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The Early Word on Spotted Pig Alum Nate Smith's Dean Street

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Krieger, 1/24/11

Last month, Dean Street, the anticipated new restaurant from former Spotted Pig chef Nate Smith along with restaurateurs John Longo and Rob Gelardi, opened in the old Tavern on Dean space. The concept here is "New American Bistro" which is lovely since it allows for a lot of the stuff Smith did at the Pig to make the trip over the East River, including, of course, a burger. So does this measure up with his old stomping grounds or is it just a pale imitation? To the early word:

The "Pretty Mean Burger" News: Fork in the Road visits and absolutely gushes about the burger. "Last Saturday night, the host promised an hour-and-a-half-long wait for a table -- not unusual for the celeb-infested Manhattan gastropub from whence the chef hails, but thoroughly unheard of in Prospect Heights. (To be fair, it only ended up being about 20 minutes.) The menu is very gastropub, although the chef, Nate Smith, has reportedly said he doesn't want to call it that....he does a pretty mean burger: compact, dressed down, and full of flavor. The patty is a flattened, dense puck of almost gamey flavor. Cooked rare, the meat is dark pink, not bloody. The brioche bun, fluffy and not too sweet, has a crisp, shiny dome....It comes with a choice of cheese and/or bacon, a single thin slice of red onion, and a pickle, as well as a heaping pile of thick-cut fries with mayo, not ketchup, à la anglaise. At $12, the burger is well worth the price." [FitR]

The Decent News: Law & Food files a lukewarm review. "I'm a fan of deviled eggs, but these were undistinguished and their taste has completely faded from memory. Avoid the tagliatelle at all costs. I was in a forgiving mood, and deemed it merely edible, but Jonas compared it to the sausage and potato soup served at Olive Garden. Burn. The burger was much better-- beefy and thickly ground-- although not in the same league as at Spotted Pig. Cooked to our requested medium rare, the burger could have used a heavier sear. Served with cheddar, the burger sported a grilled bun similar to the one used at Spotted Pig (although no grill marks on the outside). Sides were underwhelming. Pumpkin hash, curry cauliflower and brussel sprouts were all in desperate need of further caramelization. Apart from the disappointing lack of brown in our veggies, pumpkin hash was too soft, lacking bite. I'd be remiss if I didn't praise the standouts. Roast chicken was blessed with an intensely crunchy skin and seasoning reminiscent of KFC (trust me, this is a good thing). The garlicky bed of bitter broccoli rabe didn't hurt either, and we greedily passed the chicken around until it was picked clean. French fries served with our burger (or as its own side for $5) were fantastic." [Law & Food]

The "Less is More" News: Nicole Basile of Africana Online files a review and it's not a kind one. "The experience was anything but exhilarating. Indeed, much of the oversight may just be attributed to the unseasoned staff... For starters, skip the starters. The meager size of the appetizers seemed to be more suitable for an upscale uptown triple dollar-sign eatery. The ingredients however (fried cheese, pickles, deviled eggs) hint at more heartwarming fare. And so, it’s best to be more moderate with your wants and wallet and save your curiosity for the main attraction. You’ll find the tastiest dishes on the menu to be the most economical ones as well. The special, pork shoulder with duck fat fried potatoes, was the most expensive and the most moderately sized dish. What it lacked in dimensions it made up for in saltiness. The only way to explain this: less is more. On the flip side, five-stars should be awarded to the half chicken well complemented with mashed sweet potatoes. The hamburger, the M.V.P. of the kitchen, holds its own with its lovely pink center and hearty helping of fries. At twelve bucks you can’t go wrong." [Africana Online]

The Delicious News: In a roundup of several Brooklyn restaurants, deadbait includes this glowing appraisal. "Chef Nate Smith (Spotted Pig) served up delicious “toasts” –we actually had every app on the menu. My fav, the goose liver drizzled with honey. We had the roast chicken which was crisp, moist and hearty. Dean St. has only been open for a few days now, so support this new joint–though they may not need it–the place was PACKED on a Thursday at 9pm." [deadbait]

The "Small Portions" News: Yelper tamar a. was underwhelmed. "Really really nice staff, but $17 for a pasta entree that feels smaller than an appetizer, and appetizers (two deviled eggs, inedible fried cheese) that were suitably sized for a little girl's dollhouse tea party left me feeling kinda hungry and pretty broke. The Brussel sprouts were really good though." [Yelp]

The Great News: From Yelper Noel R.: "As a first review its difficult to do justice to the full menu, that will come with time but the signature burger was delicious. It was what I call a 'grown-up' burger, one that's made by someone who has found their recipe and is sticking to it. Beautifully juicy and tasty, perfectly cooked served with crispy hand cut chips (fries to you) and onion and pickle. Nothing too fancy just a very very good burger. Much better than others in the area (Dutch Boy, The Farm) and other high profile let-down burgers (Waverly Inn). The nut and choco Tart was also great. A real home-cooked wonder full of fresh nuts with the chocolate peaking through without being too sweet (crack pie etc). I also sampled the Bar Toast which on the night was topped with Serrano ham with some sort of pesto. Apologies for not doing this tasty dish justice but needless to say it was an excellent start to the meal. Service is casual friendly and attentive. I'm so glad to see this neighbourhood landmark re-opened and under a team who have ambition and I will certainly be sampling everything off the menu in the coming weeks." [Yelp]
—Gary Wong & Jackie Goldstein

Dean Street

755 Dean Street, Brooklyn, New York 11238 (718) 783-3326 Visit Website

Dean Street

755 Dean St Brooklyn, NY 11238