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Get some real Southern comfort at Seersucker

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The concept at Seersucker is much like the Carroll Gardens restaurant’s name — a polished southern classic.

Seersucker is a dressed-up homage to Chef Robert Newton’s Arkansas childhood, a collaboration between Newton, a Le Cirque veteran and private chef, and his girlfriend, Kerry Diamond.

“When Rob came to New York, he was so surprised to find that everyone thinks Southern food is something that’s deep fried and covered in gravy,” said Diamond. “He wanted to show people it doesn’t have to be like that.”

Yes, you’ll find items like the prerequisite shrimp and grits ($18), but here it’s accented with tomatoes and mushrooms from the Carroll Gardens farmers’ market rather than smothered in cheddar. Newton has a strong sensibility of fresh and local, using much of both in his cookery.

A hearty country cassoulet was a hit at the restaurant’s “friends and family night” last week — served alongside a perfectly tender duck leg and topped with cornbread crumbs. The roasted Vidalia onion ($17), with shiitakes and wheat berries, was juicy, sweet and strangely decadent; a surprisingly thoughtful vegetarian option for a Southern joint.

The beer and wine list is refreshingly all-American, and coffee, of course, comes from Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, North Carolina. We can’t wait for those big breakfasts — but for now, Seersucker serves dinner only.

“It’s still Southern classics,” said Diamond, “but with a much lighter hand.”

Seersucker [329 Smith St. between Carroll and President streets in Carroll Gardens, (718) 422-0444]. Closed Mondays.

Updated 4:45 pm, June 3, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

R from Carroll Gardens says:
The menu is so unappealing- with the exception of the biscuits. How about some normal southern cuisine? Another waste of a restaurant for Smith st. It's a shame, I was actually looking forward to your opening. Not anymore, that menu is terrible. I can't see this place lasting without changing it.
June 11, 2010, 5:25 pm

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