A Brooklyn Take on Comfort Food Favorites

A Brooklyn Take on Comfort Food Favorites

The Humble Beginnings of Camperdown Elm

As a born and raised Brooklynite, I’ve always had a special affinity for the delectable comfort foods that have become synonymous with my beloved borough. From the piping hot slices of brick-oven pizza to the mouthwatering bagels smothered in lox and cream cheese, the flavors of my childhood have a way of striking a nostalgic chord that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

So when I first heard about Camperdown Elm, a restaurant that promised to put a unique spin on these time-honored classics, I’ll admit I was intrigued, but also a tad skeptical. Could these culinary visionaries really improve upon perfection? Well, let me tell you, after just one visit, all of my doubts were swiftly put to rest.

Tucked away on a quaint tree-lined street in the heart of Park Slope, Camperdown Elm’s unassuming exterior belies the culinary magic that awaits within. The brainchild of husband-and-wife team, Chef Brian Leth and Sommelier Kimberly Wetherell, this cozy neighborhood spot has quickly earned a reputation as one of the borough’s most exciting and innovative dining destinations.

As I stepped through the doors, I was immediately struck by the restaurant’s warm and inviting atmosphere. The exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and soft lighting create a rustic-chic ambiance that feels both sophisticated and comfortably familiar. It’s the kind of place where you can sink into a plush leather armchair, sip on a craft cocktail, and let all your worries melt away.

But the real star of the show, of course, is the food. And let me tell you, Camperdown Elm’s menu is a veritable treasure trove of culinary delights. From the moment I laid eyes on the first course, I knew I was in for a treat.

Elevating the Classics with a Brooklyn Twist

Let’s start with the humble bread basket. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Bread basket? Really? That’s your idea of culinary innovation?” – but trust me, this is no ordinary bread basket. Camperdown Elm’s take on this classic starter is a masterclass in flavor and texture.

Freshly baked in-house, the assortment of breads includes a crusty sourdough loaf, fluffy Parker House rolls, and the pièce de résistance – a decadent cheddar-chive biscuit that quite literally melts in your mouth. And the real kicker? The accompanying butter is infused with a hint of maple, adding a subtle sweetness that perfectly complements the savory baked goods.

As I tore into the warm, fragrant bread, I couldn’t help but wonder: “How do they make something as simple as a bread basket taste this good?” The answer, my friends, lies in the meticulous attention to detail and the unwavering commitment to quality that the Camperdown Elm team brings to every aspect of their culinary craft.

This dedication to perfection is evident in every dish that graces the table. Take, for instance, the classic New York-style pizza. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Pizza? In a Brooklyn restaurant? How original.” – but once again, Camperdown Elm manages to elevate this beloved staple to new heights.

The crust is nothing short of a work of art, with a perfectly charred exterior that gives way to a wonderfully chewy and airy interior. The sauce is a harmonious blend of San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, and fragrant herbs, while the cheese – oh, the cheese! – is a divine combination of mozzarella, pecorino, and parmesan, all melted to gooey, stringy perfection.

But the real standout is the toppings. Instead of the usual suspects, Camperdown Elm’s pizza features a rotating selection of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients that truly showcase the best of what Brooklyn has to offer. From the roasted mushroom and truffle pizza to the sweet Italian sausage and caramelized onion, each slice is a symphony of flavors that dance across your palate.

And let’s not forget the humble burger. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Burger? In a Brooklyn restaurant? How unoriginal.” – but once again, Camperdown Elm defies expectations.

The patty itself is a masterful blend of grass-fed beef, carefully seasoned and grilled to a perfect medium-rare. The bun, a fluffy, house-made brioche, provides the perfect vehicle for the towering creation. But the true star of the show is the array of toppings that elevate this humble dish to new heights.

Imagine a juicy, perfectly cooked burger topped with a luscious, molten slice of aged cheddar, a smoky, crispy bacon, and a tangy, house-made pickle. And if that’s not enough to get your mouth watering, just wait until you try the addictive, hand-cut fries that come on the side – dusted with a blend of spices that will have you reaching for more, despite your better judgment.

Blending the Old and the New

But Camperdown Elm’s culinary prowess isn’t limited to just the classics. No, this innovative team of chefs and sommeliers has also expertly crafted a selection of inventive, contemporary dishes that showcase their boundless creativity and culinary skills.

Take, for instance, the roasted beet salad. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Beet salad? How boring.” – but trust me, this is no ordinary beet salad. The vibrant, earthy roots are roasted to perfection, their natural sweetness enhanced by a drizzle of honey-balsamic reduction.

But the real showstopper is the unexpected addition of crispy, salty prosciutto and a creamy, tangy goat cheese mousse. The interplay of flavors and textures is nothing short of sublime, with each bite offering a delightful balance of savory, sweet, and tart.

And let’s not forget the Camperdown Elm take on the classic mac and cheese. While some might scoff at the idea of reinventing such a beloved dish, the team at this Park Slope gem has managed to do just that, with stunning results.

The foundation is a rich, velvety béchamel sauce, infused with a blend of sharp cheddar, tangy Gruyère, and fragrant nutmeg. But the real magic happens when they fold in tender braised short rib, creating a dish that is both comfortingly familiar and deliciously unexpected.

The crowning glory, however, is the golden, bubbly breadcrumb topping that adds a satisfying crunch to every bite. It’s the kind of dish that will have you happily abandoning any semblance of table manners as you scrape the last delectable morsel from your plate.

A Culinary Symphony of Flavors

But the true test of Camperdown Elm’s culinary prowess lies in their ability to seamlessly blend the old and the new, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors that will leave you in a state of pure bliss.

Take, for instance, the duck confit. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Duck confit? In a Brooklyn restaurant? How predictable.” – but trust me, this is no ordinary duck confit.

The meat is meltingly tender, infused with the rich, savory flavors of the rendered fat. But the real magic lies in the unexpected accompaniments. Crispy, golden-brown potatoes provide a satisfying crunch, while a tart cherry compote lends a bright, fruity contrast that cuts through the richness of the duck.

And just when you think the dish couldn’t get any more intriguing, the Camperdown Elm team ups the ante by adding a dollop of tangy, creamy horseradish crème fraîche. It’s a flavor combination that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about duck confit.

But the real pièce de résistance, in my humble opinion, is the restaurant’s signature dish: the braised short rib. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Short rib? In a Brooklyn restaurant? How cliché.” – but once again, Camperdown Elm manages to elevate this comfort food classic to new heights.

The meat itself is a testament to the power of slow, low-and-slow cooking. It’s fall-off-the-bone tender, with a rich, velvety texture that melts in your mouth. But the real showstopper is the complex, multilayered sauce that coats the short rib.

A harmonious blend of red wine, beef stock, and fragrant herbs, the sauce is a labor of love, simmered for hours until it reaches a perfect balance of savory, sweet, and tangy. And just when you think it can’t get any better, the Camperdown Elm team adds a dollop of creamy, tangy horseradish crème fraîche, creating a flavor profile that will have you scraping your plate clean in search of every last drop.

A Culinary Adventure Through Brooklyn

As I sit back and savor the final bites of my meal, I can’t help but marvel at the sheer brilliance of the Camperdown Elm team. They’ve managed to take the familiar comfort foods of my childhood and transform them into something truly extraordinary, all while staying true to the vibrant, innovative spirit that defines the Brooklyn culinary scene.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic slice of pizza, a juicy burger, or a decadent plate of mac and cheese, Camperdown Elm has you covered. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the restaurant’s menu is a veritable treasure trove of culinary delights, each one a unique and delicious exploration of the flavors that make Brooklyn so special.

So if you’re looking for a true taste of Brooklyn, a culinary adventure that will transport you to the heart of this vibrant borough, look no further than Camperdown Elm. This unassuming gem in the heart of Park Slope is a testament to the power of culinary innovation and the enduring appeal of comfort food classics.

Come for the warm, inviting atmosphere, stay for the mind-blowingly delicious food, and leave with a newfound appreciation for the myriad of flavors that make Brooklyn the culinary capital of the world. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.