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Eat and Drink

Brooklyn's finest chefs cook at City Grit in Manhattan

For more than two years, City Grit has been hosting chef dinners in a room at a defunct Catholic School on the edge of SoHo. The vibe is homey, but the whole affair is actually quite serious. The chefs are all talented, and many are very accomplished.

Sarah Simmons, who founded City Grit, cleverly curates the dinners, managing to keep things interesting week after week. (Dinners are hosted multiple nights a week.) She has introduced The Next Big Thing series, which brings in chefs who are about to open their own restaurant and The City Spotlight series, in which a well-known chef from outside of NYC cooks a meal.

With seating for some 50-odd people, a dinner at City Grit can feel like an extended family gathering. The room, with paintings and antiques lining the walls, features communal tables conducive to chatting with strangers.

When Simmons got her hands on the recently-published book "Brooklyn Chef's Table" by the food writer Sarah Zorn, she realized that Brooklyn chefs deserved a spot at her table, too.

"I wanted to bring attention to all the great chefs that are doing these great things in our backyard," she said.

And so the Brooklyn Chef's Table Cookbook Series idea was born. Four dinners are taking place on March 27 - 30.

But Brooklyn is in New York City, so why attend a City Grit dinner instead of just heading to the respective chef's restaurants?

Simmons says first off, the chef will be present and accessible to diners. Indeed, at City Grit dinners the chefs present the meal to those in attendance. And the menu will feature twists on what is normally prepared at the menu, or perhaps something completely different.

For tickets, which range from $55 - $75 for individual tickets and $95 - $145 for pairs, are available at citygritnyc.com. Beverages not included.

Chef #1: Saul Bolton of Saul

The Michelin-starred restaurant Saul was a pioneer in
Photo Credit: Brent Herrig

The Michelin-starred restaurant Saul was a pioneer in the Brooklyn dining scene, having opened on Smith Street 14 years ago. This summer, Bolton moved Saul to the Brooklyn Museum. Bolton cooks at City Grit on Thursday, March 27.

Simmons on Bolton:

"His food is not only delicious but its as beautiful as anything hanging on the wall in the Brooklyn Museum."

Saul Bolton's Baked Alaska

Bolton's Baked Alaska is so good, he triumphed
Photo Credit: Brent Herrig

Bolton's Baked Alaska is so good, he triumphed over Bobby Flay in an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Chef #2: Evan Hanczor of Egg

Evan Hanczor has been the chef at Williamsburg
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Evan Hanczor

Evan Hanczor has been the chef at Williamsburg hot spot Egg, which recently moved within the neighborhood to a bigger space, for three years. He cooks at City Grit on March 28.

Simmons on Hanczor:

"I’m not a brunch girl, but if you want me to go to brunch with you, and can guarantee we’ll have a seat at Egg, i'll go. It's so delicious and the first place I remember eating at in New York. "It’s my first memory."

Evan Hanczor's buttermilk biscuits

Just look at how fluffy those babies are.
Photo Credit: Eric Isaac

Just look at how fluffy those babies are. At Egg, which doesn't serve dinner, biscuits (and breakfast) are served until 5 p.m. daily.

Chefs #3 and #4: Susan Povich & Justin Warner

Susan Povich of the Red Hook Lobster Pound
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Susan Povich; Getty Images/ Cindy Ord

Susan Povich of the Red Hook Lobster Pound and Justin Warner of Do or Dine in Bed-Stuy are collaborating on what is sure to be an adventurous meal. They will cook together on March 28.

Simmons on Povich:

"Susan is responsible for my fav thing to eat in warm weather ... I could eat lobster every single day for the rest of my life."

Simmons on Warner:

"Justin Warner is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He is so talented and so smart and just has the most amazing soul. I jump at the chance to spend time with him.

Susan Povich's lobster roll

How much does this make you yearn for
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Red Hook Flicks

How much does this make you yearn for summer??!!

Justin Warner's Foie Gras donut

Talk about a creative combination. Justin Warner's donut,
Photo Credit: Do or Dine

Talk about a creative combination. Justin Warner's donut, filled with Foie Gras and Welch's grape jelly, has been wowing customers since his Bed-Stuy restaurant opened. We think you can expect creativity along these lines at the City Grit dinner.

Chef #5: Nate Smith

Nate Smith opened Allswell in Williamsburg in 2011.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nate Smith

Nate Smith opened Allswell in Williamsburg in 2011. His restaurant has a changing menu that is heavily reliant on seasonal, fresh ingredients. He will be joining Simmons in cooking Sunday Supper on March 30. Simmons will, as always, be making her famous fried chicken. She says Smith is making the sides and they are collaborating on the dessert, which is still being experimented with.

Simmons on Smith:

"What I like about Nate is that he makes food that is very similar conceptually to mine. I thought the idea of cooking together would be really fun."

Nate Smith's Guinea fowl with baked navy beans

Crispy skin and a moist interior. You can
Photo Credit: Eric Isaac

Crispy skin and a moist interior. You can tell.

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