Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Iris Cafe Store #9

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Iris Cafe Store #9

Article excerpt

TABLES FOR TWO

IRIS CAFE STORE #9

20 Columbia Pl., Brooklyn (718-722-7395)Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Entrees $16-$32.

On this most Brooklyn of streets--one of those blocks in the Heights that looks dreamt up by Auden, or perhaps Dunham--there could be no Manhattan. "We're out of sweet vermouth," the waitress explained. "How about an Old-Fashioned?" (Another thing missing from the drinks offerings: anything approaching a gimmick.) It's impossible to stay mad at Iris Cafe Store #9, which feels like the best-kept secret in a neighborhood that's known less for its interesting dining than for its streets named after fruits. The restaurant, an old storefront done up with Edison bulbs and fresh flowers in the window, started as a breakfast joint, famous for its exceptionally sticky buns and rustic feel. For the past year, locals have been wandering in after work to enjoy a modest but lovely dinner service that's conversant in the cliches of the borough--think kale croquettes--but never succumbs to them.

You will have by now guessed the basics: a menu that changes frequently, a kitchen that encourages sharing. But you might not have predicted that the obligatory tomato-and-burrata appetizer is served on miniature scallion pancakes, resulting in a deeply satisfying mix of temperatures (room temperature, cool, straight out of the deep fryer) and textures (juicy, smooth, crunchy). Similarly, those kale croquettes take the "Put an egg on it" routine, by now familiar to all who have eaten at farm-to-table establishments, to the next level, because the egg yolk is cured, and then in its dehydrated state grated on top. …

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