Can a cast-iron pot full of vegetables warrant an almost fifty dollar price tag? When they are in the hands of critical darling chef Paul Liebrandt formerly of the much-acclaimed Corton, they surely can. Said vegetables, a melange of more than thirty varieties, are simply dubbed Garden on the menu at The Elm, the chef’s first Brooklyn venture; order it and a gorgeous cocotte-cooked bounty arrives at the table in a massive Le Creuset dutch oven ready to be divvied up. The vegetarian paradise is just one of the Share options on offer at the massive (even by Brooklyn standards) restaurant in Williamsburg’s King & Grove hotel (the popular pool is one floor up) where the inventive menu is separated into four categories: Raw, Sea, Land and Share. My advice: graze freely across the categories. On the night I visited some particular stand-outs were a very grown-up riff on pb&j (with foie gras, peanut, ginger and Concord grape gelee), an extraordinarily tender short rib, and an Indian-spice spiked fish and chips. A burger was a later addition to the menu (likely to appease a burger-obsessed neighborhood) and Liebrandt’s take, with sharp white cheddar, tomato confit and spicy pickles, is, in a word, killer. Coming later this year, seats at the bar (eight of them, to be exact) overlooking the sprawling, open kitchen will be reserved for multi-couse seasonally-driven tasting menus which, considering The Elm’s current offerings, should prove to be exceptional. And exceptionally difficult to reserve. FIORELLA V.
The Elm, 160 North 12th St., Brooklyn, 718-218-1088, theelmnyc.com