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.