In the Summer 2014 issue of Brooklyn Magazine, we took some time to wax poetic about Brooklyn’s newest foodie destinations, which included the Myrtle Avenue/Broadway corner of Bushwick, a cross section of Crown Heights and, of course, Windsor Terrace, where three new restaurants and cafes opened this year. Tomorrow, one of the most highly-anticipated, Brooklyn Proper, will officially open its doors to what will surely be a loving neighborhood. We dropped by for their open house yesterday (and took plenty of pictures) and chatted with co-owners Ginger Warburton and Julian Mohamed (of Dear Bushwick fame). Here’s what visitors can expect.
What’s the concept behind Brooklyn Proper?
Julian: We’re bringing seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine to this neighborhood because there isn’t much along that line over here. Small to medium plates. The menu itself is very acceptably priced and the food is simple and clean and accessible for the neighborhood.
You’ve recruited Chef Caite Whitbeck to put together the menu. What makes her a good partner on this venture?
Julian: A lot of experience. She has some really solid experience and training. She’s from upstate. She’s always had an appreciation for farm-to-table. She studied at the Culinary Institute of America. She worked in Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ famous restaurant in Berkeley, California. She also worked with Jody Williams at Gottino and Buvette.
Meanwhile, you’ll run the bar program, Ginger. What can imbibers expect?
Ginger: I’m planning on a few different kinds of house-made vermouth. I’m commandeering them toward specific medicinal reasons like using eucalyptus for virility. And making wine and beer cocktails and having local beers and local ciders on tap. We’re not doing anything in bottles as far as beer goes. And then the idea is “natural and accessible,” making everything at a price point where everyone can come and enjoy a delicious glass. And that’s why the housemade is really fun because you can kind of play a little bit. Plus, making things in house is obviously cheaper. It’s all about the craft cocktail right now.
What’s the process behind making vermouth?
Ginger: It’s a fortified wine. So, to fortify anything, you add brandy, typically. I’m working with pisco, which is a grape brandy from Peru and from Chile, trying to keep things South American. You bump up the alcohol content to about 18 to 20 percent depending or less if you like and then serve it over ice. It’s delicious. The cooking gives it that oxidized flavor that vermouths have. You can make it dryer or sweeter.
Any final points to be made about Brooklyn Proper?
Julian: Not really. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have the opportunity to bring really good quality food to the neighborhoods that are underserved.
Brooklyn Proper (471 16th Street) will be open Sunday-Thursday from 5 pm to 11pm and Friday-Saturday from 5pm to 1am. Brunch hours will be announced soon.
Follow Nikita Richardson on Twitter @nikitarbk