There's something sort of miraculous happening in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Just off of the C Franklin Avenue subway stop is Willow (506 Franklin Ave., 718-399-2384), a really quaint little restaurant where beautiful food is being prepared in a kitchen that is likely smaller than your own.
You may recognize the guys behind Willow. Carver Farrell and John Poiarkoff are also behind The Pines in Gowanus. They're making lesser-visited spots in Brooklyn really cool.
Farrell designed Willow, which is in a unique one-story building. It seats only 30 people with four seats at the bar (for the lucky people, in my opinion, who want to watch the magic happen). The whole layout of Willow is simple and casual, a laid-back atmosphere for some really pristine food.
The food is from Poiarkoff, who worked under Gabriel Kreuther before coming to The Pines and Willow. He works tirelessly to source really fine ingredients like meat from Happy Valley Meat Co. in Brooklyn and produce from Star Route Farm and the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. He even works with Star Route in advance of certain growing seasons so he can get exactly the kind of produce he wants.
And what he makes on those couple of burners is wonderful. Start with the cured mackerel ($10) and the 75-day-aged beef ($19). Or, go for his potato pierogi ($11/$18) and a salad of cucumber ribbons served with cherry tomatoes and puffed rice ($11).
If you're coming to the neighborhood for brunch, I would definitely order the fresh-squeezed orange juice and the baked eggs ($13), which come with the creamiest ricotta. If you have a big sweet tooth, the buckwheat pancake ($11) comes glazed with syrup, yogurt, peaches and candied pecans. And the subway is right there to carry you home.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City.