Patti Jackson spent years kicking around the New York City restaurant industry, first as a pastry chef and then on the savory side at restaurants like Le Madri, Alto, and i Trulli. But after returning from a sabbatical in Ireland, where her husband was sent for work, she decided it was time to do her own thing. “It was time,” she says. “I worked for great people, but I was tired of working for others.”
She picked up the lease on the old Egg space in Williamsburg — an address she says “couldn’t be better: It’s a perfect size, a chef’s dream” — and this week, she debuted Delaware and Hudson (135 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, 718-218-8191), which pays homage to the cuisine of this region.
“I spent a lot of time working for Italians, but my heart has always been in America,” she says. “I’m fascinated by American food and old-school things and the farmers markets. I wanted to do that kind of food. With regional food, it’s always southern or Californian. But there are great things to be had between Chesapeake Bay and Long Island and the Jersey Shore.” And the latter is what she’s celebrating here, via a nightly prix fixe menu that offers a rotating roster of dishes like chickweed pie, an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe; scrapple; and Maryland-style crabcakes that she learned from a woman in Baltimore who was the only person in her restaurant allowed to make them.
Her menu will follow the seasons, of course, but she’s putting less focus on that aspect of her plan: “I grew up in this region, and seasons are a part of it,” she says. “Without making a big deal of being farm-to table, locavore, seasonal — which you have to be now — that’s where we’re at. We’re going to treasure every drop of the tomatoes and Jersey corn and upstate apples and local fish.”
Lunch, which begins next week, will be a la carte, and it’ll feature other regional specialties. “We’re doing great sandwiches and things you don’t really get in New York,” she says. “It’s the weirdest thing that you can’t find them. You can only find burgers. We won’t have a burger — I love a good burger, but there other things to eat.” And weekend brunch will dabble in funnel cakes; lox, eggs, and onions; and corned beef hash.
Beverages venture beyond the Mid-Atlantic, particularly because it would be difficult to fill out a wine list from the region. “We have many unsung varietals,” says Jackson. “Lots of Italian wines, nice French wines, nice Spanish wines, and smaller varietals, all of which are great food wines.” Much of the bottle list, she adds, falls in the $30 to $60 price range. Beer drinkers should note the craft selections on tap and in bottle, which the owner says will rotate to match the seasons and food. She’s pouring lighter beers now, but expects to move into stouts and porters next fall.
Delaware and Hudson is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jackson expects lunch to start next week.