In the last couple of years, the dream team (Massoni is in charge of all things front of house, top mixologist Bush works the bar, and Talde is executive chef), have launched two of the borough’s most critically acclaimed, perennially packed eateries — the Asian-fusion restaurant TALDE and the meat-loving roadhouse, Pork Slope — and are given to frequent, unashamed declarations of love for each other on twitter and facebook.
But now, the threesome’s personal and professional bond is absolute, with Talde stepping in as chef and part owner of Bush and Massoni’s inaugural Park Slope institution, Thistle Hill Tavern.
While the renowned burger and salt and pepper fries remain menu fixtures, the remaining stable of comfort food classics get what is quickly becoming the recognizable, Dale Talde bent — namely, a bath in Frank’s Red Hot or sriracha, a dip in rice flour, and an infusion of smoky, sultry pork product whenever possible.
Think a side order of the otherwise virtuous kale, cooked collards-style beyond all recognition, nutritional value sublimated by a slow braise in chunks of spicy pancetta.
And chicken wings fanatics can almost trick themselves into thinking a platter of Buffalo cauliflower is healthy — the tender florets swimming in a puddle of Talde’s best-beloved hot sauce and snowed over with a tumble of crumbled blue cheese.
Then there’s the meat — masquerading as, well, meat — a grilled, 14oz. black angus ribeye with compound butter, a red wine braised short rib with roasted root vegetables and horseradish sour cream, and a smoked 16oz Lucki Seven pork chop with sweet and sour onions and a saw-toothed knife at its side.
Add in hearty accompaniments like toasty crocks of fontina, grana padano, pecorino and provolone studded mac and cheese, and bracing cocktails like the Brooklyn Eagle (makers mark, combier, carpano antico, lime juice), and you’ve got a menu well-befitting Massoni, Bush and Talde’s jovial, hungry-man fraternity.