One of the old-school Cobble Hill chef moguls is back, baby, and he’s here to kick some serious apps.
Marc Elliot just took over the kitchen of the Irish pub Ceol on Smith — and created a menu so exquisite that his customers have no reason to move on for dinner after a few drinks.
“All we used to have was shepherd’s pie and bangers — but we had about three customers coming in for those,” Elliot said. “So I took note of that and all the items on other Smith Street menus, and put none of them on mine. Everyone has fried f—king calamari. I don’t.”
The new kitchen arrangement is an unusual one, and it’s quite a leap of faith for Elliot: he keeps the profit from all food sales, pays his line cooks, and helps pay the food suppliers. The better his food, the more money he’ll make.
That shouldn’t be difficult. The new menu — tasted exclusively by The Brooklyn Paper — is full of intense flavors and selections, from the house-made bar snacks, each with its own delectable twist, to the elaborately decorated entrees.
A small plate of artichoke hearts ($9) may sound typical, but Elliot’s are crispy, spicy and savory alone — then you dip them into homemade carrot ice cream. There are three different kinds of burger sliders ($9 for three): sweet pulled pork with coleslaw, cheeseburger and what is essentially a Sloppy Joe.
Then there’s finger lickin’ honey-walnut shrimp, hanger steak, three kinds of hot dogs, and house-made curried chicken salad wraps to name a few.
The twists of flavor come from Elliot’s trial and error — he’s found that a splash of Coca Cola gives caramelized onions an amazing color and sweet finish (and we agree).
Elliot has taken the bar experience to a new level. Though he’s been knocked as abrasive (which he admits) by foodie blogs at his past restaurants, no one can seem to brush off the excellent food he’s brought to the table.
“People come to Smith Street and expect they’ll make it because it’s Smith Street — but most of them have the same terrible food, sometimes with no real chef at all,” said Elliot, whose heyday was around the same time as the two other restaurant tycoons Jim Mamary and Alan Harding, though they’ve both announced their departure.
“I don’t put up with that crap. I believe in Smith Street, and I want to bring good food to the people in this neighborhood. That’s all.”
Ceol [191 Smith St. at Warren Street in Cobble Hill, (347) 643-9911]. Snacks available until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. For info, visit www.ceolpub.com.