No, we didnt get lost trying to get back to Roberta’s, Bushwick’s proud Z-List representative. And no, we dont have a new-found graffiti fetish, although dont mind it so much if striking enough. On average we visit Florida more often than this up and coming hipsterhood, but we are finding more and more reasons to change that. This time, the reason was to check out a little Coffee shop that’s not so little and not so coffee shop anymore. A full transformation from hipster coffee and wifi, to a full blown mature dining spot with weekly tasting, supper club style. Instead of staring at their laptop, locals will now converse with other humans. An experimental concept that is so Bushwick.
Fair Weather Bushwick, making that unflinching transition at the beginning of the year, is like a breath of fresh air to a neighborhood in dire need of such spots. Led by John Creger, fresh from cheese mecca Artisanal, FWB (sounds like a radio station) offers brunch, dinner seven days a week, and the weekly $65 ten courser I will tell you about shortly. I believe this is the first time I wasnt quite sure about what to wear to a restaurant in NYC. A pricey tasting menu, in Bushwick! Talking about getting caught between a rock and a hard place. Like when you feel the need to go take a leak at 9 pm, an hour or two before bed time. You missed your 8 pm, and you are too early for the pre-bedtime stop, strategically trying to avoid the dreadful 3 am wake up call. Do you hold it in for another hour, or risk it?
With that said, even a proper schedule didnt stop a 2 am wakeup call this time, after John Creger’s crafty beer pairing that night. The beer just kept flowing and flowing. John Creger has been around. I’m not so sure I grabbed the most desirable picture of him (like the brainchild of Marilyn Manson and Hitler). Quite possibly just an off hair day, or just another day at the offices at Sleep No More where he was head chef. After stints at Le Cirque, Gradisca, Artisanal, and a cameo on Food Network’s Chopped, Creger is now turning heads in little, obscure Fair Weather Bushwick. The first thing I noticed when I walked in is a smiling happy chef. Happy chef normally translates to happy Ziggy. Normally.
This was the first tasting of the new spring menu (Spring is here apparently. Never got the memo). The atmosphere was that of a supper club dinner, featuring a communal table and an open kitchen. Creger came out 15 times to explain every beer, and every dish in Slow Food style (“The ramps came from an upstate farm ran by runaway Russian brides”). All 10 dishes were plated Ko-esque style so you I couldnt help but compare this one to much pricier tastings. An early highlight, a beet course with spiced pumpkin seeds and dehydrated beets set the tone. There were carrots, slow roasted, sitting on Zatar spiced yogurt, and Fenugreek seeds. “The carrots taste very different than carrots at home” she said. “Thats because these taste like carrots”. And there wouldnt be spring tasting without spring peas. Here, Creger serves a crispy Prosciutto decorated chilled soup that delivers an initial spring pea punch and then settles down nicely.
The vegetable heavy menu featured vegetables (duh!) that came alive by use of mild exotic spices, and herb purees. Creger is like a free bird now, dishing out playful, bright plates, that are attractive to the
camera eye, but does not leave the other senses in the dark. Although my taste sense could have used a few more bay scallops in one of the only protein plates. The two dessert courses, in particular a Matcha Creme Brulee with ginger and chocolate mint was a very solid finisher.
Without offending our close friends, I have a new-found appreciation for dining with strangers. We sat next to a fun, young doctor couple who had stories to tell, and Achilles Tendon advice to share. At some point, toward the end of the meal (I would never do it at the beginning), I felt the urge to put my left foot on the table for a free (presumably) checkup, but it didnt seem appropriate at that moment. A fun evening to say the least, and perhaps now we’ll have to make it to Bushwick more often than Florida