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The Early Report: PSbklyn

PS Bklyn, the family-friendly gastropub replacing Bussaco on Union between 6th and 7th, is opening tomorrow. At their soft open last night, they served a five-course meal to friends and neighbors, and while the food was very impressive and the space gorgeous, the fact that there are two restaurants operating here simultaneously became obvious very early on. 

Not literally, obviously. The food served was the same. The large space is divided into two very distinct sections, though: the front bar area, where couples and groups of adults were seated, and the back room, where children's movies played in the booths' DVD players and I counted no fewer than 15 kids under the age of 7 at any time, most of them babies. The large space did create some distance between the breeders and the non-breeders (and the DVDs did keep them mesmerized), but there was no escaping the fact that there were many young kids in the house. 

That said, the food was delicious, and demonstrated some real creativity and technical skill. 

Wasabi tuna sliders came topped with pickled daikon, onion, and carrot, with a sticky sweet and sour sauce underneath. I could have eaten ten of them. 

The next course was an iceberg wedge salad elevated by large hunks of Maytag blue cheese, frizzled sweet potato, and a slice of smoked tomato, which still had the texture of a raw one but a great smoky flavor. 

Up next, a small pizza topped with pepperoni and house-made sausage chunks had a cracker-thin and crispy crust, and the sausage reminded me of Chef Boyardee meatballs, in a good way. There was a bit too much sauce, though, and I smelled several pizzas burning. Wood-burning pizza ovens are notoriously hard to master, but there's lots of pizza potential here.

The fourth course was the highlight of the night: potato pierogies, pan-fried with a spicy tasso ham sauerkraut, were nearly perfect, and the small shepherd's pie served alongside it paired mashed potatoes with a chunky ground beef mixture that tasted like a top-notch Bolognese. It was deeply satisfying, real comfort food. 

For dessert, a circle of vanilla cake was battered, deep fried, and topped with caramel, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, and sliced strawberries. It was about the sweetest thing I'd ever eaten, but if I were six again I'd be in paradise. My jovial Italian server used the occasion to point out that the chef, Adam Goldgell, has three children.

The space is beautiful, painted blue and white with some simple artwork, and four TVs (two in front, two in back), were playing various basketball games. Service was certainly impressive for the first night, with busboys briskly clearing plates and changing silverware in between courses, and the wait staff seemed friendly and was working very hard (I was told the Ubu beer was very hoppy while it wasn't at all, but that's no big deal). The two-tops up front were too close-together for staff to navigate around, but it was a problem management was aware of and plans on fixing. Owners Steve Sohmer and Tom Graziano were making the rounds and seemed to have a good handle on the crowd, schmoozing with patrons while making sure everyone was happy. 

PS Bklyn is a restaurant that tries to be all things to all people, but that approach doesn't entirely backfire here. Yes, there are lots of children around (they need to go through the bar area to get to and from the downstairs game room, and adults need to walk through the kids' back room to get to the bathroom), but that doesn't change the fact that the food is stellar and the service friendly and professional. The $17 brunch looks impressive if a little too expensive, but we won't know until tomorrow if the rest of the food is as pricey. It is delicious, but like any new restaurant it remains to be seen whether the neighborhood will find something they love about the restaurant enough to keep them coming back for more. 

PSbklyn, 833 Union Street Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-398-5474.

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Reader Comments (25)

It's too bad they couldn't keep the kids section to the basement because from what you've described, no matter how good the food, I have NO DESIRE to eat in a restaurant crawling with babies, televisions and the like.

Really a shame. This place sounds like my worst nightmare. I don't know any single people (Park Slope, for all the attention it receives is made up of 65% single people) who would want to eat at a place like this.

Why couldn't they have just opened the place without the whole kid aspect of it and made it friendly to kids without making it seem like Romper Room?

I mean Dressler in Williamsburg is FANTASTIC and there are always lots of kids there. The food is great and it's pleasant. This place sounds more like a playground from what you've described.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Anonymous, why don't you try it out first before deciding it's your worst nightmare? It always helps to see what's going on first-hand than take the word of an albeit great review. I will be checking this place out over the weekend -- I have no kids and I look forward to seeing it for myself. It's not every day a restaurant with good food opens in my hood.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPark Sloper No Kids

Let's hope the food is good because from what I've seen just popping my head in the door, the ambiance is hideous!

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I laughed my head off at "Chef Boyardee" meatballs

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjust passingby

There actually aren't that many kid-friendly restaurants in Park Slope, and several previous restaurants at this location have failed, so maybe this will be the winning formula.

February 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Too many kids, too many strollers, blah blah blah. Same old, same old in Park Slope. Too bad.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

TRY IT BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGEMENT if we all didnt go somewhere based on someone elses description then we would all just stay home. Go with an open mind and an empty belly the food is excellent you wont be sorry.

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

There are t0o many good restaurants in brooklyn to warrant time wasted at a kid catering place. Focus on the parents and the kiddies and don't expect those without to deal even if the food is decent. A shrieking parent or child is enough to ruin the best of dinners.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It's no wonder everyone complains about the food taking forever to come out of the kitchen........every time I walk by the Chef is outside smoking!!

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

here's a fun game...
Scroll thru the reviews above.

Try to guess who has a financial stake in the business and who just is commenting.

PSKBKLN will award a FREE Ham saurkraut pirogie taco comfort food pizza kiddie treat PLUS a free skeeball game to the winner!

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Game Show Chef fired?

June 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

They attempt to make it very child friendly, however I have to say I am sorry that I go in there and never seem to see the same people. The final notice I made was that the two bartenders who have been working there as long as I have been going (about once a month from when they opened as I live down the block) are no longer there. I think that perhaps this says something about the inability to manage there stay or they have been having the worst run of luck ever. I liked seeing Rick when I came in as he always remembered my name and my drink and for the first time in years talked to me as they doesnt seem to happen really much anymore and as always made it a good time. However the problem always seemed to be the amount of screaming children and the fact that they seem to go through a great deal of chefs (once again they are having a great deal of issues with the staff) the food is not always the same. The game room is a great idea however it doesnt seem well thought out and the quater machine is almost certainley not working so my sons have to ask the bartender who seems to have to find the owner who then hands us over some quaters like he is doing me a favor. I dont like that the owner seems to hover and have every job in that place at one point or another I dont want you to come over to my table and tell me your life story and how you made it all happen its here so im sure its gone well up to this point and we will leave it at that. If a guest asks to see the owner thats a different thing I really do believe that they should be off the floor and hire a someone to perform that service. The dinks my wife and I ordered last night were sub par at best and lacked the connection with the new female bartender which is something else that doesnt make sense you say your a kid family place and then you put this young girl behind the bar to what distract me from my wife and kids? The food is ok but overpriced and I would say not really worth walking back into again this will have been my final time in PSbklyn and the way the restuarant is always empty it looks like this is your final week/month anyway.

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