Cheryl's Place near the Brooklyn Library
I remember reading threads describing the dearth of places in the Brooklyn Museum/library area here on Chowhound.
Cheryl Smith, a notable chef opened a place on Underhill right near Eastern Parkway. I can't say I'm anything but impossibly enthusiastic about how it's going to turn out. It's got a lovely clean interior design and although I haven't eaten there yet, I have tried many of the recipies/tips she has given out when she was on the Food Network. She is seriously about the food.
I just had dinner there. Not a bad experience at all. There are still kinks to be worked out. I tried to order plain steamed mussels with a side of melted butter and lemon instead of the Thai coconut mussels because I am cutting down on sugar. We compromised with mussels steamed in white wine and pan fried onions. I also ordered Bulgogi marinated rib-eye steak with extra veggies instead of fries. The mussels to my suprise were very good. Usually, when so called chefs try and steam mussels with anything but salt water they zap the flavor out of them. The same applies when they smother them with sauce. Cheryl cooked them just right, no over cooking. They were juicy and plump,not hard and the wine and onion and mussel combo made for great broth.
The rib-eye was cooked as ordered, rare, the marinade was very tasty, not too sweet and had the right amount of salt and spice. And! The veggies she gave me as a substitute for the fries was fresh steamed baby bok choy. To me that is a big plus. Not for the bok choy per say but for the imagination and courtesy to give me something other than the rank spinach/broccolli/string beans/mixed medely, etc that so many other places, including the "Zagat" rated give you.
My only complaint is about the steak itself. She needs a better supplier. The steak should have melted in my mouth and had a "rare" flavor to it. Sadly it did not. It had the texture and taste of a medium-to-well done cheap steak. I consider this a minor setback. My guess is she will get a better cut/supplier. I have heard her speak at a function or two and she seems to take pride in her work. Other peeves: No salt and pepper shakers on the tables. Not that her food needs it, it does quite well on its own. And not enough napkins which is a must since she pushes finger foods such as mussels. wings, fried shrimp, etc. The coffee is abysmal. Way too bitter. Like I say though, teething problems.
I live right in the hood and am thrilled that Cheryl's has opened. I have had coffee there, - really good - and had dinner with a friend last night.
I had the pumpkin soup, the tamarind chicken, baby bok choy and a glass of reisling. They were very very good. Also, as someone who struggles with weight, I was thrilled that the pumpkin soup had no cream in it **and** was very good. The chicken was delicious and moist, and the reisling was perfect. My friend had a burger. She likes hers medium, not pink, and was happy to report that despite being cooked medium it was still moist. Good Dinner!
Tried Cheryl's last weekend for lunch. She's off to a good start but I would agree that there are still, understandably, some kinks to work out.
Yes, the burger was overcooked but surprisingly moist and tasty. The Portabello burger with other vegs was great.
The cheese plate comes from Cato Farms so it's nice to know that the Grand Army Plaza Farmers Market is represented. The only downside with that is it was the exact same cheese that was waiting for me in my own kitchen. For us locals, had the wonderful Cato cheeses been mixed with some others, it would be a great option!!
Everything looks promising here so we're looking forward to how Cheryl's matures. Finally, something near the park, gardens, library and museum!!
Just tried Cheryl's and I was quite underwhelmed. I started with a soup of the day - split pea with smoked turkey. I suppose it's not much of a complaint, but it was just that - no identifiable flavors adding to the complexity, just split pea soup and some turkey. My own preference was that it be salted a bit more, but alas, as big mackdaddy noted, no salt or pepper at the table. Things went downhill with the salmon, which I ordered *rare*, but was served medium, at best - not a trace of raw, fleshy pink anywhere inside. Served on a far-too-large bed of jasmine rice, which was hopelessly plain and too watery. The nori, which was under the rice (and was what tipped me in favor of ordering the dish), was soggy, and somehow simply not a compliment to the flavors of the salmon (it was sake-glazed or -crusted, or something). The one bright spot was the baby bok-choy.
For such a tiny restaurant, it actually took a long time for our food to be prepared. Our service was average, at best. Empty plates sat on the table at least ten minutes, I'd say, before someone (the waiter who *wasn't* serving our table - our waiter was chatting with someone at the bar) came to clear them. Made me edgy, if only because we ate there election day, and I was itching to get home to see the results come in.
Bottom line: I felt like these were dishes that I could prepare at home (though for me it would be a chore). There are plenty of places, though, in this style and price range where I can find far more original creations.