Let’s be real here: Open up a restaurant that honors your dog, and we’re already halfway on board. Add in truly exemplary food and drink, all of it well under $20 (including a rummy, water bowl-sized cocktail called the Jinkx, also named after said dog), and you’ll have us sitting down, rolling over, and unabashedly begging for more.
For the less canine obsessed, it’s also worth noting that The Cynical Schnauzer—recently opened by Przemek Adolf, owner of the Smorgasburg regular/catering company, Saucy by Nature—is on its way to becoming almost entirely waste free. Due to the difficulties inherent in selling customers on dishes constructed from leftovers, Adolph may have deviated slightly from his original plan (i.e., using scraps from the catering business as inventory for the restaurant), but he’s still limiting his carbon footprint as much as possible, becoming one of few NYC eateries to initiate an aggressive compost program. They source exclusively from local businesses and small farmers, and focus largely on vegetables, buoyed by a mere taste of meat.
Conceived by chef Gus Ulrich (formerly of Gwynnett St., Esme, and The Elm), composed plates are kaleidoscopic with the colorful bounty of the greenmarket, from a circlet of end-of-winter sunchokes and candy-sweet cippolinis that lounge on a springy bed of snails, to fragments of grapefruit and lemon, tarting up an eccentric salad of chilled Maine mussels, crisped quinoa and wakame, and a bowl of lusty kohlrabi broth, crested with pudgy mackerel, along with vivid gemstones of whole crunchy radish, feathery tips still attached.
The most convincing stand-in for pasta we’ve encountered of late comes in the form of a cornucopia of purple, orange, and yellow carrot “carbonara,” cloaked in a voluptuous sauce of egg, pancetta and cheese. And while there’s plenty to appreciate about lacquered cubes of lamb belly, paired with tiny pinpricks of hand-pressed, Eastern European spaetzle, we couldn’t stop chasing accompanying platemates of pink lady apple and bitter treviso, slippery with slicks of whole grain mustard.
Priced at $6-10 a glass (take an additional half-off during happy hour), you can even afford a progression of wines—such as Denny Bini Lambrusco, Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet or Combel La Serre Cahors—to go with it. So if you find yourself in or around Clinton Hill this spring, commandeer a table at the Cynical Schnauzer, and enjoy its floor-to-ceiling windows flung out onto the street, with an antique tumbler of Riesling in your hand, the sun in your face, and your dog at your feet, of course.
884 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill
Photo via the Cynical Schnauzer’s Instagram