Ancient alchemists might have tried to turn base metals into gold, but Park Sloper Kevin Read has performed an act almost as grand: turning a Fifth Avenue hardware store into a swanky neighborhood gastropub — a decidedly British bar with an up-market menu.
“The idea of a gastropub,” said Read, who opened Alchemy in February, “is a casual place to hang out, have a couple of drinks and a really great meal while you’re there.”
The space is outfitted with a refurbished mahogany bar that seats 12 for drinks or a meal. Bigger groups can grab one of four booths or three communal tables in the back, which are designed to accommodate large parties, turning strangers into instant friends.
By June, the garden in the back of the restaurant will open, making an ideal spot for an al fresco meal or a few of the pub’s cocktails. The “Gin Smith” (Tanqueray with rosemary-infused simple syrup, honey and pear puree), which is named for one of the waitresses, sounds like just the right tonic for a warm evening.
The menu features hearty fare with a few sophisticated touches. There’s parsnip soup with rye croutons; lush, pan-seared sea scallops served with acorn squash puree and “Guinness froth”; roasted beet ravioli with goat cheese bechamel (pictured), and, for those who want true pub grub, there’s a chic spin on fish and chips: Alchemy’s take on the classic is made with fried skate wing. The fish is paired with fingerling potato fries and paprika aioli.
The desserts — a short list that includes apple crumble and sticky Guinness pudding with toffee sauce — are a riff on mum’s homey sweets.
Alchemy (56 Fifth Ave. between Bergen Street and Saint Mark’s Place in Park Slope) accepts American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Entrees: $12-$23. The restaurant serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Monday. Beginning March 24, brunch will be available on weekends from 10:30 am – 4 pm. Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Atlantic Avenue; or Q, N, R, W, B and D to Pacific Street. For information, call (718) 636-4385 or visit www.alchemybrooklyn…..