Willow: A New Tree (Make That a Restaurant) Grows in Brooklyn

Willow All photos by Jane Bruce
All photos by Jane Bruce

You’d hardly expect to find a restaurant like Willow nestled directly under Franklin Avenue’s elevated C-train, flanked by a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Papa John’s and a Crown’s Fried Chicken. And yet, the intriguingly angled eatery—which somehow manages to seat 30 in its custom-crafted nooks and cozy corners, outfitted with exposed bricks and burnished walnut—is a tiny and multi-faceted diamond in the rough, which perfectly reflects the progression of stunning snacks and scrupulously constructed small plates planned for the bite-sized kitchen.  

This is The Pines team’s newest passion project—a chance for owner Carver Farrell and chef John Poiarkoff to finally the shake off the old ghosts and preconceived notions that have long dogged their Gowanus restaurant. Slated to open on April 2nd, the seasonally focused spot is equally committed to sustainable sourcing, natural wines and house-made everything, just a bit dialed-down, in order to suit the community and the space.

Not that Poiarkoff is underestimating his diners: The intended menu breakdown includes an abbreviated selection of Snacks, running from $6-15, that includes a $10 sampler of the day’s most interesting options, like a pork rillette ball with burnt orange caramel and bread crumbs, fried potato with anchovy mayo and black onion powder, fermented squash with dried leeks, and smoked fish mousse with rice. Small Plates, such as oxtail and potato pierogies with kimchi and sour cream, go for $8-17, and Large Format Dishes, which can be ordered in either half or whole portions, command $13-30 (the high-end includes 45-day dry aged Strip Loin from the Happy Valley Meat Company, although a 4-ounce piece can be had for 18 bucks).

Before The Pines was established, we hardly considered Gowanus to be a noteworthy restaurant hub. So we’re excited that—with the graceful and welcoming Willow—Farrell and Poiarkoff have decided to grow yet another tree in Brooklyn.

506 Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy willowbk.com

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