Taking its name from the majestic, weeping tree that canopies the boathouse at nearby Prospect Park, Camperdown Elm aims to be one with the elements.
Making good on its wood theme, the restaurant resident of Thistle Hill Tavern’s former corner space has run riot with salvaged materials—including a bar top fashioned from thick-cut yellow pine (via an old Williamsburg bakery), complimented by shelves made from beams from a New Jersey factory, butcher block table tops, and a kitchen pass framed by a 1909 fire mantle, from Knox Hall at Columbia University.
With earth further represented by a focus on seasonal ingredients, and an eye towards minimal waste, chef Brad Willits turns his attention to fire—offering up flame-baptized items like grilled cucumbers cloaked with ikura and buttermilk, fried, zeppole-esque muffins slathered in salted house butter, cubes of octopus and morcilla over smoke-imbued potato, and singed slices of lamb, coupled with carrots, pine nuts, farro and skyr. As for sweets, they’re as suitably ethereal as air—think “key lime” pie flavored with temperately tart sea buckthorn, and a tower of tiny strawberries anointed with anise hyssop, pistachios and a slim, slanted roof of meringue.
Camperdown has the water angle covered too, proudly serving unfiltered New York City tap, deployed into glass canisters displaying EPA certified lab results. And if guests insist on buying bottled, proceeds are donated to The Water Project, a non-profit that delivers safe, clean drinking water to those in need.
By tapping into these four spiritual essentials, Camperdown Elm has achieved optimal balance.
441 7th Ave, (347) 294-4786, Park Slope