of crisp on the outside. Gina, who has much more potato experience, thought they reminded her a little bit too much of tater tots.

Kate ordered the buckwheat crepe with faro, gravlox, and creme fraiche:

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This one was definitely a winner! The faro inside the crepe added a satisfying nutty chew, and the smokey flavor from the salmon infused the whole tower perfectly.

I continued the seafood theme for my main course because I so rarely cook fish (making arrangements for leftovers can be challenging) … and because it’s normally the most expensive thing on the menu. Here’s my wild striped bass with celeriac and spicy sopressata:

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This was so tasty! Another dish with a fun, crispy outside (seems to be a theme of this meal), as the salmon was pan-seared and then drizzled with orange olive oil. I loved the bed of celeriac and sopressata matchsticks.

(Side note: It was not lost on me that my more expensive selections arrived in the teeeeeeeeeniest portions. But that was probably a good thing since I had eaten about 100 pounds of produce earlier in the day!)

Gina ordered the chicken breast with sausage filling and potato gallette. The gallette was so impressive! A work of potato art:

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I tasted some of the chicken and stuffing, also delicious. I feel like a broken record, but everything that touched my lips at this restaurant tasted amazing!

Kate ordered the kabocha squash ravioli with pumpkin seeds and ricotta salata:

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Also super yummy. The sauce was sweet and buttery, and the cheese added just the right amount of tang.

And then it was time for dessert! I’m so lucky that my friends get just as excited about food as I do šŸ˜€

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I chose the chai affogato with cardamom ice cream and pistachio. I had no idea what that meant, but I accepted the challenge because (1) it’s hard to go wrong with dessert and (2) the flavor combo sounded unbeatable. I was kind of hoping for some sort of warm chai cake with cardamom ice cream on the side and a sprinkling of pistachios over the top. In reality, I got a cold tea ice cream float:

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Even though this dessert did not match up to my original fantasy, the flavor combo was still delicious, and I think it would be the ideal summer treat.

Gina’s choice was the chocolate budino (sort of like a warm lava cake) with peanut butter mousse:

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Ooooh, this was so rich! I had a microscopic bite, since the dessert was pretty microscopic to begin with, and the flavors completely exploded in my mouth.

Kate ordered the cheesecake with mixed berries and hibiscus syrup:

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I obviously had a bite of that, too. The mix of hibiscus syrup with thick graham cracker crust made me swoon.

To conclude, here’s some more evidence of the “refined-rustic” decor of the restaurant:

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This is the view of the bar from outside. The window looked so pretty, and if you inspect closely, you can see the wooden ladder behind the bar that the bartenders climb when they need things up high. Very charmingly “rustic,” if you ask me.

I had worried initially that I would leave the restaurant stuffed out of my mind because I really wasn’t that hungry to begin with, but I felt perfectly satisfied, thanks to all the reasonable portions. Chestnut was one of the best restaurant week experiences I’ve had, taking into account Manhattan’s restaurant week as well. Yay for food success!! We’re planning a restaurant week brunch for Sunday at a different restaurant, so we’ll see how that stacks up.

Do you have restaurant weeks like this in your town?

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25 thoughts on “Brooklyn comes through

  1. dailydulcie says:

    It sounds like you had a fantastic time. Look at all those fabulous dishes!! Going out to eat with friends is always fun. šŸ™‚

    In my little town, we unfortunately do not have restaurant weeks, so I am very jealous of you!! I would love that kind of thing.

    Have a great Thursday!

    Like

  2. fitforfree says:

    What a wonderful dinner!! I have to admit that your appetizer salad scares me a little, though!! (What is a sunchoke?!)

    I’ve never done any of the NYC restaurant weeks . . . bad, I know.

    Like

  3. Yasmin says:

    We have restaurant week in Dallas but I have never been able to experience it. You are so brave to try octopus…I have heard mixed reviews so have been afraid to try it.

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  4. Katie says:

    That looks amazing!

    We don’t have anything like this in the town where I live. It’s really no surprise considering there are less than 1,000 people and the only restaurants are a mom-and-pop diner, a sub shop in the gas station, 2 pizza joints and a knockoff Dairy Queen.

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  5. Tara says:

    The entire meal sounds/ looks amazing! Do you remember my friend Danny? From my time at Aunt Suzie’s? He now manages Chestnut! It’s a shame you didn’t see him there!

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  6. Hallie says:

    I LOVE restaurant week! They do it twice a year in San Diego. I’ve done it a girls’ night and a date night. Both excellent. This year, I decided not to do it because I figured it really wasn’t saving that much money ($30×2 plus tip and wine= a pretty penny) since when we go out to eat, we never order dessert and usually share an appetizer, you know? But anyway, if I wasn’t feeling so poor, I’d totally hit it up.

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  7. Danielle says:

    What a fun dinner. A restaurant near me celebrates their anniversary week by offering their menu with original prices from the week they opened in like the 60’s…super cheap.

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  8. verbalriot says:

    haha what a fun night out, all the food sounds awesome!

    Except octopus…It scares the crap out of me, I refuse to eat it!

    I’m lucky enough to have Brooklyn as my hometown šŸ™‚ but also unlucky because I’m up at school this week! ah, such is life

    Like

  9. Gina Boland says:

    I agree that Chestnut was a very good choice for Brooklyn Restaurant Week. One of the best in terms of menu options and food quality and I’ve done quite a few restaurant week meals. Haha, so that guy was the guy you thought that Tara knew, according to the comment above!

    Like

  10. raspberryrunner says:

    everything looks wonderful!!! my town does not have restaurant weeks like this, but i wish we did!! although one of my favorite restaurants does have a prixe fix menu everyday that is 3 courses for $25, so that’s sort of similar…

    i keep scrolling up and looking at that cheesecake! hibiscus syrup?! that’s awesome!!

    Like

  11. Susan says:

    I wish my town had a restaurant week!! I don’t think we have enough restaurants for it to be really fun though, I’ve already tried them all!

    Everything looks amazing! Do you eat the octopus suction cups? I think I could eat octopus, but I would probably have to cut those off šŸ˜›

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  12. Diana (Soap & Chocolate) says:

    Ooh that restaurant looks fab! I would have chosen that kabocha ravioli myself I think. Carroll Gardens is not so far from my apt so I should really be making the effort to take advantage of restaurant week, but it is just not happening so far! ARG. Looks like a great dinn! Were there any leftovers? šŸ˜‰

    Like

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