Chef’s Counter and Bar Seating: Always the best seats in the house!!

Had a great dinner at Freek’s Mill in Gowanus this weekend. The only seats available were at the chef’s counter and all I can say is: YES!! Besides a delicious dinner, we also got info from chef Chad Shaner (in video above) on many of the dishes being prepared. I already know what I want to eat next time! Chad is not only one of the chefs but also a co-owner – and he was a former chef at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe. And just for good measure, Pete Wells of the NY Times awarded Freek’s Mill  two-stars when he reviewed the restaurant last year.

Apparently I am not alone in considering the chef’s counter the best seat in the house. Per the National Restaurant Association, 42% of diners want to eat there.  Younger restaurant goers are even more enthusiastic with 53% opting for counter seating.

Note I am NOT a fan of chef’s tasting menus. I just want to sit at the counter overlooking the theater of the kitchen. At Freek’s Mill it’s quite a scene with expediters yelling out orders, food miraculously appearing from secret compartments and a manned wood-burning oven glowing in the corner. And chefs are just so adorable with their tattoos and bandanas and burn marks!

And finally, here’s what to order at Freek’s Mills – we had many of these dishes and saw the rest heading out of the kitchen. Also a heads-up, while most dishes are relatively small, they are filling so I would only order two dishes per person vs. the suggested three. They also have a good sommelier who recommended a great red wine to us for $60.

Recommended dishes and more photos below.

Recommended dishes (although we were told the menu changes frequently):

  • BBQ Kohlrabi with greens and grits (delicious!!)
  • Wood Roasted Oysters (almost every table ordered)
  • Sunchoke agnolotti (hugely popular)
  • We had a pasta dish with bone marrow and clams that was outstanding
  • Pork chop for 2 – this looked amazing!!
  • Roasted pork jowl

Not surprisingly, given Chad Shiner’s history with Danny Meyer, Freek’s Mill had opened as a no-tipping establishment but has since gone back to tipping.

Chad Shiner, Chef, Co-Owner

Great wine that comes with a label poem in French – and the somm had it translated for us

Goodbye Freek’s Mill – until next time!!


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