What if someone told you to go spend a couple hundred dollars to eat a tasting menu in a restaurant that looks like your apartment? What if that someone was us?
You would probably have one of three reactions: immediately make a reservation, immediately write us off, or immediately demand more information.
If you fall into either of the second groups, we’re going to try to get you into the first by the end of this review. But it might not be easy.
When we originally wrote about Battersby, we liked it a lot. There was tons of hype around it when it opened - and we felt that it actually lived up to it. But in the years that have passed, Battersby kind of went off the radar. “New Brooklyn” stopped being a thing people said, many more excellent restaurants opened in the borough, and somewhere along the way, people stopped talking about Battersby.
Which is why it was time we revisited it. And our finding is this: Battersby is incredible. Incredible enough that, despite a major caveat, we are raising its rating.
The caveat: Having heard all of the above, you will undoubtedly walk into Battersby and say to yourself, “This is it?” It’s a single room containing only an open kitchen, a tiny bar, and a few tables crammed within inches of each other. (If you’re not lucky enough to snag the one solo table against a wall, you will become very familiar with your neighbors.) There is a tin roof and an exposed brick wall - and that’s where the vibes end.
But the food is absolutely phenomenal. While you can order a la carte, the tasting menu is how you do Battersby right - it’s everything a tasting menu should be (but so often isn’t): each course is a fully-formed meal in its own right, and each thing that comes out is better than what came before it. On a recent visit, we ate our way through agnolotti, branzino, and lamb three ways – and that was only half of the meal. Nothing at Battersby is overly complex or advanced, and yet every plate will have you thinking you just ate the best possible version of that dish.
In general, we care a lot about food - but also about everything else in a restaurant. And in most cases, the vibe of a place has to be as good as its food in order for us to love it. Especially if we are paying handily for it. But Battersby is the very rare exception to that rule. This is a restaurant with food that’s outstanding enough to outweigh everything else.
So while Battersby probably won’t be in the running for your next special occasion dinner, you should find an excuse eat here. Wrangle your most entertaining friends, or someone that loves food even more than you do, or (best case scenario) a sponsor to foot the bill - do what you need to do to justify the trip to Battersby. You’ll be glad you did.
A tiny amuse of rich and creamy, yet somehow not heavy soup. This is the first sign of more excellent things to come.
Battersby does their baking in-house, and the results are outstanding. This fluffy, salty-savory thing comes out steaming hot with a side of the most delicious butter you will ever eat.
We’re not the biggest fans of yogurt to begin with, so we wouldn’t have guessed how badly we needed to eat this: a subtly tangy yogurt base topped with crunchy “muesli.” We can’t tell you what exactly those crunchy bits are because we were too busy demolishing this to give it much thought.
Immaculate yellowtail crudo topped with a cucumber-yuzu mashup. Basically a vacation in your mouth.
The old brown butter/sage/sweet potato/pasta combo. You think you’ve seen enough of it until it shows up on your table at Battersby. You will want to lick the bowl.
A nice piece of fish on a bed of spinach. Seems simple enough, right? Not so fast. They come over with a pitcher of curry, pour it all over everything, and you’re suddenly looking at the new standard by which you will judge all fish dishes. This is so good.
While the tasting menu at Battersby is by no means an inexpensive affair, the blow of the check is softened by how many things you get to taste, and how much food you’re presented with. Case in point: the lamb. It comes in sausage, rib, and shank form, all of which are insanely good.
Foam isn’t our preferred way to eat vegetables, or sweets for that matter. But this tiny pre-dessert treat may have convinced us we need to reconsider our position. The tartness of the lemon curd with the grassy-tasting foam is awesome.
With super crispy quinoa on top. This is the perfect way to end a meal at Battersby.