Cow & Clover has opened on Kent Street in burgeoning neighborhood of South Williamsburg’s waterfront. Another Brooklyn eatery focusing on seasonal food, yes — but the kitchen’s main cooking method is what makes this restaurant a little different from the rest.
A beautiful light fixture of re-purposed wine jugs by local artist Andrew Poneros greets you upon entering, and once you’ve climbed the short staircase in the split-level space, you find yourself in a chicly industrial but comfortable large dining room with the open kitchen and bar along the right hand side, and the two ovens blinking warmly in the wall.
Nearly all the dishes on the menu are cooked in one of their twin wood-burning, 900-degree brick ovens, which seals in the juices and flavors executive chef Morgan Schofield strives to deliver to guests. We decided to split a number of small dishes, and were very happy with our choice. Delicata squash with almonds, ruby grapefruit, and dandelion greens was wood-smoked, which helped cut down on the sweetness of the squash and turn it into a more savory delight. Instead of the traditional pairing of beer, wood-roasted P.E.I. mussels were cooked in hard cider with whole grain mustard and shallots, and the sweeter libation kept the mussels less sour than when cooked traditionally in beer, while the mustard and shallots delivered the sought-after tang one craves from this classic-with-a-twist recipe; the wood-grilled, multigrain sourdough bread served alongside completes the hearty dish perfectly. Seared Rhode Island squid with fennel and sherry almond sauce was a succulent success, with the thick sauce’s consistency teetering just shy of a nutty purée and the fennel providing a satisfying, toothsome crunch. The whiskey date bread pudding was delightfully decadent, but it was upstaged by the incredible housemade popcorn ice cream, dreamt up by co-owner Mickey Lee. “I have two kids, and one night, one wanted popcorn while the other wanted ice cream,” Lee explained of origin of his creation.
There are a number of large mains listed, some great snacks like market apples and lardo, and hearty sides like butternut squash gratine. These, along with the excellent small plates on offer, the open space that includes larger communal tables, and an attentive and knowledgeable staff, make Cow & Clover a great option for a catch-up dinner with an old friend as well as the scene of a gang’s-all-here get-together. Order big or order small, and be lulled into a happy state of mind while basking in the glow of their signature twin ovens.