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Early Critics Weigh in on Brooklyn Newcomer Seersucker

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With spots like Tabla and Le Cirque on his resume, the world of Southern food seemed like a far cry for chef Robert Newton's first restaurant outing, Seersucker. Revisiting dishes from his native Arkansas, Newton is serving what he calls "cleaned-up" Southern fare. With crowds showing up at he new Carroll Gardens eatery for dinner (breakfast and lunch soon to come), how is the new locally-sourced restaurant faring? Off to the early word:

The Great News: The Brooklyn Paper's Kristen Brown says that chef Newton "has a strong sensibility of fresh and local, using much of both in his cookery." Kudos go out to the "perfectly tender" duck leg in the country cassoulet, the "strangely decadent" Vidalia onion and the "refreshingly all-American" beer and wine list. [BP]

The Veggie-Friendly News: Fork in the Road's Rebecca Marx notes that the restaurant has "already made a noteworthy contribution to the world of vegetarian entrees." The roasted Vidalia onion, served with wheatberries, shiitakes and mustard greens "a satisfying and unusually thoughtful vegetarian entree, not only for a Southern restaurant but for any restaurant. True, it could benefit from a bit more seasoning, and the $17 price tag is somewhat extravagant, but the way it allows simple, high-quality ingredients to speak for themselves, without being censored by heavy sauces or a deep fryer, is an unqualified delight." [FiTR]

The Sucky News: It seems that Village Voice critic Robert Sietsema doesn't agree with his Fork in the Road colleague's assessment. Per his Twitter: "Ate at Seersucker this evening. It kinda seersucked." [Twitter]

The So-So News: An Eater commenter thinks that the beverage service could stand to improve: "The wine pours are WAY too low. Come on guys, I'll pay $12 for a glass of Syrah BUT give me a glass not a sip. Food was fine but not that impressive. Everybody was super nice, I'll give them time and re-visit in a while." Yelper B.P. felt the entrees could use some work: "Skirt steak was good, but *drowning* in butter. I get the whole slathering steak with butter deal, but it was the first flavor I got with every bite. I want to taste steak, not dairy, when eating steak. Otherwise, it was very good and I like the portion size- not too much, but not paltry either. Pork belly was way, way too fatty. And yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be fatty, but man. It was a bad cut." [Yelp]

The Good News: The Epicurean Musician says that Seersucker is a very welcome addition to the restaurant row on Smith Street, with a meal that "had us swinging for more biscuits and pigs feet." He notes that the restaurant is big on the pickling trend, and even has a wall of pickling jars serving as the barrier between the dining room and the kitchen. The country cassoulet "is memorable and will likely have you thinking about it the next day," and the biscuits are served with a "phenomenal honey butter and a rhubarb relish." [EM]

The 'Subpar' News: Yelper Jeff F. sums up his feelings: "Subpar and overpriced -- stay away!" He faults a lack of seasoning and a bill weighing in at $75 per person."The quail appetizer was expensive but tasteless. The fried catfish appetizer was fried hard but otherwise tasteless, even with the spicy sauce (aka glob of colored mayo) served beside it. Things got even worse with the main course. My friend had the shrimp and grits, which the waitress called a house favorite. I've never seen somebody enjoy food less. He didn't even finish. Neither did I or my other friends think much of the unnecessarily buttery, small portioned, overly fatty pieces of steak that made up the flank steak entree. At least the few pieces of asparagus were decent. Even dessert was bad. The strawberry shortcake tasted bland and a few days old. The brownie too was overly crunchy and the ice cream served with it was melting quickly, even though the brownie was not hot (it should've been)...Should've waited the extra hour for our table at prime meats! [Yelp]

The "Deliciously Perfect" News: At NYMag's restaurant listings, user thegreat said, "This place made me want to kiss my deliciously perfect grits ... and chicken and dumplings ... and deviled eggs, and oh, if only I could make out with that pimento cheese." [NYM]

The Bad News: An Eater tipster writes, "I had high hopes for this place, but with so many other good options in the neighborhood, it just fails to stand up. Pretty much everything needed better seasoning, the appetizer plate was paltry and unimpressive, the chicken and dumplings were adequate, and the shrimp and grits were overcooked (the shrimp) and bland (the grits). The dessert we tried, a chocolate cake that has been served in every restaurant in New York for the past 10 years (with the same moldings) was a joke. Loved the mushroom spoonbread." [Eater Tipline]
—Thomas Garry

Seersucker

329 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 Visit Website

Seersucker

329 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY

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