It’s self-evident why chefs are in their glory come spring and summer, exceedingly little is required in order to augment verdant wild ramps, voluptuous tomatoes, or ambrosial ears of corn. Fall, however, requires a whole lot more finesse, it takes real doing to cull something truly special out of shelf-stable produce like squash.
That said, Brooklyn’s ambitious young restaurateurs are always up for a challenge, which is why—partly to raise our own spirits about the season—we asked what’s got them (genuinely) excited for autumn.
Netty Davit’ashvili (Owner of Cheeseboat in Williamsburg):
We are excited about the colors of fall and especially soup season. Georgian cuisine is mostly meats, stews, dumplings and of course, cheese bread, which is so perfect for cold days. We will also be bringing traditional autumn desserts from the streets of Tbilisi to Cheeseboat, such as pumpkin baked with brown sugar and imported Georgian honey, as well as Pelamushi, made mainly with pressed, condensed grape juice and flour, and Churchkhela, a sausage-shaped candy made by repeatedly dipping a long string of nuts in tatara – a mixture of flour, sugar and badagi (concentrated fresh grape juice).
Ryan Angulo (Chef and co-owner of French Louie in Boerum Hill):
I always get excited about squash, and I’m always thinking of new ways to prepare it. One thing I’ve been doing lately is grilling them whole. This works best with delicata, sweet dumpling, or small acorn squash. I throw them on the grill till the flesh gets lightly charred and the squash starts to feel tender. I cool them completely, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Your choice as to remove the skin or not, either way it comes off super easy cooked this way. I made this the other night at a friend’s house, drizzled with a little olive oil and rosemary, it was so simple and delicious it will definitely be my go to way to prepare it for the fall.
An Nguyen Xuan (Chef and owner of BEP in Williamsburg):
I’m excited for soups! Not just pho hu tieu and other Vietnamese soups but also ramen. And pumpkin or butternut squash soup, as well as pot eu feu, poule au pot, pozole, birria…there’s no greater satisfaction than a cup or bowlful in fall!
Silvia Barban (Chef and co-owner of LaRina Pastificio & Vino in Fort Greene):
Summer and spring are amazing. But fall is a challenge; it’s a transition of colors and leaves but also of food. Now it’s time for nutty, complex, strong, warmer flavors. I love to use to pumpkin and chestnuts, they are my favorite ingredients in the fall season and I especially like how you can play with both ingredients in the realm of savory or sweet.
Kevin Adey (Chef and owner of Faro in Bushwick):
I’m excited for fall because nothing goes better with pasta than a braised pork hock. Fall is the season to marry slow cooked food with delicate filled pastas.
David Stockwell (Co-owner of Faun in Prospect Heights):
We’re pretty stoked about our prep kitchen not being over 100 degrees every day! Other than that, right now is by far the best time for local produce – our garden is still strong with summer-y stuff like basil and cherry tomatoes, and then you’ve got the fall lineup coming in on to of it – pumpkins, turnips, pears… For these few short weeks, sky’s the limit for a locally sourced dinner menu.
Mike Fadem (Chef and co-owner of Ops in Bushwick):
I’m sure I’m not the only one who will say winter squash, but it is super exciting. There are so many varieties, all with unique textures and flavors to work with. We have our first butternut squash coming today. Can’t wait to roast them in the wood oven.