A Little Restaurant Makes it Big

Brooklyn's Grocery Lands on Zagat's List of Top NYC Eateries

Sharon Pachter

Sharon Pachter, co-owner of the Grocery Manoli Wetherell, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Manoli Wetherell, NPR News

The Grocery's menu. Courtesy the Grocery hide caption

Read the menu
itoggle caption Courtesy the Grocery

The Grocery, a neighborhood restaurant in Brooklyn, was small to begin with. But since Zagat named it one of the seven best restaurants in New York City, it has become even tougher to get into the place. NPR's Susan Stamberg continues her weekly series on food with a visit to the Grocery.

With just 13 tables, a small staff and reasonable prices, the Grocery joined the ranks of fancy New York City gourmet restaurants including Le Bernardin, Daniel and Peter Luger.

Partners Charles Kiely and Sharon Pachter started the Grocery in 1999. "We opened the restaurant that we were looking for to dine at, that we wanted in our neighborhood," Kiely says.

Some regulars fuss it's harder to get a table at the Grocery, now that their neighborhood hole-in-the-wall has been discovered, Stamberg reports. So Kiely tries to hold back a table or two for his regulars.

Below is the Grocery's recipe for roasted beets and goat cheese ravioli.

Roasted Beets

May be cooked in advance and refrigerated. Store colors separately; they will bleed.

3 medium size beets (preferably a variety: gold, chioga ,white), washed well and dried

olive oil — enough to lightly coat beets

kosher salt — to taste

ground pepper — to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash beets well, dry and coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap individually in aluminum foil. Roast in 350-degree oven (approx. 1 hour) until knife tender and skin peels easily when rubbed. Peel while warm. Cool. Slice thinly and arrange on 4 plates. Sprinkle with additional salt to taste.

Beet Sauce

May be cooked in advance and refrigerated.

2 large red beets, peeled, diced 1/4"

2 shallots, peeled, sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, peeled, sliced thin

1 sprig fresh thyme

1/2 sprig fresh rosemary

2 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

kosher salt — to taste

pepper — to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

In medium sauce pot, on low flame heat olive oil. Sweat shallots, garlic and herbs for 5 minutes. Add diced beets, sugar and vinegar. Cook on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add enough water just to barely cover. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer five minutes. Turn off, let stand. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fried Shallots

Optional but tasty.

2 shallots peeled, sliced thinly (1/16") across grain, into rings

flour — to dust

fry oil 350 degrees F.

salt

Separate shallots into individual little rings. (This is tedious.) Dust with flour to coat. Shake off excess flour. Fry at 350 degrees F. til golden brown and remove to paper towel. Salt to taste.

Goat Cheese Ravioli

We make our own, but store-bought goat or ricotta cheese ravioli may be substituted.

12 ravioli — 3 per person

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 quarts water boiling, salted

While raviolis are cooking in boiling salted water, heat a medium sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons butter. Heat til brown and nutty. (Optional: This step may be eliminated entirely, but the brown butter sauté lends wonderful nutty flavor, depth and great texture to the dish.) Cook raviolis until just tender. Strain out raviolis and add to hot brown butter (off the flame). Return to heat and sauté until coated and golden. Remove to prepared sliced beet plates. Save pan. Add 6-8 oz. beet sauce to pan, heat to simmer. Add 1 tablespoon butter (Optional). Swirl til melted/emulsified (or without butter, until slightly reduced). Adjust seasoning salt and pepper to taste. Top raviolis with warm beet sauce.

Garnish with fresh chopped chives, fried shallots and toasted pine nuts.

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