Chef Andrew Karasz, formerly of Django, has recently opened Breukelen in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The brand of seasonal, New American/Mediterranean cooking that Breukelen offers has become endemic in Kings County, but Breukelen stands out for the quality of its cooking. I hesitate to call it “comforting” because the term is so overused, but there’s something about the generous and skilled — but conventional — plates that’s relaxing. The neighbors seem to think so, too, as the place is packed nearly every night. If you can’t get a table, grab a stool at the bar.
One night, an appetizer special (shown above) of sardines with an herbaceous salad and peppery rouille provided an invigorating start to the meal.
Likewise, you’d do well to try the appetizer of spiced, fried squid with a salad of shaved fennel and avocado, though the salad is mouth-puckeringly tart with lemon.
And this I could eat every day — a seared, medium-rare wild Alaskan salmon fillet swamped with clam chowder. The chowder is everything a chowder should be but often isn’t: creamy without being starchy or gloppy, replete with sweet clam (both in and out of the shell) and bolstered with chunks of bacon and potato. And the homemade oyster crackers scattered throughout are so buttery and flaky that they might be miniature, toasted biscuits.