There’s nothing more exciting than to visit an unassuming cocktail bar with no expectations, and then be completely blown away and impressed by the hospitality of the owner and the creativity of the restaurant. That can describe my experience at Black Tree in the LES. As soon as you walk into the hipster bar-meets-unique cocktails-meets sustainable sandwich spot-meets-my stomach, you’re welcomed by a laid back waiter or waitress who approaches you with ease. It almost feels like you’re stopping by your buddies work to say, ‘hey’ and grab a couple drinks while you wait for to get off. The Brooklyn version of the show Cheers if you will makes you feel absolutely at home from staff to owner Sandy Hall and ambiance. No wonder the gastro-pub was on Food Network’s Show Diners Drive-Ins and Dives! Since it was my first time and the waitress shared some details about the menu, we wanted to pinpoint a couple things for you to take note of when visiting Black Tree. Starting with:
1.) This is a sustainable cocktail bar, which means they source all of their ingredients EXTREMELY LOCALLY. Therefore, get it while it’s hot. They may run out of a couple food items here or there, but that makes this place even more of a hot commodity for me. The fresher, the better. And that also means the menu changes based on seasonality and whats available. I’m in!
2.) They create their own bitters! Yea. Not just ANY bitters, these flavors are unbelievable and can be added to any cocktail. The list includes Rhubarb (I know!), Rose, Vineyard Concord Grape, Peach and Herbs and the list continues. Think about choosing their signature cocktails, such as Bring (a take on a foamy Collins) with Bacon Infused Bourbon, Black bitters, Maple, Egg White and then adding Chocolate, coffee and Sasparilla bitters, oh buddy.
3.) Owner Sandy is the coolest and most humble dude and he makes everything himself without culinary experience. Oh and everything is made in-house. (I just combined a lot into this number), but really, aside from the bitters, the owner concocts his own soda flavors with Cinnamon Sassaprilla, Cream, and Lemon-Lime, as well as pickled fruits and vegetables, such as red beet, ramps, rhubarb, green strawberry, and more.
Was that all part of the waitresses explanation of the menu? Not really, but I thought I should enlighten you before I continued. I was introduced to this magical place by another food blogger Michelle Avidon from Foodful Thought who focuses on maintaining a balanced diet and recipes. She’ll contribute some of her healthy habits to a Fashfoodies post at some point soon, so we can all learn how to balance a little more.
Since Michelle is a regular, I decided to let her take the wheel, (which meant Sandy took the wheel) and ordered some of his top picks of the night. Starting with the bacon infused bourbon cocktail which completely hit the spot and moving onto dishes..
I had my eye on the Asparagus from the beginning topped with an egg and olga cheese and flavored with white wine as the perfect teaser to start the meal.
I think he’s reading my mind. The creamiest Burrata was then placed in front of me, which was topped with the perfect amount of olive oil and sea salt to enhance the flavor and served with toasted ciabatta.
Next, we had a combination of Mixed Greens with creamy goat cheese and some housemade ramp vinaigrette and a hearty Bahn Mi, which was a savory sandwich filled with a combination of duck leg, tender rillettes and mousse with house pickles and cilantro. Good touch my friend.
This is no ordinary sandwich. Oh no! This is the Bahn Mi! And it’s absolutely delicious. Don’t let the two pieces of bread fool you. Juicy pieces of duck and soft mousse from the rillette was a perfect pairing.
We have another? Oh wow! Short Rib is my favorite, especially when it’s braised! Caffe Vita Coffee & Southern Tier Stout Braised Short Rib, with Spicy Pear Preserves to add a touch of sweet and tanginess to the sandwich, topped with Arugula and Pickled Pear to make the sandwich a little more complex.
And then the masterpiece. I think any sandwich that utilizes a fried egg as a condiment is perfect! It makes every bite more fun as the yolk breaks and adds another flavor and texture. The Purple Beet comes with Roasted Purple Beets, Vermont Creamery Goat Cheese, Aged Balsamic and Sauteed Beet Greens, Fresh Herbs & Flowering Chive. In addition to adding an egg, you can also choose to add bacon and Burrata if you really want to dress up your sandwich.
Do we have room for dessert? Not really. But, that just means we have to go back for seconds.. and thirds. Instead, we opted for pickled pickle backs. Pickled anything really. As mentioned before, they had pickled ramps, rhubarb and even red beets. I chose the pickled ramps and tequila. 1..2..3.. and..