In Good Spirits at the Bell House


The Manhattan Cocktail Classic is but a month away, but don’t think that would stop me from pouring artisanal alcohol down my throat in the meantime. Thank god for Edible Brooklyn‘s Good Spirits event at the Bell House last night. Some of Kings County’s most beloved restaurants–such as Fette Sau, No. 7, and the Vanderbilt–paired delicious eats with cocktails from small-batch distillers for a night I barely remember but I’m sure was quite pleasant.

The first thing I saw as I walked in the door was the familiar sight of bow-tied servers from Walter Foods handing out Blue Point oysters. The Williamsburg restaurant has one of the best raw bars in Brooklyn, and they quickly went through more than 500 oysters, which they paired with a Pimm’s Cups made with Death’s Door gin, which, according to their website, has been endorsed by Rachel Maddow. Sorry conservative Pimm’s Cup fans!

Anyway, as I squeezed my way through the immense crowd, I noticed a particularly long line waiting for a man who was intensely flipping tiny tortillas. It was the Park Slope spot Palo Santo serving the most popular dish of the night: tacos stuffed with boar covered in a rich and decadent mole negro, matched with shots of Illegal Mezcal Joven and a sangrita chaser. It’s one of the few times in my food-writing career that a single, tiny sample at one of these huge events convinced me I absolutely must visit a restaurant I’d never been to before, G train be damned.

The night was just beginning. I spotted husband-and-wife duo Rae and Noah Bernamoff slicing up some serious smoked meat from their newly opened Montreal-style spot Mile End, which went perfectly with the Rick’s Picks that one pleasant lady was carrying around on a tray. Fette Sau’s Duroc pork belly, served on a polenta crisp, was as fatty and delicious as expected, and went well with the Gardiner (Hudson Corn Whiskey, lime juice and simple syrup). The Vanderbilt, Saul Bolton’s relatively new gastrolounge, was serving some killer beef jerky, a spicy and tender treat that I could have eaten five pounds of.

I needed a pick-me-up so I went over to talk to the tattooed and smiling Theresa von Fuchs of Dallis Coffee, who served me the strangely epic-sounding Mocha Highland Rebellion, a mix of espresso, whiskey, half and half, chocolate foam, and grated cacao nibs. I checked to make sure my heart hadn’t exploded and then moved on to the Farm on Adderly’s pork, beef, and lamb-blend meatballs, skewered along with roasted parsnip and pickled fennel.

The cocktail of the evening? That would be the rose petal gin, Campari, and Chartreuse, a refreshingly clean and simple reprieve from the unusually warm night. Tipsy and with my belly full of more species of animals than should be consumed in a single evening, I said my goodbyes to the good folks at Edible Brooklyn, my bartender from Spuyten Duyvil, and other assorted foodies of good standing and waddled out into the warm night.