10 years ago if you showed me a restaurant with exposed brick, old furniture, dimly lit bulbs, and a menu that focused on seasonal local cuisine, I’d say you’re on the tipping edge of the culinary movement. Today, this describes just about every new-ish restaurant in Brooklyn.
So how does Hunter’s Brooklyn differentiate itself from its Smith Street neighbors? The name and website implies a hunting theme, which is fully evident in the…… menu art. Strangely as you read the menu, there was little that resembled wild game, except for maybe the boar ragu. If I really, really tried hard to make the connections, I noticed that most of the guys are dressed like hunters: plaid shirts and jeans. Actually wait…. that’s just how folks dress in Brooklyn.
Inside the kitchen is Angelo Schifilliti, a former executive chef at Landmarc Tribeca, and his one time sous-chef Michael Nee providing a bit of Asian influence. The resumes are certainly strong, but how will the style of cooking translate from bankers to hipsters?
Going with the recommendations from the server, I opened the meal with mussels, served with red chard, dipped in a nicely flavored garlic miso-butter broth. The mussels were cooked very nicely, though I wished that the broth was a little thicker, to better coat the mollusks.
Next up was one of the three house made pastas. I went with the most outdoorsy choice, papardelle with boar ragu and wild mushrooms. There was a noticeable amount of minced garlic in the ragu, giving it almost a Chinese flavor. The pasta slices are large and hearty, combined with the heavy sauce, this could easily fill you up prior to the mains.
Milk & Honey Braised Pork Shoulder was a much lighter dish than expected, and a welcome change from the heavy pasta. The pork was cooked nice and tender, with just the right amount of fat to keep the flavor profile interesting.
Hunter’s is a solid neighborhood restaurant, and was already doing brisk business in its first week of operation. On a street lined with restaurants, how it’ll stand out and continue to refine the menu remains to be seen.
What does this rating mean?
From the Notebook: Hunter’s feature cheese and charcuterie from Stinky Bklyn next door. The meal was complimentary, but did not affect my opinion, nor were we required to write.
213 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201