Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prime Meats: Locally Sourced Meals in Brooklyn

Prime Meats, sister restaurant to Frankies 457 Court Street Spuntino, is nestled on the corner a few storefronts down the block from its sibling.  It, unlike the Italian cuisine of the original restaurant, is mainly German-influenced, a tribute to the original German heritage of the area.

Going back to Carroll Gardens is like a time warp for me. I remember sitting at my great grandmother's house, eating the famous Brooklyn style pizza, and always making a stop at the infamous Court St. pastry shop. So, I was excited to venture back down again.

When we walked down Smith Street and Court Street, we discovered that much has changed. Sushi bars are now intermingled with the Italian joints that have been there forever. We first stopped at Frankies 457 to attempt to grab a bite of Italian cuisine only to find that their was an hourlong line at 8:30 on a Tuesday night (recession in Brooklyn anyone?). They directed us to Prime Meats, which we actually already had in mind after reading a recent review.

Upon entering, I felt as if I could be in an early 20th century tavern. The bartender was dressed in classic attire, pouring wines and mixing cocktails. Within a few minutes, we were escorted out back to the patio seating. Unfortunately, after a brief look at the menu, I realized that Prime Meats was cash only. So it was back down the street to the bank. I had told my guest that she should order drinks for us in the meantime. When I had returned I sat down to only the water I had left with. I asked, and our server still hadn't returned to the table. So after getting the server's attention, we ordered drinks: a local beer (Sixpoint Righteous Rye) and cocktail (Mayanne Fizz, made with Old Tom Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, diced strawberry, and sparkling wine). 
The Mayanne Fizz wasn't exactly what we expected; it tasted like horrible cough medicine. The waitress insisted the drink had been perfectly prepared, but was happy to bring a replacement. The next drink we ordered was superb, making me believe that the bartender was talented at mixing decent cocktails. Our food finally arrived with all the appropriate accompaniments (ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard for the burger and Bavarian mustard for the rest). We had ordered the Prime Meats Burger, for which the establishment has received notoriety, and Sürkrüt Garnie (chouchrote garnie). The burger, made with a half pound Creekstone Farms Black Angus patty, housemade sesame roll and malolactic fermented dill pickle, was absolutely delicious. Juicy and cooked properly, the burger actually tasted like beef. The malolactic fermented pickle tasted like a well-made malolactic fermented wine with the crunch and sourness of a delicious pickle. The only disappointment were the fries, which tasted like frozen fries, and that the mayonnaise was not house-made.

The Sürkrüt Garnie, a Bavarian classic, was delicious, and included slow cooked pork belly, Thuringian bratwurst, calf tongue and knackwurst, served with housemade sauerkraut. The tongue and pork belly were braised to perfection and tasted delicious. The potatoes on the plate could have used about another pound of salt, but the sauerkraut was quite flavorful with the addition of the Bavarian mustard served on the side. I also ordered a house-made pretzel, which was very oddly shaped but tasted good. The only element the dish lacked was color. The kitchen tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to make up for it with the addition of chopped chives.

Overall, the food was excellent with some minor adjustments. The lacking part of our meal was service. It was slow and not very helpful: mediocre at best. The server only seemed to brighten up after we started discussing that the ingredients were mainly sourced locally (Pennsylvania, the Hudson Valley and Red Hook) and the importance of that in the upcoming years.

If you're in Brooklyn and craving a locally-raised, grass fed burger, there is no other substitute. It looks like word has gotten out; when we were leaving, around 10 o'clock, the place was packed.

Apollo's Cred Rating: 6.5/10
Appetizers: $8 - $13
Entrees: $13 - $32
Wines: $8 - $12 glass, $29 - $55/bottle with a very good selection
Cocktails: $8- $12
Ambience: Tavern-like warm feeling, outdoor patio
Recommendations: Prime Meats Burger
Downsides: Cash only
Address: 465 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: 718-254-0327

1 comment:

Andrew Steadman said...

I gotta admit, that burger looks delicious.