Thanks to Olmsted, neighborhood-y Prospect Heights has become a full-blown dining destination, with Manhattan’s complete contingent of restaurant rubberneckers anxiously awaiting tables while sipping rosé, in the eatery’s pastoral, largely consumable garden.
But just a block over, there’s a backyard that’s just as idyllic and only marginally less edible (boasting melons, pepper plants and a fledgling fig tree), that happens to be attached to a restaurant equally deserving of attention, with a kitchen run by another chef of note. Welcome to Faun–located in 606 R&D’s former space–which trumpets the heralded return of Brian Leth to Brooklyn, where he previously reigned as Vinegar Hill House’s most formative, formidable talent.
In his latest eye-catching home–owned and designed by a duo of architects, Carla Swickerath and David Stockwell–Leth stays true to the New American playbook he helped popularize, although this time, has a distinctly Italian bent. Bi-colored squares of late summer melon are stacked into Rubik’s Cubes and pelted with pumpkin seeds, ricotta salata and oregano, while soft rags of quadrucci pasta slump over bowls of burst tomato and cool mozzarella, lapped with brown butter and basil.
Over at the bar, a former VHH compatriot, Billy Nichols, supplements a sizable (also largely Italian) wine list with herbaceous, garden-garnished cocktails like the Halo Bender, featuring vodka, contratto, crème de violette and honey, along with the Sundowner, comprised of meletti, peychauds, dolin dry and rye. So divide your time while you can between Prospect Heights’ brand new duo of backyard-blessed oases, because once Faun really gets on Manhattanites’ finely tuned radars, it’ll be an uphill battle scoring a seat at either.
606 Vanderbilt Ave., (718) 576-6120, Prospect Heights
Photos by Jane Bruce