(Published in the Cayman Compass Weekender, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015)
Here’s why I love The Brooklyn Pizza + Pasta, the latest restaurant to open at Camana Bay.
First, the food is fantastic – think gourmet flavors, without the fine-dining price. Second, the restaurant’s chic, modern interior decor feels a world away from the Caribbean, transporting you to a laid-back urban city. And finally, the purse-friendly prices which won’t leave you reeling when the bill arrives.
The Brooklyn is the sixth restaurant to open under The Market Street Group, which also owns and manages Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar, The Waterfront Urban Diner, Lone Star Bar & Grill, Craft Food & Beverage Company, and Duke’s Seafood and Rib Shack.
Situated in the former spot of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, the location offers diners ample space to either eat in air-conditioned comfort or on the breezy patio overlooking the picturesque fountain.
The Brooklyn’s menu – a collaboration among the team of international chefs of The Market Street Group – is a mix of Italian-inspired American favorites. According to Dylan Benoit, Market Street Group chef, the menu aims to be approachable, versatile and family-driven, offering something for everyone.
In true American-Italian fashion, the focus of the menu is on pizzas and pastas, alongside salads, classic appetizers with a twist, and traditional offerings such as burgers, steaks and oven-roasted chicken.
During a recent visit, my guest and I plumped for the steamed mussels and butcher’s board to start, followed by the “Orchard” pizza and short rib pappardelle.
The steamed mussels were served in a fragrant broth made from shallots, cherry tomatoes, white wine and herbs and were served with garlic toast. If you are a fan of mussels, then this dish is an absolute must.
The butcher’s board consisted of a selection of cured meats and cheeses, olives, figs and pickled garden vegetables. It was delicious as an appetizer, but would also make a great sharing platter accompanied by some of the restaurant’s handcrafted cocktails.
Indeed, the cured meats are set to become a signature of The Brooklyn with the launch of their own in-house curing program. The restaurant even features a custom-built charcuterie room on show behind the bar, where the team will cure meats including prosciutto, bresaola and wild game meats.
I was drawn to the Orchard pizza due to its creative combination of ingredients; poached pear, prosciutto, toasted walnuts, Gorgonzola, and truffle honey. It did not disappoint.
All of the pizzas at The Brooklyn are thin crust and cooked to perfection in the restaurant’s wood-burning brick oven. According to Benoit, the pizzas are a great success, with one of the most popular to date being the “Midnight Express,” made with beef bresaola, lamb bacon, tomato, mozzarella, diced tomatoes, and sweet garlic sauce.
The short rib pappardelle was definitely our favorite dish of the night, a delicious combination of melt-in-the-mouth braised short rib, mushrooms, onion, fresh arugula, pecorino and red wine beef jus all muddled together in cooked-to-perfection freshly made pappardelle pasta. Delizioso!
Unfortunately, neither of us had room for dessert. However, there is plenty to tempt those with a sweet-tooth, including the Nutella Pizza with mini marshmallows, caramel sauce and a “Graham Crumb,” as well as the homemade cheesecake with a choice of toppings.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the cocktails. The cocktail menu is split into three designated groups: “The Bourbon Legends,” a nod to the restaurant’s urban and industrial design focus; “The Brooklyn Spritz,” a selection of lighter libations inspired by the restaurant’s waterfront location; and the “Signature Cocktails,” featuring classics with a modern twist.
Our favorite was the “El Pepino” from The Brooklyn Spritz selection, made with Hendrick’s gin, cucumber, ginger, lime and sparkling wine. Of course, the drink menu also includes a large selection of wines by the bottle or glass, as well as craft beers.
Along with the food, The Market Street Group takes the decor of each of their restaurants seriously.
Like Craft, Mizu and The Watefront restaurants, the Brooklyn interior was custom-designed and built by a multi-award-winning design firm from Hong Kong. The cutting-edge interior is the hallmark of designer Kinney Chan, recognized as being at the forefront of his profession for up-to-the-minute style.
Highlights of the restaurant include two 13-foot harvest-style tables which run down the center of the dining room, custom server stations that mimic warehouse lockers, family friendly booth seating and handcrafted artisan pendant lights.
The look is striking yet welcoming, the perfect complement to the flavor-packed, easygoing menu which will have you going back time and time again. This is modern comfort food at its very best.
The Brooklyn is open seven days a week, 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Visit thebrooklyncayman.com.