Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
Before I experienced Gwynett St, you couldn’t have convinced me that a better roast chicken in NYC existed than the one I serve (not cook, mind you but serve) every week at Apiary. Ok, I haven’t had the Nomad’s now famous foie gras-laced chicken or Jonathan Waxman’s iconic version at Barbuto yet. And perhaps I’m a bit biased having worked with Chef Scott Bryan for the last few years. But, damn, his chicken is pretty spectacular.
And yet the one I tasted at Gwynett St changed the game again. No more is just a juicy, tender, moist bird enough. Probably any of the best chefs in NYC could pull that off. But you need to go the extra mile. And that describes our entire experience at Gwynett St.
In a remote area of Williamsburg, this little gem is getting some big attention and rightfully so. From the hostess to the bartender to the waitress, the service was spot-on. Never intrusive, but genuine and caring. We felt like we were old regulars even though this was our first (but certainly not last) visit.
Chef Justin Hilbert spent time in the kitchen of WD-50, Wylie Dufresne’s molecular gastronomy mecca. And when the beautifully complex plates at Gwynett St arrive, you can see the influence. But instead of liquid nitrogen and strangely flavored foams, this all feels like real food. And really delicious food at that.
The whiskey bread appetizer is mandatory ordering and we could have filled up on lots of orders of that. But there was so much more to try. And it was the unassuming chicken dish that blew me away.
A striking black skin contrasts the chicken’s white meat flesh. Those colors are just part of the artistic plating aesthetic. Other components in the seasonal preparation included blocks of tender rutabega, dehydrated onion rings, and soft tangy pineapple slivers. It was an appropriate winter dish with earthy, spicy notes and a subtle smoky sweetness.
But that chicken! Oh lord, that chicken! There was no dark meat on the plate, but the chicken was soft and moist with a distinct smokiness and more flavor than I knew chicken could hold. A brine and cooking with hay ash is only part of the secret, I’m sure.
I could go on and on about the other dishes we ate (like a perfect duck breast with brussels sprouts and prunes or an interesting fennel and cream cheese dessert), but for now I want this chicken to stand on its own. And in the meantime, I have to convince Scott Bryan (my chicken hero) to come back with me to try this awe-inspiring chicken.
|312 Graham Avenue (between Ainslie and Devoe Street),