You’ll have an offal good time at Allswell — chef Nate Smith’s new soup-to-guts gastropub in Williamsburg.
The former executive chef of the Spotted Pig in the West Village and Dean Street in Prospect Heights is too busy thinking up supremely delicious preparations for pigs ears — i.e. braise for 24 hours in duck fat, slice thinly, deep fry and salt heavily — an ideal bar snack reminiscent of pork rinds or chicharrones — until you bite into the part that is unmistakably an inner earlobe.
“We haven’t had a problem selling out (those kind of) dishes — people are excited to try new things,” confirmed Smith.
“The meat-heavy nature of our menu is a product of how we source it, which is primarily through local farms and markets,” he continued. “As the winter months arrive, the options for locally sourced produce decrease a great deal, hence more meat cuts on the menu.”
Adventurous carnivores will definitely appreciate the musky merits of Smith’s rich duck, goose or lamb liver toasts ($6), tongue with dill and caper crème fraiche ($12), or hulking chops of wild boar ($28) — although palates and cardiologist alike will welcome a simple plate of pickled beets and mint ($5), or a pleasantly astringent salad of apples, turnips, tarragon and goat cheese ($12).
“A gastropub isn’t necessarily a burgers-and-fries kind of place — I wanted to elevate the food beyond what you would expect,” said Smith. “It’s not blue collar necessarily, but it’s not white tablecloth either. There’s a sense of humor behind things, but a seriousness as well — it’s like a balance.”
Just don’t attempt to balance out an indulgent meal at Allswell by skipping dessert — Smith has an ace up his sleeve in wife and pastry impresario Sophie Kamin, who turns out goodies like spicy chocolate tart ($6), and homey wedges of Meyer Lemon Shaker pie ($7).
But we can’t promise that the expertly flaky crust didn’t get a little help from animal fat.
Allswell [124 Bedford Ave. at N. 10th Street in Williamsburg, (347) 799-2743].Reach reporter Sarah Zorn at newsroom@c
©2011 Community News Group
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