336 State St, Boerum Hill
No matter that it’s barely been open a week: Grand Army is officially Brooklyn’s hottest new bar. It was a given from the get-go, considering the cocktails are devised by co-owner and star mixologist Damon Boelte, who also designed the well-regarded bar program at Prime Meats; the antique-y interiors come courtesy of American Construction League’s Matthew Maddy, who was recently nominated for a James Beard award; and photographer Daniel Krieger is a partner as well, all but assuring the Boerum Hill watering hole thousands of followers on its Instagram account, and regular mentions on Eater.
But when you consider how many Brooklyn restaurant bigwigs also have skin in the game, including Mile End’s Noah Bernamoff and Rucola’s Julian Brizzi, you’ll also know that there’s more to the food program than pub burgers and oysters—and we’re not talking the $1 Blue Points during happy hour kind. The second an establishment starts fleshing out its menu with uni, boquerones, and other fiddly, preciously priced plates of seafood, it becomes abundantly clear that it has much loftier aspirations than merely wooing the after-work beer crowd (although, it should be noted, there’s quite an interesting, sizeable selection of saisons and sours). Consider too that the executive chef is Jon Bignelli, who was last seen shaving pastrami onto mustard-sauced strands of rye pasta, and crafting oyster crackers from real oysters at Wylie Dufresne’s Alder. Which, actually, makes a post at Grand Army a bit of an odd choice for the master culinary manipulator—now primarily tasked with sourcing perfect shellfish. (more…)