A grown-up spot in Clinton Hill, The Finch Brooklyn sets itself apart by focusing on stellar ingredients in a tranquil setting with nice wine.
WHO TO TAKE: YOUR BROOKLYN FOODIE FRIEND OR A DATE TO GET TO KNOW SOMEONE BETTER
Michelin restaurants always intrigue, so on a recent trek to Brooklyn I made a point of dining at The Finch. I had attended the taping of one of Jimmy Kimmel’s shows at BAM, (which was fabulous!) so was looking for something nearby. This was about a 15 minute walk, but very worth the hoofing. I had originally made a reservation for three people, but the number went up to five. When I called to make the change last minute, The Finch was able to make it happen. Nice.
The place is tucked away on a quiet street, and is housed in a townhouse’s lower level. The vibe is pleasantly serene, even when crowded. Wood and white, as in white-washed brick and white marble, surround an open kitchen, and long low bar with white stools. Running the show is Chef Gabe McMackin, formerly of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern, Roberta’s, who lends an artistic vision to high-end ingredients. Some dishes have some surprising combinations.
The wine was divine—a very drinkable, light red which seemed to go with everything. (see photo at the top of this post) It was a 2017 Carignan Blend from Martha Stoumen (Napa) called Post Flirtation—a light and fruity blend of Zinfandel and Carignan grapes. Photo, right, one of our appetizers looked almost too pretty to eat: Cured Steelhead Trout with Apples, Buttermilk & Bottarga.
We started with some small bites and shares, including the Chicken Liver Mousse which was accompanied by lots of thick bread and some sour cherries. This was a hit at the table. Photo right, seen behind the bar to the open kitchen.
The long bar sits in the center of the space, with a crisp, white marble counter. Photo, right, a colorful radicchio salad had a nice mix of bitter, sweet, and crunchy: Castelfranco Radicchio with Seckel Pear, Pine Nuts & Rosemary.
Another small bite: the Pork Belly came with caraflax cabbage, hackleback caviar and crème fraîche. Photo, right, the cozy dining area in the back.
The Roasted Chicken was probably the best dish of the night, and had a variety of flavors playing: sweet corn, chanterelle mushrooms and tomatillos. Photo, right, simple art graced the wall.
Berkshire Pork Served two ways, as a loin and rich croquette comes over a bed of polenta and carrots with guanciale, honeycrisp apples, and lime. Photo, right, for the health conscious: the Roasted Porgy with Cauliflower, Lemon & Boquerones.
It’s nice to find a place that’s not crazy loud, with amazing food, for a fun Friday night. If I lived near here, I would be going back again and again. Above, the scene at Brooklyn Academy of Music, the crowd is entertained while waiting for Jimmy Kimmel to arrive. Cool set.
The Finch, 212 Greene Ave (betw St James Pl/Grand Ave), Clinton Hill, Brooklyn