This restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, has been on my list to try for quite some time! So last Friday, after an impromptu trip to DUMBO to surprise Nana with a Chocolate shopping spree @ Jacques Torres, we decided to explore some more neighborhoods in Brooklyn. When I crossed Court Street I remembered that I've been thinking about checking out a lot of restaurants nearby, so we drove up Court Street and located a few on the way then found Buttermilk Channel.
From the outside our impression was that it would be an enjoyable place to dine, ambiance-wise, and if the food was as good as it's been touted to be. that would be a great bonus. Kept on driving discussing the reviews and dreaming about a day when we would go prepared to eat there.
Now neither of us is hungry so we do the IKEA shopping experience: (strolling the showroom and then hitting the marketplace) purchased one package of lime green cocktail napkins! I've never, ever, left Ikea having spent less than $3.00! Unless I was only there to measure and design!
At this point it's a little after 7 and the thought of going all the way back to Queens in Summertime Friday City-exiting traffic and then to start dinner was not a happy one. So we drove around Red Hook for awhile and found the Red Hook Lobster Pound, perfect! A Lobster Roll is just what the Doctor ordered! Whipped the car around to see that they were locking up....they close @7 p.m. Arghhhhhh!
Now we figure we're dressed OK for an outdoor cafe and we'll head back to Carroll Gardens and find something casual on Court Street or a side street.
As fate always plays it's hand at the most opportune times, I drove up Huntington Street to Court forgetting that Court is one-way! At the light of Huntington and Court we notice that we're at Buttermilk Channel--AND--there are empty tables outside--and better yet an EMPTY parking space directly across Court Street. I say--let's go for it! Nana agrees and I make a rather illegal maneuver with the car to snag the parking spot and we are now justifiably excited for dinner!
Buttermilk Channel is named after a tidal strait between Brooklyn and Governor's Island you can read the legends here. And a great interview with Doug Crowell, owner here; and of course one with Chef Ryan Angula here.
The biggest buzz about this restaurant is the Fried Chicken w/Cheddar Waffles and Savory Slaw. And all that Buzz is deserving! This is picture from their site:
We started with Grilled Flatbread with House-Made Buttermilk Ricotta, Squash Blossoms & Lemon Oil. It was a slice of heaven on our plates. The Creamy Ricotta had just enough body to keep the Flatbread crispy underneath the generous bed of cheese! And Squash Blossoms and Lemon Oil were the perfect bonuses! Score two points! Pictures are not great as they are from my Blackberry and photog I'm not!
Nana ordered the Caputo's Fresh Linguini with Sweet Corn, Roasted Mushrooms, Brown Butter & Pecorino and she loved it! It was a very healthy portion and provided her with enough for lunch!
I was really torn-the Duck Meatloaf was calling my name but ultimately I had to try the Fried Chicken. I was pretty sure that was the way to go but I still asked the advice of our waiter. He pointed out that we were dining outdoors in 90º weather and what better way to enjoy Fried Chicken and save the meatloaf for when we dined indoors or in the fall! And really, honestly, truly I was a very happy "picnicker" The chicken was crunchy on the outside and perfectly cooked, moist and tender on the inside. The waffle was a great foil for the chicken and the slaw just enough to ensure you ate your vegetables! Good thing Buttermilk Channel isn't on the corner of our block!
We drank a wonderful bottle of Vino Bianco from Channing Daugthers Winery from the Hamptons on Long Island. This blended table white wine as perfect for a hot day, very sippable al fresco, and excellent with our food choices. It's made up of: The 2007 version is made up of 32% Tocai Friulano, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Pinot Grigio, 9% Chardonnay (Dijon clone 96) and 17% Chardonnay (“Musque” clone). Crisp and golden in color, lots of tropical fruit flavors and a very slight hint of oakiness. Good thing, cause I'm not a big fan of any Chardonnay that is very Oaky.
We topped off our meal with one scoop of Van Leeuwan pistachio ice cream! Couldn't pass it up on a hot night. The perfect end of a great meal...another impromptu adventure and part of Nana's extended birthday celebration!
Our server, Doug, was quick, bright, efficient, friendly and just chatty enough to make our experience enjoyable beyond the setting and great food. Everyone we had contact with here were professional and friendly. We observed the hostess telling many people about the wait for tables inside and she always smiled and maintained her excellent demeanor while some of the potential guests expressed their frustration at least with visual facial expressions! Kudos to all for providing us with a great evening.
Throughout our time dining outdoors we watched the sky darken with clouds and become a bit threatening. Eventually, by dessert, there were some lightening flashes in the dark sky and we had joked with our waiter that we'd be grabbing and running inside if it started to rain. We asked for our check and it was brought with promptness. The second it was signed the first of many large drops of rain fell onto us. Nana grabbed the check and ran inside to return it to our waiter and thank him again, while I dashed across the street and got the umbrella out of the car. I went back to the restaurant and got Nana to the car in a dry state (for the most part). By the time we were a block away the downpour had lightened up to a drizzle. Listening to the radio on the ride back to Queens we heard all the reports of wind damage, rain-caused accidents AND that Manhattan had been under a tornado watch much of the time we were dining outdoors in Brooklyn! They also said the storm hit the Bronx, Queens and Long Island the hardest and seemed to barely skim over Brooklyn! Chalk that up to the same fate that provided us with a parking space and empty table at our new Favorite Brooklyn restaurant: Buttermilk Channel!
We'll be returning to Buttermilk Channel soon!