Here's an Early Taste of the Surprisingly Affordable Concord Hill
Concord Hill (374 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn; 347-463-9322) looks like almost every other restaurant opened recently. It's minimally designed, with wooden floors and wooden tables and incandescent lighting. In short, it has that Ace Hotel-like look that everyone seems to strive for. But it was opened by a partner in the always reliable Westville chain, and 48 hours removed from my meal, I'm still thinking about it.
Inside the small, candlelit wood emporium, De La Soul plays at a low volume, and a small staff of cute female Brooklyners waits tables (they're so cute, in fact, that it didn't bother us when they asked how each dish was before we had even taken a bite).
Though it's only been open a month, Concord's original opening chef, Roberta's alum and the Pines founding chef Angelo Romano, recently parted ways with Concord's owners to pursue other interests. Chef Daniel Navarro -- who previously worked at the Cleveland, that now-shuttered Nolita spot -- now helms the pass, and he's turning out a simple menu with a few apps, salads, sandwiches, and mains.
Photo by Tara McFarlane
The wine and drink list is nothing to write home about, but it's refreshing to see a restaurant offering a carafe of country red for under $20. In fact, nothing on the menu is over $20. And first bites indicate that this place is good -- really good.
Toast selections (three for $13) are a nice way to start; they're served on crunchy and slightly funky country bread. Don't miss the radish and bacon toast, topped with smoky, crunchy bacon bits. Consider next the swiss chard caesar salad. Composed of swiss chard and an anchovy-heavy dressing, the salad is tossed with sliced caper berries, and comes out earthy and fresh.
In the sandwich department, look for Concord's roast chicken dip sandwich ($14), a take on a french dip wherein chicken replaces beef. It's served on a wide toasted baguette, and the tender roasted chicken sits underneath buttery caramelized onions. Gone is the typical side of under-flavored au jus; in its place sits a bowl of deeply sapid broth you could eat with a spoon. You also get salsa verde, which is pungent, flavorful, and neon green. It would be the ultimate sauce on just about anything, but it goes particularly well with this crunchy sandwich.
Instead of the usual $7 dish of brussels sprouts, Concord offers a side of long beans, which are tossed with sambal chile paste and served with a small mound of pecorino cheese. The beans are spicy and slightly crunchy, and the dairy adds nice harmony.
For dessert, don't miss the banana cream pie, essentially a dorm-room version served in a bowl with Nilla-like wafers and fresh whipped cream. This sums up the restaurant perfectly: a fun take on delicious food.
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