Thursday, August 31, 2017

Romantic Hideaway in Bustling Brooklyn: Benchmark Restaurant

The spicy lobster salad

Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, brims with bars, restaurants and boutiques. But a hush falls once you turn off the avenue, and here, just steps away, is a hidden gem, Benchmark Restaurant.

In summer, Benchmark truly shines, with a huge patio that reminds me of a secret garden Often, sidewalk tables are shoehorned into awkward spaces, but this outdoor space has room and charm.

The bar
Indoors is also wonderful, particularly cozy in winter with its exposed brick and arched windows. The space was an icehouse and recalls the industrial past.

But the menu is forward thinking. Though it emphasizes pasture raised meat, it also has plenty for a vegetarian. The roasted acorn squash, a stand-by, is stuffed with quinoa. This is a bit wintry for summer, but there are choices for warmer weather.

The simple 'organic seasonal lettuce salad' in summer had strawberries and goat cheese and was a hearty starter. With another starter, scallops with truffle risotto and squash (but minus the proscuitto) I was set for dinner.
Seasonal lettuce salad

There is also a delicious, rich lobster bisque and a lobster salad with hearts of palm.

Scallops and risotto 
My husband always has the salmon without the chorizo, but with the fennel and potatoes. New this summer is ahi tuna with pickled chanterelles. I prefer more well cooked fish, but the hubs loved it.

The charred brussels sprouts, without the pancetta, are wonderful, as is the goat cheese and potato puree. The wild mushroom spaetzle, another side, with one of these, can be an entree.

The martinis are ice cold, with perfect olives. Interesting cocktails include the Rye 'N Gosling's, with rye, rum and ginger syrup, or a barrel aged special.

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