I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published August 3rd 2011
New York's slow food movement has rightly made itself perfectly at home in Brooklyn, especially at Colonie, where warm and rustic meets country fresh. Located on Atlantic Avenue just off of Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, the wood-lined Colonie with its brick-walled dining area, open kitchen, and large bar in front is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. And with its limited farm-to-table menu, you needn't get caught up in the latest food trends in order to enjoy a meal here. In fact, Colonie's simplicity seems to be its greatest strength.
Chef Alex Sorenson, formerly of Mas (Farmhouse), is reportedly somewhat of a magician with mushrooms, which is overwhelmingly clear after tasting his exotic roasted oyster mushroom plate with fresh garden greens that takes on all the flavor of a wonderfully rich and meaty main course. Much of what you'll enjoy at Colonie is simply prepared and meant to be appreciated for exactly what it is, not drenched in a complex sauce or marinade. You'll enjoy the roasted half-chicken served on a bed of scallions and mustard sauce or seared scallops sitting atop a kabocha squash purée.
Colonie is romantic with its atmosphere of warm candlelight and wooden tables. Take a spot near the open kitchen and let Sorenson make menu suggestions, or just grab a small table in the rear where you'll hardly be disturbed, save for the routine delivery of food and drink. Though Colonie can be bustling at times, take things slow and enjoy a variety of small plate options like Ricotta Gnudi, Spring Pea Agnolotti, Ricotta with Olive Oil and Honey, or Grilled Escarole with Shishito Peppers and Bottarga. With moderate prices for most plates, you'll want to try a few and switch for tasting and pairing with several wine selections from Colonie's changing, delicious varieties.
Colonie shines most on the weekends for brunch. Instead of your usual fare, come by, sit at the communal table, and enjoy a pastry from the basket before savoring Sorenson's Mushroom Egg Toast with Parmesan Cheese and Herbs ($12) or Duck Hash with Slow-Poached Egg and Fingerling Potatoes ($13). Either way you'll want to pair your meal with one of Colonie's refreshing brunch-inspired cocktails like its Blood Orange Mimosa or Ruby Red Margarita. Now that's how to ease into another week.