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Pete Wells Bestows Two Sparklers Upon Gowanus Newcomer Freek's Mill

The Times critic likes Chad Shaner's shareable small plates

[Freek's Mill]
[Freek's Mill]
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Freek’s Mill looks like a lot of new Brooklyn bistros, but Pete Wells thinks the food from Union Square Cafe vet Chad Shaner sets this restaurant apart from the rest of the pack. The Times critic notes; "I never met any bad dishes at Freek’s Mill, and only a few I wouldn’t try again." Here’s Wells on some of his favorites at this new Gowanus establishment: Mr. Shaner had the smart idea of turning veal Oscar sideways; asparagus, the traditional garnish, goes to the center of the plate. The crab meat and hollandaise go on top, with a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning. The veal? There isn’t any, and you don’t miss it at all.

The goal with fried soft-shell crabs is usually a delicate crust. Freek’s Mill goes the other way, giving it a very crunchy, thickish batter that you sometimes see on the fish half of fish and chips. You’d expect to find citrus in this dish, and you do, but it’s a cool surprise to taste lime juice mixed into the cashew butter swiped against the side of the bowl.

Pete likes the wine list, which has a special focus on gamay and chenin blanc. He takes some issues with the prices of a few of the shareable small plates, like the seared scallops and the octopus. But this is a no-tipping restaurant, so some inflation is to be expected, and he notes that several of the best dishes seem to be fairly priced. Wells gives the restaurant two stars.

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