Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Kitchen (100 Frost Street, Brooklyn; 718-389-2982) has taken on plenty of roles over the past ten years: kitchen store, grocery, educators, and foodie community stalwart. Now the multitasking culinary hotspot is celebrating a decade of business by opening brand new counters focusing on precisely curated meat and fish.
“We opened ten years ago, and we’d been living in the neighborhood for a while before that,” says Taylor Erkkinen, who founded Brooklyn Kitchen along with Harry Rosenblum. “I guess I was emerging out of my delayed adolescence and staring to think of myself as an adult. I was getting married. I was going to more dinner parties than party-parties. I was cooking more, and taking care of myself, and thinking about what I was eating. Brooklyn Kitchen grew out of that. We wanted to create a gathering space for people who love cooking too.”
It was vital for the duo behind Brooklyn Kitchen to be open to change — especially in a neighborhood that has evolved over the past decade with reclaimed factories, “Defend Brooklyn” protests, waterfront redevelopment, an influx of hipsters, and the stroller revolution.
“We started with books and, like, eight knives,” Erkkinen says of their first days in business. “Then we then expanded our kitchen tools, and started doing classes, and then produce. It feels like a natural evolution to finally be able to have a meat and fish counter.”
Meat has always been a signature part of the Brooklyn Kitchen experience, even though it previously wasn’t sold in the store.
“We used to have butchery classes — even in our first store on Lorimer Street, which was pretty small and really not set up for produce at all,” says Erkkinen. “When we had a delivery of a whole steer and two 220-pound pigs yesterday, it reminded me of those early classes because it felt like suddenly we had too much meat for the space. Back then, we couldn’t sell the meat. So once the class was over, we’d let people choose cuts, and put them in random plastic bags to take home. We were always left with the head — which nobody wanted — so Harry and I would take it home and make batches of headcheese. That was before we had kids, and had more time to get weird.”
The new meat and fish counters, carefully curated by Rex Workman (Fun fact: his initials are R.A.W.),
is built on a network of producers who are connected through the Good Food Awards.
“We all meet together, and we have an identity of being outside the great food-selling cabal of businesses. We’re all looking to celebrate people who make great products, so largely through those connections we found some amazing producers,” says Erkkinen. Highlights include Meiller Farm’s pork and grass-fed beef as well as lamb from Sullivan Farms.
“We’re the only place in New York where you can buy Tender Belly Bacon, which comes from Denver, Colorado,” says Erkkinen. “And I’m really excited about the Swiss-style charcuterie from Olympia Provisions [which is based in Portland, Oregon]. That delivery just arrived today. The sausages are so good!”
The fish counter, made by Brooklyn Kitchen’s neighbors Advanced Steel Fabrications, is stocked with responsibly caught, seasonal fish and shellfish. Keep an eye out for Rhode Island Squid, Acme Fish’s locally smoked fish from Greenpoint, and plump portions of smoked salmon from Mount Kisco’s Red Salmon Smokehouse.
“Harry grew up in a big fish household, so this is such a passion project for him,” explains Erkkinen.
As always, tips on preparing meat and fish, as well as specially focused classes, will be de rigueur at Brooklyn Kitchen.
“That’s really what I love most,” says Erkkinen. “Talking about food and cooking, and sharing advice. That’s really the root of it. We want to help people cook in a style that they’re going to enjoy. Having amazing, fresh fish and cuts of meat is just part of that.”