This steakhouse has rare appeal!
Every Brooklyn restaurant needs a hook to lure in diners, and Downtown’s new SaltBrick Tavern literally has dozens: pink neon hooks, to be precise. Inspired by meat hooks, they are suspended theatrically over diners like repurposed props from an avant-garde production of “Sweeney Todd.” But SaltBrick Tavern’s most important hook is the delicious selection of steaks that the company dry-ages in a room lined with Himalayan-salt tiles — lending the restaurant its distinctive name.
The dangling hooks catch your eye, but it’s SaltBrick’s decor that reels you in with its warm and cozy feel. It offers red velour banquettes and gently glowing pink walls of Himalayan-salt bricks as an antidote to a blustery winter’s night.
And it’s worth the effort to trudge through the snow and pull up a chair here. The signature SaltBrick Beef options include a tender and surprisingly flavorful filet mignon and a bone-in rib eye, dry aged for 55 days. Executive chef Christopher Kim offers a selection of sauces — classic Bearnaise, bordelaise, chimichurri, horseradish cream, or housemade steak sauce — but the cuts we sampled had such umami that we didn’t even consider dipping our fork into one. Among the side dishes — generously portioned for two diners — are decadent, buttery mashed potatoes and snappy haricots verts. We were as beguiled as Persephone by the juicy pomegranate fruit and crispy shallots that elevated Kim’s roasted Brussels sprouts.
Kim offers many comfort-food entrees to delight diners on a chilly night. The toothsome cavatelli, made with fresh carrot juice (that lent a subtle sweetness), was tossed with a perfect rabbit-bolognese sauce and layered over a bed of creamy ricotta cheese. The hearty cavatelli had more than taste, it had style — it was festively garnished with wide ribbons of every color of carrot.
Every great meal deserves a grand finale to marvel over, and pastry chef Tracy Wilk rises to the occasion — like SaltBrick’s peerless popovers — with her daunting “PieCaken,” a towering, deeply chocolatey assemblage of five layers of cake, including New York cheesecake and Brooklyn Blackout, that takes two forks — or more — to defeat!
The same hometown pride that created the “PieCaken” infuses SaltBrick’s cocktail and beer lists: the grapefruit-infused Loving Cup is made with Dorothy Parker gin from Williamsburg’s New York Distilling Company, and the beers are almost entirely from Brooklyn brewers.
There’s no doubt about it, we’re hooked. SaltBrick Tavern’s warm hospitality; rich, stick-to-your-ribs fare; and commitment to supporting local businesses make it a good neighbor that we will visit again and again.
SaltBrick Tavern [156 Tillary St. between Flatbush Avenue Ext. and Gold Street Downtown, (347) 417–9112, www.saltb