PSbklyn, 833 Union Street Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-398-5474.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 11:36AM
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