184 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene
From 11am to 4pm on weekdays, the Brooklyn Sandwich Society deserves its name, offering seven fancy sandwiches named for nearby streets. You might nibble on the $10 S. Elliott (a grilled cheese with nutty Fontina and grassy Pawlet) or feast on the $15 Cumberland (piled with rich honey-glazed pork belly, sweet pickled carrots, fresh cilantro and spicy kimchi aioli on fine pain au lait). However, at dinnertime, there’s only one sandwich on offer each evening. My friend, who had already paid the Brooklyn Sandwich Society a lunchtime visit, was happy that the dinner menu had more to offer than steeply priced sandwiches, but as someone who might rank “sandwich sampler” as my very favorite dinner option, I was sad there was only the single Thursday night special—the $13 Lafayette, a fresh-tasting but underwhelming trout burger with creamy lemon aioli and plenty of peppery arugula.
That said, the dinner menu does offer lots of elegant, seasonal dishes beyond the realm of the sandwich. Sweet circular slices of dried figs balance the wintery bitterness of the watercress salad ($9), and a generous drizzle of yogurt vinaigrette brings the two ingredients together with its tangy and creamy richness. A comforting and buttery griddled polenta cake is topped with lightly funky blue cheese, slightly spicy chicory and a sweet-tart honey balsamic glaze ($10). The ocean-fresh fluke crudo ($14) is plated as if to evoke the forest floor—perfect little pickled mushrooms scattered among green jalapenos and swirls of hot and citrusy sambal-yuzu vinaigrette. The space itself feels a bit deep-woods chic, with wide-rimmed barn lights hanging from tin ceilings and honey-colored wood-planked tabletops bringing warmth beside white subway-tiled walls.
Even if you weren’t up for a full meal, you could certainly slide into a stool at the wood-topped bar for a drink or two, pretending you were seated at the urban-rustic breakfast bar in the kitchen of a stylish friend. The house red, a light and juicy Côtes-du-Rhône, is served in an $8 carafe that pours a solid glass and a half, and the beer menu offers a well-curated selection of big, shareable bottles, like Brooklyn Brewery’s 750 mL Sorachi Ace ($20), a crisp, spicy and lemony saison, and respectable cans, including Back in Black, a dark, mellow and malty black IPA from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery ($6). For dessert, the pie-of-the-day was a tough-crusted butternut squash and walnut combo, which seemed like a spin on pumpkin pie and pecan pie that, unfortunately, didn’t improve upon its inspirations. The chocolate mousse, served in a little mason jar with bourbon-soaked cherries and chunky, crunchy crystals of sea salt, was a more successful sweet treat.
Photo courtesy Brooklyn Sandwich Society