225 Dekalb at Clermont, Brooklyn (Ft. Greene)
Alexis: from NY Mag, 6/30/08:
Last week, rumors had Ryan Skeen out at Resto. He’s gone, and now consulting at the General Greene, an American restaurant opening tomorrow in Fort Greene. Skeen is returning the favor his buddy Nick Morgenstern did when the former was starting Resto; now that Morgenstern has his own project, Skeen will provide backup. The two men are looking to make the General Greene a neighborhood staple for what they are calling “high-quality American comfort foods” and “classic-minded cocktails.” At the very least, the desserts are bound to be great; Morgenstern is one of the most talented pastry chefs in town.
Alexis: We never went to June, which is what this space was before the General Greene. Biked over Sunday night and waited about 30 minutes for a table. The place still has that fresh, new restaurant smell (cedar, I think). The bar is thoughtfully laid out with recessed lighting and bag/jacket hooks under the bartop.
We started with some cocktails - they have a list of about 10 original drinks. I had the Clermont Bubby, which had St. Germain, proseco, lemon and pear. A little heavy on the lemon juice but it was refreshing nonetheless. Alex had the lemonade (forgot exactly what it was called) that had a bit of mint in it - very delicious.
The way to eat here is to order around 2 plates per person and then share. First came the summer bean salad, which is your basic 3-bean with mint. Fresh and slightly crunchy, and the colors were nice, too.
Alexis: Next, heirloom tomato salad with parsley and red onions. No salmonella here! People are freaking out over nothing. This dish was simple and fresh, one of my favorite combos.
Alex: Both of the veggie dishes were fresh for summertime!
Alexis: I picked the grilled red mullet, which came with a spicy aioli and fried saffron rice. I was expecting fried rice in the traditional sense but instead got what seemed like the burnt bottom pot tossaways from a batch of failed paella. Except this was no failure - slightly crunchy on one side and chewy on the other, these were concentrated saffron nuggets. The fish was firm and flaky at the same time - a substantial white fish.
Alexis: Alex ordered the salt and pepper ribs with spicy tomato chutney. The ribs were small but full of meat, and the chutney very tasty. A little too strong for my palate at the time - I would've liked to order a side to go with it, like potatoes or the like.
Alex: I loved this dish. Not too surprising since it is ribs. They were tender and juicy with just the right amount of crusting on the outside. The tomato chutney was a nice compliment (sort of like a bbq sauce) but the ribs can stand on their own.
I definitely would come back here - everything we ordered was great, although a bit pricey for the area. Dining in Brooklyn I still expect to pay less-than-Manhattan prices but the General Greene was pretty much on par with the norm across the bridge. However, with the quality and freshness of the food, I would say it is worth it. We left sated but not overstuffed - I could have definitely put away my own dessert! Chocolate pudding? Lemon-vanilla cheesecake with blackberries? Yes to both please.