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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Brooklyn Moderate Great


Located on the Clinton Street of Brooklyn (that would be Smith Street), Chestnut is already stealing cult business from The Grocery located across the street. With its wide French doors, high blond chestnut-beamed ceilings, raw slate tiled walls, and exposed brick, the restaurant is a gathering place for neighborhood locals—families, lovers and friends. Owned by Peter Miscikoski, who ran Match Uptown for years, Chestnut is infectiously good. I left wanting to clone one for my block.

The chef, David Wurth, is a disciple of Greenmarket-devoté Peter Hoffman of Savoy, and his training shows in his menu of honest food: ingredients that shine, and plates filled with smart, creative and well-articulated flavors. The menu features small plates like a better-than-your-Bubby’s chicken liver & apple toast ($4), two slices of grilled country bread slathered with a rich, thick, intensely flavored chopped liver, topped with a tart slice of green apple, served with a spoonful of coarse spicy mustard. Wurth’s cold smoked scallops ($8) were a revelation. Infused with an earthy smoke from English Breakfast Tea and served with buttery fingerling potatoes and a slick of sweet-hot mustard to bring in some heat, the dish hits your palate in all the right places. (Love that.)

But the most incredible entree we tasted was the Roasted Chicken with Artichokes and Soft Polenta ($17). Like that lanky, awkward kid in junior high who always gets passed over when picking teams in gym, this is one dish that often gets looked over for racier, more attractive fare. But once in a while that plain old kid turns out to be a total stud, and you are dumbfounded. Such was the case with Wurth’s roast chicken. It turned out to be a heartbreaker. The white meat was soft and juicy with a dense, almost cake-like texture, and the skin was crisp, sautéed to a taught golden crust. We gnawed at the bones to remove every last bite. People stopped and stared. We had no shame. Neither should you. Hop the F Train to Carroll Street and have yourself a wonderful meal.

Chestnut is at 271 Smith Street, at Degraw Street, 718-243-0049, www.chestnutonsmith.com

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