Magazine article The New Yorker

Braeburn

Magazine article The New Yorker

Braeburn

Article excerpt

The Braeburn apple sprang from a chance seedling, but the Braeburn in the West Village exudes careful cultivation. The restaurant's lines are both modern and rustic--sleek teardrop light fixtures appeal to the urbanite, alder-wood branches in the window to the ruralist. The bar area is done in dark wood, pussy willows fill a great vase, and waitstaff wear plaid shirts. The over-all effect is that of a highly sanitized farmhouse, and yet, for all the contrivance, the place comes by it honestly: the chef, Brian Bistrong, once worked on a farm in New Jersey; a painting of his pastoral home in Connecticut hangs on a wall. Still, the city can't help but intrude: on a recent evening, the dim room was pierced by the strobe of a police car's lights outside. "This is a busy corner," the bartender said. "They pull someone over every night."

Bistrong, who most recently was the chef at the Harrison, concentrates on simple, hearty fare: a thick sirloin steak, a nicely roasted chicken (birthplace: Pennsylvania). Above all, there's an attitude of respect--for the diner, for the cooks, for the ingredients. "I believe in saying hello and goodbye," Bistrong once told the Times. …

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