2016 has felt predominantly defined by almost constant loss, from the untimely passing of celebrity idols, to the sworn dissolution of our civil rights. And while a bit less widely impactful, it bears acknowledgement that a staggering number of worthy restaurants fell victim to the purge as well.
Consider this list our cold and broken Hallelujah.
Luksus: While Greenpoint’s craft beer temple, Tørst, lives on (and will expand into the about to be vacated back room) it seems its adjunct New Nordic tasting resto remained too much of a spendy hidden secret — although Noma alum Daniel Burns still charged less than (and received just one Michelin star shy of) the newly celebrated Aska.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare: After trailing the promise of a Manhattan outpost for years (having gone so far as to lease a space and sign a dedicated chef, who since moved on to another project) César Ramirez seemingly up and stole away with his three Michelin-starred Chef’s Table in the night — vacating Downtown this past week for Brooklyn Fare grocery store’s Midtown location, where he’s already begun serving 13-course progressions of uni with truffle, caviar with sabayon and pate with trout roe.
Thistle Hill Tavern/Pork Slope: The Three King’s Hospitality Group seemed to have it made in Park Slope; after colonizing the area with an eccentric Asian eatery, a rustic tavern, and a porky melt-serving sports bar. Yet only Talde remains after 2016’s restaurant pogrom — although atleast the trio has kept on trucking with plans for Atlantic Social; an eclectic American pub right near the Barclay’s Center.
The Camlin: Not surprisingly, languishing sales were the reason cited for the December 23rd shutter of The Camlin; Mandy Oser’s Williamsburg follow-up to her humming Ardesia Wine Bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Pour out an off-the-beaten path bottle of the Bordeaux blend “Trellis,” from Boxwood Winery in Middleburg Virginia.
Ganso Yaki/Sushi Ganso: What the “Three Kings” were to Park Slope, Harris Salat certainly was to Boerum Hill, leapfrogging on the success of his ramen-ya to turn the slim BK strip into a mini Osaka. Yet his two newest ventures — a yakitori-focused street food spot and a spare sushi sanctum — were obviously struggling; in fact, a menu and concept overhaul was announced, mere weeks before their abrupt closure.
Tilda All Day: Foot traffic wasn’t the issue at Tilda All Day, which drummed up plenty of steady business with their week-round brunch concept and spectacular baked goods. Blame an ugly, protracted battle between the owners, and look for the remaining lease-holder, Samantha Safer, to relaunch as a cocktail and oyster bar in the future.
Fritzl’s Lunch Box: Dan Ross-Leutwyler hinted at the end of Fritzl’s a few months before pulling the plug; even attempting to sub-lease his space on Craigslist. So it wasn’t a tremendous surprise (although still plenty sad) when he officially vacated in June — leaving one of the borough’s most unilaterally praised burgers in his wake.
Isa: This particular shutter is not exactly a tragedy, considering it was replaced by Sunday in Brooklyn; which we counted amongst our favorite new restaurants of the year. And Isa’s former chefs have long gone on to bigger and better things too — with Jose Ramirez-Ruiz helming a certain Michelin and James Beard-recognized spot called Semilla, and Ignacio Mattos taking Manhattan by storm with Estela, Flora Bar and Café Altro Paradiso.
Willow: John Poiarkoff aimed to get his point of view across at Willow, since — having originally served as sous under opening chef, Angelo Romano — he faced an uphill battle when it came to shaping the culinary direction of The Pines. Though Willow withered within a year in its triangular confines under the C-train, we’re hoping the third time proves a charm for Poiarkoff at Denizen, and wish nothing but the best for the bitty Bed Stuy boite’s current tenant, Hart’s.
Applewood: Ugh, this is an era-ender, guys. We certainly can’t blame the Shea’s for abandoning Brooklyn for their Hudson Valley farm a few years ago, but it’s a major blow that they’ve officially taken their table out of the equation too, having all but introduced the borough to the terms “seasonal and locally-sourced.”
Pickle Shack: Our condolences, vegans/vegetarians. You can still find Brooklyn Brine’s pickles lining gourmet grocery shelves throughout the city, but you’re simply going to have to deep-fry them yourselves. (House-smoked Carolina BBQ pulled oyster mushroom and pine nut ricotta with sage-pecan pesto sandwiches might prove a bit harder to reproduce).
Bark Hot Dogs: Considering half the city’s chefs are angling to open fast-casual franchises (and Bark seemed well on its way to cornering the artisanal weenie market, with the opening of a Bleeker Street branch), it was a shocker when said outpost folded within 6 months — and a bigger upset still, when Josh Sharkey announced the shutter of the original Brooklyn location. On the bright side, it’s allowed him to double down on his efforts to eventually sell his top-notch dogs retail.
Northeast Kingdom: Don’t cry for longtime chef, Kevin Adey, who’s currently living his dream as proprietor of nearby, Michelin-rated Faro. But it certainly rankles to see a neon-illuminated branch of Artichoke Basille’s ever-growing pizza franchise, where one of Brooklyn’s most formative farm-to-table restaurants once stood. Ah well, at least we can relive happier times through this video, of our upstate ramp foraging exploits with owner Paris Smeraldo.