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Pickers and choosers: Bushwick restaurant owner forages for food, serves it

for The Brooklyn Paper
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He was born to be wild.

Owner of restaurant Northeast Kingdom, Paris Smeraldo not only supplies his rustic restaurant with eggs and veggies brought down from his farm in the Hudson Valley — but also the roots, leaves, and berries he forages each week with his very own hands.

“Many restaurants these days say they’re doing foraging, but it really just means that they’re buying things from foragers,” said Smeraldo. “I grew up in the woods of Vermont with no running water or electricity, so from a very young age I was indoctrinated with learning about wild foods.”

For the owner and forager, that means gathering fresh handfuls of elderberry blooms to use in cordials and cocktails, scouring streambeds for ramps, climbing black locust trees to nab their edible flowers, seeking out moist soil beds for dense clusters of crimson beauty (similar to rhubarb and celery), and weeding his garden bed for wood sorrel, lambs quarters, dandelion leaves and garlic mustard.

“The stuff that I have the privilege of using here, I’ve never seen in a restaurant in 16 years,” said Northeast Kingdom chef Kevin Adey. “Foraging in springtime is easy, but who wants to tramp around the woods in the cold looking for black trumpet mushrooms? That really separates the men from the boys.”

Northeast Kingdom [18 Wyckoff Ave. between Jefferson and Starr streets in Bushwick, www.north-eastkingdom.com, (718) 386–3864].

Updated 5:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Foraging is hipsterspeak for "free". I'm sure their prices reflect this.

Gotta love this quote:

“Foraging in springtime is easy, but who wants to tramp around the woods in the cold looking for black trumpet mushrooms? That really separates the men from the boys.”

No chef - there are many things that separate men from boys - wearing your kid sister's jeans, bike lanes, cupcake tattoos are just a few. I see the football players at the local middle school running in 30 degree weather. They're not stopping to pick Lavendar thistles for that night's meal

Finally men don't "forage". They hunt and gather.
June 21, 2012, 7:36 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
It's all fun and games until someone eats a poison mushroom.
June 21, 2012, 8:44 am
Taavo from wiliamsburg says:
Pat I. - Trolling the brooklyn Paper... that s a new low
June 21, 2012, 9:46 am
Thursday from NY says:
“I grew up in the woods of Vermont with no running water or electricity, so from a very young age I was indoctrinated with learning about wild foods.”

To me, this translates into: I don't wash my hands, body or clothes regularly. Here in lies the origin of NYs bedbug explosion folks. I don't like eating dirty food either. I'll skp this place.
June 21, 2012, 10:59 am
Mickey Shea from Greenpoint says:
Hey, as long as he's not foraging in the local dumpster.
June 22, 2012, 9:35 am
Whitney from Bushwick says:
I live around the corner and when I moved into the neighborhood a year ago, I was happy to see what looked like a nice restaurant so close to my new home. After reading the menu posted outside, I was really excited to check out the food. Later, I'd read, maybe on yelp! or perhaps on the restaurant's website, of their ethos and spirit, which I responded to positively and appreciated very much. I ate there twice last year and felt very unwelcome and unwanted as a patron both times, on top of the poor service. I wanted to drop off my resume, applying as FOH manager, because they really could have used my experience (or someone's!) in that department. Things might have changed since then but I'm not at all interested in finding out for myself.
June 22, 2012, 7:31 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Hey Taavo -

C'mon...READ THE F**CKING ARTICLE. Do you think any normal, sane person would risk his life eating here?

Frankly I think they're in violation of several health codes. You're not allowed to serve fish you caught yourself and game you hunted with your own two hands -and these guys are cooking stuff they foraged?

Finally - I don't have any faith in any restaurant North of Bensonhurst. These are part of the same a-hole whimiscal adult toddlers who are causing bee swarms and growing veggies in lots once occupied by car battery manufacturers. Hell most of Williamsburg qualifies as a superfund site. But these people who can't even manage to keep their apartmentsfree of bedbugs should be trusted with raising chickens - the filithist animals on earth as a food source.

One can only hope they kill each other off with e-coli.
June 22, 2012, 8:18 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Whitney:

Possible reasons they didn't hire you:

You have good hygiene.

You dress professionally rather than someone whotook a handful of goofballs and ran through grandma's closet.

You have a degree in something practical instead of - say-
post modern puppetry or typewriter retsoration.

You don't have cankles or tattoos.

You don't consider bedbugs to be part of the gritty urban experience.

You don't take photos of watertowers, dead birds or graffiti.

You've never played a Kazoo on a subway platform.

You don't wear scarves and ski caps in August.

None you know has a tattoo of a cupcake.
June 22, 2012, 8:32 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Whitney:

Possible reasons they didn't hire you:

You have good hygiene.

You dress professionally rather than someone whotook a handful of goofballs and ran through grandma's closet.

You have a degree in something practical instead of - say-
post modern puppetry or typewriter retsoration.

You don't have cankles or tattoos.

You don't consider bedbugs to be part of the gritty urban experience.

You don't take photos of watertowers, dead birds or graffiti.

You've never played a Kazoo on a subway platform.

You don't wear scarves and ski caps in August.

None you know has a tattoo of a cupcake.
June 22, 2012, 8:33 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Whitney:

Possible reasons they didn't hire you:

You have good hygiene.

You dress professionally rather than someone whotook a handful of goofballs and ran through grandma's closet.

You have a degree in something practical instead of - say-
post modern puppetry or typewriter retsoration.

You don't have cankles or tattoos.

You don't consider bedbugs to be part of the gritty urban experience.

You don't take photos of watertowers, dead birds or graffiti.

You've never played a Kazoo on a subway platform.

You don't wear scarves and ski caps in August.

None you know has a tattoo of a cupcake.
June 22, 2012, 8:33 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Whitney:

Possible reasons they didn't hire you:

You have good hygiene.

You dress professionally rather than someone whotook a handful of goofballs and ran through grandma's closet.

You have a degree in something practical instead of - say-
post modern puppetry or typewriter retsoration.

You don't have cankles or tattoos.

You don't consider bedbugs to be part of the gritty urban experience.

You don't take photos of watertowers, dead birds or graffiti.

You've never played a Kazoo on a subway platform.

You don't wear scarves and ski caps in August.

None you know has a tattoo of a cupcake.
June 22, 2012, 8:33 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Whitney:

Possible reasons they didn't hire you:

You have good hygiene.

You dress professionally rather than someone whotook a handful of goofballs and ran through grandma's closet.

You have a degree in something practical instead of - say-
post modern puppetry or typewriter retsoration.

You don't have cankles or tattoos.

You don't consider bedbugs to be part of the gritty urban experience.

You don't take photos of watertowers, dead birds or graffiti.

You've never played a Kazoo on a subway platform.

You don't wear scarves and ski caps in August.

None you know has a tattoo of a cupcake.
June 22, 2012, 8:33 pm
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Whitney:

Possible reasons they didn't hire you:

You have good hygiene.

You dress professionally rather than someone whotook a handful of goofballs and ran through grandma's closet.

You have a degree in something practical instead of - say-
post modern puppetry or typewriter retsoration.

You don't have cankles or tattoos.

You don't consider bedbugs to be part of the gritty urban experience.

You don't take photos of watertowers, dead birds or graffiti.

You've never played a Kazoo on a subway platform.

You don't wear scarves and ski caps in August.

None you know has a tattoo of a cupcake.
June 22, 2012, 8:33 pm
Whitney from Bushwick says:
Pat, you don't know what's happenin'.

I didn't apply there. I just tried to have two nice meals with my family.

I have many, highly visible tattoos.
I know several people with tattoos of cupcakes.
I have no degree. I barely finished high school.
I have taken photos of all those things.
I dress very casually. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal.
June 23, 2012, 8:47 am
biscuitQueen from brooklyn says:
Pat I,
Its is widely believed that the current bedbug epidemic has been caused by several factors, namely the banning of DDT, and the evolution of pesticide resistant bed bugs. People do not get bed bugs because they have poor hygiene. It's obvious that you are fond of making superfluous blanket statements; that is your prerogative, but perhaps you should consider the difference between opinion, ( to which I say isn't it nice to live in a place where you can voice any opinion at all, even an idiotic one?) and fact.
June 23, 2012, 5:01 pm

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