We’ve been fascinated for several months about the strange entrepreneurial magic that’s been brewing on Third Avenue in Gowanus. Formerly a sleepy crawl of vacant storefronts and assorted social clubs; of late, there have been several really excellent restaurants, cafes and small shops that have taken root up and down the strip. The latest place is called Runner & Stone. I had to look it up, but the name’s origin refers to the two stones used to grind grain in a traditional mill, the runner stone and the base stone. Wikipedia aside, what’s more interesting is that the kitchen is manned by a fairly dynamic duo: the former chef de cuisine at Blue Ribbon Brooklyn and the head baker from Per Se. I knew I wanted to try it but I’ll admit to being confused: What the hell is it? A bakery? A restaurant? A café? We went last weekend for brunch, and as it happens Runner & Stone is all those things. The interior of the restaurant is bright and minimalist, which is perfect because there’s little to distract you from the first thing you see when you walk in: the baked goods. Jesus, dude. I’m not a big sweets guy but what was on display looked so over-the-top we decided to be fatties and order what we decided to call a “pastry course.” We had an apple turnover, an almond croissant, and a cheese danish. They were honestly all varying degrees of perfection, but the almond croissant was hands down the most ridiculous thing ever. Please order that. But we expected them to be good, so no surprise. The surprise was the remainder of the brunch. I had the eggs Benedict over fish cake wrapped in pancetta. Take a gander at this plate. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the hollandaise was light and frothy and the fish cake/pancetta thing was crispy, salty and amazing. I sopped it all up with their fresh baguettes and creamy house-cultured butter. Pure friggin’ breakfast joy. One other note– get their hash browns. Courtney had them with her fluffy omelette, but I coveted them. Go ahead and double order them. And three cheers for Runner & Stone, we’ll be back next time for dinner!
I have a theory that if a sandwich possesses a name – The Godfather, the Costanza, The Dagwood, etc., – it is surely worth eating. It seems inconceivable that someone would take the time to name a sandwich that was not worthy. Naming is an act of love. So there was not much thought needed this weekend at Court Street Grocers when I spied Little Shonda on the menu.And if the name didn’t get me, the ingredients list did: Eggs, pastrami, swiss, pickled green tomatoes, and Lincoln administration favorite Durkee’s famous sauce on toasted pumpernickel. If the person who came up with this combination did not twist the ends of their moustache in devilish glee, I’d be very surprised. The pastrami was salty and tender, the eggs were fluffy, and the briny tang of the tomatoes provided an amazing balance to the fatty deliciousness of of the meat and sauce. Unique and utterly devourable. I metaphorically was licking my fingers after I finished the sandwich. Yes… metaphorically. It rocked so much I really want to declare this thing the winner of our contest. A round of applause for Little Shonda, and hats off to Court Street Grocers! I think this contest is officially a wrap.
The Great Breakfast Sandwich Smackdown has barely even started, but we are here to declare the sure loser: the sausage, egg and cheese biscuit (or any other breakfast sandwich) from McDonald’s. You see, every other sandwich that graces this smackdown will be crafted using the finest of ingedients…fresh wood-fired rolls or croissants, homemade sausage from grass-fed pigs, artisanal cheeses from every corner of the globe, free-range chicken eggs layed in heated coops…you get the picture.This little treasure from Mickey D’s is constructed using a greasy mass-produced confection some people call a biscuit, a folded-up egg blanket, a 174-calorie-17-grams-o-blubber sausage patty and that fantastically processed slice of good old-fashioned American cheese. It simply cannot compete. But, our little black sheep has something special going for it that we can’t quite put our finger on. It may be the sprinkle of fairy dust that the ghoulish mean man behind a big door applies before each fixin’ is shipped. Or maybe it’s the time you’ll save by consuming 56% of the recommended daily allowance of fat in just one sitting. We’re not sure, but we do know that every now and then a wild urge wells up deep inside and the need to consume one of these with a crispy hashbrown and icy Coke trumps all common sense. We’ll be hungry in an hour. All hail the loser!
I don’t know if it’s the all about the adventure, the amazingly rustic atmosphere, the incredibly friendly (and good-looking) staff or just the down right cravable food, but we have been finding ourselves waking up on Saturday mornings with Roberta’s on the brain. You see, their brunch simply wins every single time.