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Culinary Institute of America-trained Gavin McAleer (pictured) worked for chef David Burke at the Park Avenue Cafe and had a roller coaster of a ride with Rocco DiSpirito during "The Restaurant" fiasco, so when he decided to strike out on his own, he opted for something more down-to-earth: Chicory Brooklyn.

He opened his takeout restaurant in February.

"I wanted an upscale takeout place, that as I chef, I’d want to order from," he says.

McAleer welcomed patrons with a bright yellow awning outside the Cobble Hill storefront and painted the inside white. His one shot at interior design is reclaimed tin ceiling pieces hung on the walls. Diners can eat in, or wait for their order at the single, communal table that seats 10, or linger on one of the two stools.

His tacos - which are "made with meat we roast ourselves, like loin of beef and brisket," says McAleer - as well as buttermilk-brined fried chicken are popular. All the entrees come with two sides; marinated golden beets, macaroni and cheese terrine and sweet potato fries, with a maple mayonnaise dipping sauce, are options.

Is life easier after "The Restaurant"?

"I was pulling 15-hour days, seven days a week," he says, a situation he remedied recently by eliminating breakfast service during the weekdays. "Hey, a guy’s gotta sleep."

Chicory Brooklyn (243 DeGraw St. between Clinton and Court streets in Cobble Hill) accepts American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Sandwiches $7; entrees: $13-$16. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends. For more information, call (718) 797-2121.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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