Once considered the spunky kid brother of Manhattan’s world-renowned, cutthroat restaurant scene, Brooklyn’s dining scene has more than established itself as an eater’s destination on par with its rivals across the East River. Its evolution is spearheaded by celebrated chefs from all over, and here are a few of our favorites.
Nathan Hansen is a visionary who skipped culinary school and moved straight to a career of baking in Charleston, making seafood-asian-fusion art in Nantucket and blowing up the Brooklyn gastronomy scene. His current venture, Prospect in Fort Greene serves simple dishes like burrata and strichetti with fun ingredients—i.e. charred scallion vinaigrette and smoked tomato sauce.
Ilan Hall was the cocky champion of Top Chef Season Two, and has worked at Charlie Palmer’s flagship Aureole and Gramercy Spanish Michelin Star restaurant Casa Mono. Today he owns and operates Gorbals, a Williamsburg joint that attracts a crowd with dynamic dishes and a roof deck. Try the smoked butter-roasted cabbage and shawarma spiced beef ribs.
A classic restaurateur’s love story, these two met at the Culinary Institute of America then parted ways to work in a number of renowned NYC kitchens—Blue Hill, Gramercy Tavern, The Vanderbilt, etc. They opened Battersby in 2011 where seared scallops in a tomato confit and veal with sweetbreads with lobster, corn and chorizo head a sharp menu and widely raved about spontaneous tasting menu.
You may recognize his hip black frames and youthful smile from Top Chef Chicago in 2008, or Top Chef All-Stars in 2010. Dale Talde has not slowed down since his time on the boob tube, and his Asian-American exploratory restaurant Talde is the ultimate testament to his ongoing creativity. Be sure to try pretzel pork and chive dumplings, braised pork shank chow fun and crab fried rice with jalapeno aioli.
He’s cooked with David Bouley, earned a Michelin Star and founded other borough favorites—Brooklyn Bangers, Red Gravy and Saul Restaurant. He opened the Vanderbilt in 2009 with Ben Daitz of Smorgasburg favorite Num Pang. The menu ranges from pub classics like boiled peanuts and beer bread to creative American twists like half fried chicken and General Tso’s eggplant.