Review of Pardes In Brooklyn
Went there over the weekend as we happened to be in Brooklyn and this restaurant was suggested on another thread as a more innovative place. They don't seem to have a website where the menu is posted (although they are on facebook) so i'll provide some info. The menu had a few categories, vegetable appetizers, fish appetizers, meat appetizers, fish entrees, meat entrees and desserts. The menu reads like an upscale non-kosher place where you don't know what half the stuff is i.e. marinated boquerones with red pepper, caper berries, arugula, lemon dressing. Apparently boqueroes is a kind of anchovy.
Anyway, we had the following-
Fries with home made ketchup and mayo- chopped garlic and parsley were sprinkled on them- these were very good.
Salt Cod Crab cake- came with guacamole and tartar sauce- your basic fish cake, kind of greasy and too mushy on the inside. nothing special.
Arugula Salad with Beets- This salad was great. We ordered it as a throw away just to have some salad- but it was a big hit. there was chopped black olive in the dressing and the beets were perfectly cooked. it worked beautifully.
Fried Smelt- I think they were smelt, they were small fish, battered and deep fried. These were good except the sauce looked like thousand island dressing and was too sweet. This needed a lemon/olive type dressing to counterbalance the oiliness of the fish.
Chicken Milanese- This was dissapointing. It was fried chicken fingers topped with some sort of smoked veal (I guess to sub for pancetta) and a tomato arugala salad. The biggest problem with this dish was the sauce on the bottom. Again, it was a thousand island type sauce that was too sweet. A nice savory sauce would have brought all of the elements together and made it more than the sum of its parts but the weet sauce just ruined it.
Brisket Sandwich- Best brisket I have ever had hands down. Even better than non-kosher. It was smoky, fatty, black peppery, every bite was amazing. We discarded the bread which was very hard crusted and then too soft white in the middle. This came with fries. I think if this came more like a southern plate, with a few slices of brisket, mashed potatoes and gravy and some corn- this would be a dish worth travelling for.
Olive Oil Cake, lavendar ice cream and chocolate mousse. The olive oil cake was a total disaster. Unbelievably dry and tasteless. We didn't touch it after the first bite. The chocolate mousse was good. Lavender ice cream was ok.
Pistachio french toast- 2 pieces of french toast with some sort of pistachio flavored jam in the middle. Good, but I can make this at home. The ice cream that came with this was very strange - I think it was fruitcake flavored-it had those little jellies in it. There was also some chopped banana with fresh mint and some sort of lemon on it. That was the best part of the dessert, that banana was amazing.
The portions were a good size and the prices were also good. All of the above came out to about $110. The service was also very good. We were the only ones in there but they were very attentive and especially nice.
I will definitely go back next time I have a special occassion. If I lived closer I would go way more often. Its a very nice break from, shawarma, pizza, chinese food.
At the risk of making this place too popular and not being able to get a reservation, I must report that we were back there again this evening, for what was probably our favorite visit so far (out of three or four now). After delicious bread with olive oil, and a complimentary amuse bouche of a small square of cornbread with some sort of lentils on top, we shared one appetizer (don't remember this so well, but I know it had wheat berries, some unusual mushrooms, and cauliflower), two "small meat" plates (one was lamb rilettes with chickpea crepes and a berber sauce and the other a chicken and waffle combo with ras el hanout), one sandwich (a beef bacon club that was just so good) and fries, and a couple of desserts (balsamic strawberries with gianduja and a marzipan waffle and chocolate chip ice cream sandwich). I know I am not doing justice at all to the descriptions of the food, and I don't plan to report on every meal I have there (it may be a good thing that I live in Queens and it's in Brooklyn . . . it's close enough to get to, but far enough that I'm not there every week!), but I just had to give it another thumbs up . . . way up!
In addition to the food, the service is also noteworthy. We had a few questions about the menu, which were answered completely with no hesitation. What really impressed me, though, was listening to a couple we were seated next to when they were asked for their order. Their server asked if they had any questions, and they asked if she could go over what everything was. EVERYTHING! She literally went through everything listed on the menu, patiently describing each dish to them. She didn't seem annoyed at all; she just wanted them to have the best info so they could choose well. Maybe I was a bit more forward than I should have been, but I put my two cents in, as we had already finished our meal and were waiting for dessert, and among other things, they wound up ordering both the "small meat" dishes we had.
Chef Moshe came around asking how everyone was enjoying their meal, and the staff are always right on top of any request. I really love this place!
After all this talk about Pardes, I had to go and try it and here is my review: My wife and I made 8:30 reservations and showed up at 8:00 hoping to be seated earlier. The hostess actually apologized to us for not being able to seat us right. That was just the beginning of our favorite dining experience ever. It is true that there is not much space for seating, but the staff was totally helpful and extremely pleasant the whole evening. Our waiter "introduced" us to the menu with actual knowledge and practical advice - not just the typical "this is my favorite." In the end we chose the seared tuna, chicken and waffles and marrow bones for appetizers and the chicken and pardes burger for main dishes. The seared tuna came out first and was outstanding. It had a sweet sauce and a spicy sauce that complemented each other very well and the chic peas was a great addition to the dish. We both loved the tuna. The chicken and waffles was, in my humble opinion, brilliant. The combination of the tender chicken pieces (organic) on the sweet waffle with the (I think) peanut sauce was delicious. I believe with a larger portion, it would have made for an excellent main dish as well. The marrow bones came 3 pieces standing with cuscus overflowing from the tops. Simple yet heavenly. If you are not too neat or health conscious, try eating the fat cooked on the outside of the bones...yum!!! Then came the main dishes. My wife's chicken was a work of art. It had boneless tender chicken breasts and a couple of chicken wings surrounded by veal sweetbreads, some type of mushroom I can't pronounce, small chestnuts and the peanut sauce. Fortunately, my wife was in a sharing mood. It tasted so good that I was almost jealous until my burger came out. It looked amazing and tasted even better! The bun was a soft roll with part of the bread scooped out and some lettuce tomatoes and I believe onions in the cratered space (nice touch!). The meat was perfectly cooked and tender without being too juicy or raw. It came with a side of fries that were one of the best I ever had (you can order as a side dish if you don’t order the burger). I washed down my meal with a Kwak beer that came out in a bong shaped glass connected to a wooden handlebar - tasty and fun! At this point, I made my way to the kitchen to thank the chef for what was my best dining experience ever. It was also 10:15 and we had to get home to our baby sitter, but I couldn’t leave without ordering dessert. We got the walnut ice cream and something else (don’t remember the name but it had a cream topping that was fantastic). The walnut ice cream was by far one of the best desserts either of us ever tasted. It came in a bowl surrounded by cookies (I am not sure what type of cookie but it fit perfectly in) which together was “I can’t stop smiling delicious” but the addition of the cooked (I think) apples made it, if at all possible, even better. To sum it all up…we can’t wait to go back!!
We had dinner at Pardes last night- husband and I and a friend. Definitely happy that I made a reservation, as the restaurant filled up. At one point there was a 2 hour wait for a table.
Decor was modern and understated, with dim lighting and background music. The tables we somewhat close together, but it didn't bother us. I liked that the kitchen was semi-open and we could see the chef working. The food was outstanding- it had a similar vibe to Tierra Sur but with more of a casual feel. I really loved the plating- flat almost rimless dishes with the food artfully arranged.
Jar of Pickles- I loved the way these were served. In a latch top jar filled with the pickles and their brine. The pickles were cucumbers, carrots, and white radishes. Waitress mentioned that the pickles change often. I would definitely order this again- the pickles were super crispy and had a vingar flavor that was tempered with something a bit sweet.
Beef Cheek Pizza- this was listed in the "meat and bread" section, but we shared it as an appetizer. Crispy, puffy crust with the right amount of chew. It was topped with carmelized or roasted tomatoes and shreds of beef. Great flavor and something I never would have dreamed of putting together on one plate.
Kohlrabi Salad- super thin disks of kohlrabi topped with mixed green and blood oranges. The menu listed pumpernickel vinaigrette and there were tiny pumpernickel croutons and a row of pumpnickel crumbs along the side of the plate. Sweet, crunchy, tart, salty- it was perfect. I wish I could make it at home.
omigosh... reading your reply I just realized half the dishes we had didn't even post!!
the salad was thin slices of kohlrabi and on top of that was mixed greens (mesculun) and blood oranges.. not green oranges! The dressing was kind of salty and sweet at the same time-- the menu listed it as "pumpernickl vinaigrette"
The rest of what we ate...
Burger with fries- The burger was HUGE. I could barely finish half of it. Came topped with homemade pickles, avocado, truffle mayo, lettuce and tomato, and crispy housemade bacon. It was fantastic- seemed like the bread was homemade also. Two mini latch top jars had truffle mayo and red wine ketchup- both listed as housemade. On the side were fries tossed with herbs. I loved the presentation- a small metal pail lined with a paper cone full of fries.
Brisket Sandwich- husband had this and I didn't taste. He loved it - said it had a great flavor but wasn't spicy. He said the meat was very tender and he'd definitely order it again. It came as a sandwich, but he ate half as a sandwich and the other half w/o the bread- said it didn't really need all that bread. It also came with fries that were presented the same way as with the burger.
At long last, I made to Pardes. Was it worth the shlep from Manhattan? Absolutely! And the trip was really not too awful. Service: extremely attentive and the servers are highly knowledgeable of the menu. The dining area is funky (in a good way). Its small size is offset by the large windows in the front. As the kitchen is visible from the dining area, I could appreciate the attention to detail that the chef gave every dish before it was served.
My meal began with an amuse bouche – an intense dollop of a highly spiced fish paste on a piece of shaved fennel. It was so delicious I would have been happy to have made my meal out of 20 of them. The homemade bread was a bit soft for my tastes but it was nicely seasoned and it went great with the provided olive oil.
For an appetizer, I went with the lamb pâté, easily the most intense lamb flavor I’ve experienced. It came with some delicately wrapped greens that were meant to be combined with the lamb in a crêpe.
My main course was the Pardes burger. It is delicious and incredibly juicy (I kind of made a mess). The whole trip would have been fully justified if I only had had the homemade ketchup. I love Heinz but this was just so delicious, it was on its own level – maybe the red wine reduction is the secret?
The roasted tomato pizza with beef cheeks looked great and I can’t wait to return.
Finally had a chance to try this place tonight, and it was excellent! I had seen some reviews but it wasn't until I noticed that Moshe Wendell, who used to cook at Mosaica in NJ, was the chef that we finally had incentive to drive to Brooklyn. We are big fans and were regulars at Mosaica before we moved to Manhattan, and he did not disappoint with this new venture!
The menu is innovative, with a nice mix of small plates and larger entrees. We started with beef tartare and the porcini cauliflower soup, both were delicious. The hostess stopped by our table to let us know there was a special beer that had been ordered to match the tartare; I am generally not a beer fan and neither is hubby but we both thought it was very complimentary. We also had the cured olives. In our Mosaica days, the olives were served warm, which I loved. These were room temperature but still very good.
For the main, we had the sea bass (listed as loup de mer on the menu) and the meat pizza, which we saw some tables have as an appeteizer for two. The meat pizza was different than anything I ever had; fresh basil, incredibly flavorful roasted tomatoes, and shredded beef on thin crusted pizza. The sea bass was delicious as well; the crepe that accompanied it had mushrooms, cocoa, and I don't recall what else in it and balanced the fish perfectly.
We were too full for dessert...the portions were good - similar to the original reviewer, we were full but did not need to take home any leftovers.
A few other points - decor is similar to Mosaica; nice but not overly formal. Service is friendly. Our one mistake was not making a reservation, as there was a 30 minute wait for a table. However, I did notice that those with reservations were being seated, so that's the way to go. For those of you in Manhattan - this is right near the Manhattan bridge so not a very far trip. It took us only ten minutes from downtown Manhattan.
Definitely plan on going back again soon, and will post again as I'm sure we'll try some different things.
After the good write-ups here, we took a drive to Brooklyn to have dinner at Pardes today, and were suitably impressed. We had the following:
Sunchoke Salad, with Fuji Apple, Arugula, Meyer Lemon Vanilla Vinagrette, and Pistachios--I'm not much of a salad person, but the variety of flavors was really nice in this salad. You could really taste the vanilla and lemon in the dressing, which was very tasty on the sunchokes, apples, etc.
Cauliflower-Porcini Mushroom Soup--Creamy, smoky, quite tasty.
Brisket Sandwich--Like azna29 above, I might have preferred this plated rather than in sandwich form, but the meat was very tasty, and it came with a ton of fries, homemade ketchup, and some kind of mayo.
Spring Chicken and Waffle--a very interesting plate of one piece of roast chicken and three pieces of fried chicken, in gravy, stacked--very high--on a waffle, with a swipe of pea puree on the plate.
Fried Apple Pie with Butternut Squash Ice Cream--The ice cream was amazing, the apple pie was diced apples in a closed filo dough crust, which may have been fried, but not greasy or oily like I might have expected something fried to be. It was accompanied by diced fresh (raw) apples.
The Elvis Breakfast--more flavors than you can imagine here: waffles, bananas, peanut sauce, blueberry sauce, "bacon" ice cream.
I was in the ladies' room when the server brought the dessert menu and made recommendations to my husband. He (the hubby) said these two were among the three (of the five desserts on the menu) that she highly recommended. I, myself, might have chosen the lemon meringue pie or chestnut soup, two of the remaining three desserts listed, but we usually take servers' recommendations seriously, and have generally been pretty satisfied. In this case, I have minor regrets about not doing the lemon meringue pie, but what we had wasn't bad, just not amazing.
All in all, I was very impressed with the food, a bit less so with the desserts. The portions were very reasonably sized, but not huge, and the prices were good.
The place was close to empty when we arrived, but it was early. By the time we left, at about 7:30, there was not a seat to be had (well I guess our two were, as soon as we walked out). The servers were helpful and pleasant, and in all, we had a very good time. I look forward to going again, and trying some other dishes.