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Eat and Drink

Brooklyn chefs: 7 you need to know

It's no secret that Brooklyn is a culinary destination.

Long a hotbed for inventive, groundbreaking and even award-winning fare, the bar has never been higher for the borough's establishments.

"Restaurants in Brooklyn are getting better and better," says Chef Dale Talde.

Talde is one of the borough's culinary stars, thanks to his mini Park Slope empire of Thistle Hill Tavern, Pork Slope and his eponymous Talde. He joins an illustrious crew of chefs who have made Brooklyn home in recent years and quickly become the face of the borough's culinary scene.

Want to dig in? Here are seven Brooklyn chefs you need to know.

Ilan Hall | The Gorbals

Slinger of pig heads and host of his
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Slinger of pig heads and host of his own TV show, Hall is a master of the kitchen and cable.

The current host of the Esquire Network’s cooking competition series “Knife Fight,” Ilan Hall also famously won season two of “Top Chef.” On a daily basis, he makes his mark in his new restaurant The Gorbals, located inside the Williamsburg Urban Outfitters. Diners can’t get enough of dishes like whole-roasted pig heads and a Jewish Lunchbox with fried barley, a poached egg, gefilte fish cake and dill kimchi.

Patti Jackson | Delaware and Hudson

The celebrated chef lures diners to Williamsburg for
Photo Credit: John Taggart

The celebrated chef lures diners to Williamsburg for her homemade pretzel rolls alone.

After 20 years spent working in Manhattan kitchens, when Patti Jackson was ready to open her own restaurant, she headed straight to Brooklyn. Delaware and Hudson opened in Williamsburg this past May, where Jackson offers a weekly rotating menu of items like pretzel rolls and hanger steak with fresh corn polenta and an heirloom tomato salad. And it seems like she’s found the right home. “We’ve gotten a great response from the neighborhood,” says Jackson, who is constantly looking around to work with local vendors and already has Brooklyn Cured, Whisk and Avanti Specialty Foods on her list.

Dale Talde | Talde, Pork Slope and Thistle Hill Tavern

This “Top Chef” favorite may just be the
Photo Credit: Dale Talde

This “Top Chef” favorite may just be the culinary king of the borough.

Dale Talde says that his customers are hungrier than ever for good food. And he’s helping meet the demand with three restaurants in Park Slope. At his namesake Talde, which opened in 2012, the chef sources most of his vegetables for the Asian-American menu from local farmers’ markets. Behind the bar, he uses Brooklyn-based distillers like Brooklyn Republic Vodka and Widow Jane Bourbon. In addition to running three Brooklyn restaurants, the “Top Chef” alum also has a cookbook coming out in spring 2015 and has even branched out of Kings County with his new Jersey City restaurant, Carrino Provisions. But Brooklyn’s where it all began.

Eli Sussman | Mile End

The chef and co-author makes chopped liver cool
Photo Credit: Mile End

The chef and co-author makes chopped liver cool again at this Montreal-style deli.

Since starting out as a prep cook at acclaimed Jewish deli Mile End in 2011, Eli Sussman has worked his way up the line and is now the executive chef at the Boerum Hill and Manhattan locations, in addition to coordinating the production kitchen in Red Hook. Sussman has fully taken advantage of his Brooklyn location, sourcing his organic chicken thighs from Paisanos Meat Market and his apricots from Sahadi’s. His ambition doesn’t stop in the kitchen; with his brother, The Cleveland Chef Max, Sussman is also the co-author of the cookbooks, “Freshman in the Kitchen” and “This Is a Cookbook” and “The Best Cookbook Ever.”

Polo Dobkin | Meadowsweet

The Michelin-starred chef is
Photo Credit: Evan Sung

The Michelin-starred chef is "firmly rooted in Brooklyn."

Chef Polo Dobkin is no stranger to Brooklyn. He started cooking in the borough 12 years ago with Dressler, which earned a Michelin Star four years in a row before closing last year. Now the chef is back in the same Williamsburg location with Meadowsweet, which opened to great acclaim in June. Dobkin uses as many borough purveyors as he can, such as Brooklyn Grange, and keeps things even more local with an elevated herb loft right in the restaurant.

Joaquin Baca | Brooklyn Star

A Momofuku alum brings Southern-tinged comfort food to
Photo Credit: Brooklyn Star

A Momofuku alum brings Southern-tinged comfort food to Williamsburg.

After years working with David Chang, Joaquin Baca opened Brooklyn Star in 2009 and quickly gained a following for his Southern-style comfort food. A fire forced him to close, but in 2011, Baca reopened in a larger space on Lorimer where he continues to serve divine dishes like country fried steak and chocolate bread pudding. "I'm not going to leave Brooklyn anytime soon," says Baca. "I'm dug in pretty deep."

Jason Marcus | Traif, Xixa

The kashrut rebel builds a following on South
Photo Credit: Traif

The kashrut rebel builds a following on South Fourth Street.

Since 2010, Chef Jason Marcus has put his tongue-in-cheek spin on Jewish dining with Williamsburg’s Traif, where he celebrates foods like pork typically forbidden by Jewish dietary laws. Take, for example his strawberry-cinnamon-glazed baby back ribs or the popular bacon doughnuts. Marcus has built further nabe and culinary cred with his latest project, the Mexican-influenced Xixa, that’s located just down the street.


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