After reading about executive chef Owen Clark previously working at WD-50 in the Lower East Side, I was expecting a whole lot of molecular gastronomy at Gwynnett St. Instead of seeing food science/torture, it’s more about creative pairings and asymmetrical plating at this relaxed Williamsburg eatery.
The menu is kept brief, so rather than muddle over what to order we opt for the Tasting Menu ($85; $120 wine pairing), allowing us to sample some of the chef’s selections.
The signature whiskey bread kicks things off, served warm with cultured butter, lardo and cherry tomatoes. It’s slightly sweet and has the texture of damper.
An amuse of cucumber juice & herbs arrives before the first course, giving the mouth a healthy-feeling cleanse before the first course.
Raw mackerel fans are bound to be happy with the first starter. A couple of shimmering pieces of flesh artfully arranged with ribbons of celery, celery leaves, Korean melon and cabbage. Sumac added some colour but was barely tasted.
Lambs tongue was next. Charred and served with red onion & green wax beans. The sharp flavours of the pickled onion was perfect with the tongue.
Arctic char seems to appear on many menu’s about town, and there’s no exception at Gwynnett St. It’s silky and soft and huddles in a bowl with watercress, green apple, coconut and milkweed. I’ve only every known milkweed to be just that. A weed. Here they use the fresh pod as a vegetable that’s similar in texture to zucchini. You’ve got to love a chef that knows about foraging and wild food. This was a great dish, especially with the addition of crispy skin from the fish.
Duck breast is next, cooked perfectly and teamed with thin slices of golden beet, sprouted wheat and bitter dandelion leaves. More weeds on the plate, and I love it.
The first of the desserts is a charred piece of angel food cake with lime curd, smeared blackberry and puffed sorghum. An eclectic combination of flavours, textures and colours that was a pleasure to devour.
The final dessert is a rich chocolate quenelle surrounded by fennel foam, smears of hazelnut purée and dehydrated fennel. Another sweet dish that’s a perfect ending to a pretty great meal.
Gwynnett St. – 312 Graham Street, Williamsburg