Thistle Hill Tavern, the newest addition to Park Slope’s Seventh Avenue restaurant row, is a new school eatery with an old-world feel.
The menu is market-fresh new American and will change frequently to reflect chef Rebecca Weitzman’s vegetable-heavy whims — pork belly may come dressed in pickled ramps now, but wear something entirely different next week.
The restaurant, with handsome, wood-paneled walls adorned with weathered maps and portraits, invokes, as its name might suggest, the feeling of a place that might have been there a 200 years ago, had Park Slope been more than farmland.
Never mind the ambience though; it would be worth the trip without it. Weitzman, who last week took the crown on the Food Network TV show “Chopped,” has crafted a menu that is nothing short of incredible — the food is thoughtful, proof that details matter.
The roasted leg of lamb ($13) was the star of the menu — moist and simply prepared, served atop an earthy bed of cracked wheat salad with charred eggplant, feta, arugula and tomato coulis. Grilled octopus ($15) comes crispy on the outside, tender on the inside with crunchy fried artichokes, kalamata olives and a creamy pool of polenta. A beat salad with watercress and Gorgonzola “croutons” ($11) excels as well, balanced in sweetness and acidity, even for the beet-wary.
Many of the cocktails are reworked old world cocktails, such as the Brooklyn Eagle ($10), a satisfying concoction of bourbon, triple sec, sweet vermouth and lime juice — proof that the Brooklyn Eagle is good for one thing.
Owner David Massoni has taken care to make sure Thistle Hill Tavern is also the sort of place you could pop into for a beer and a snack on the way home from work, with modestly priced snacky items like the fried fennel ($5), a “grown-up onion ring,” and the subtly spicy, endlessly fulfilling tureen of nuts and seeds ($6) — both are perfect with a beer.
Perhaps the trend of Seventh Avenue’s overpriced, mediocre eateries is on its way out. Thistle Hill Tavern is surely a good start.
Thistle Hill Tavern [441 Seventh Ave. at 15th Street in Park Slope. (347) 599-1262]