Red, White & Brooklyn

AN ALL-STAR, PROSPECT PARK CHEF PUTS HIS SWEET SPIN ON AMERICA’S BIRTHDAY.

Whether you’re sipping rosé on a rooftop in Manhattan or backyard bbq-ing in Venice Beach (or, you’re among those chosen few privy to summer’s holy grail: a beach house), the Fourth of July is one of our favorite days of the year to cook amongst friends. And given this year’s celebrations just happen to follow a rather buzzy Brooklyn opening, we thought it’d only make sense to leave this year’s menu to a professional (OK, we may have wanted a little kitchen cred at this year’s pot luck, too). So, without further adieu, we checked in with Brooklyn chef Greg Baxtrom, whose Prospect Park restaurant, Olmsted, is redefining what it means to be a “neighborhood standby.”

From L to R: Chef Greg Baxtrom; Baxtrom’s homemade frozen yogurt; Olmsted’s backyard garden.

First off, we should note Baxtrom’s  pedigree because, well, stints at Alinea, Per Se, Atera and Blue Hill at Stone Barns are like the cook’s equivalent of garnering diplomas from every Ivy. Now, it’s next to impossible to imagine the chef’s first solo restaurant would be anything but extraordinary; however, partnering alongside farmer Ian Rothman (the former horticulturist at Atera), Baxtrom’s approach to the duo’s new place is revolutionary. Named after landscape architect Frederick Olmsted (of Central Park and nearby Prospect Park fame), Olmsted is not a tasting menu dining room drenched in theatrics, but rather a local kitchen applying Michelin-level techniques to affordable small plates. Complete with a backyard garden where guests can (and should) choose to dine or drink, the restaurant grows its own produce like asparagus, radishes, wild onions, fiddlehead ferns and jerusalem artichokes. Chef Baxtrom hand-selects the vegetables at peak ripeness– which he then uses to create season-appropriate dishes like fried and pickled fiddlehead ferns, radish top gazpacho with smoked trout roe and sunflower asparagus salad with wheatgrass aioli and spring onion– all under $25 per plate (an entrée of grass-fed steak with tarragon and lemon will run you just $23). Olmsted’s cocktail program, run by mixologist Mike Bohn, draws from its gardens too, boasting drinks like a rhubarb tequila tonic with lime and sea salt, and an herbes-de-Provence-infused bourbon cocktail with sherry, walnut bitters and a lavender sprig. We haven’t been this excited about a restaurant opening this year– nor more thrilled to share a chef-approved recipe with you.”I love a good, all-American July 4th menu and anything that involves grilling,” Baxtrom tells us. “In addition to burgers, I usually cook a lot of vegetable-heavy dishes to balance it all out. Then I finish the meal with this homemade frozen yogurt dessert– it’s really simple and refreshing, plus it’s light enough to enjoy after you eat a ton of burgers!” Admittedly, we felt it safe to assume you’re already armed with your go-to burger preps so we asked Baxtrom to share the recipe to his favorite July 4th dessert– frozen yogurt never tasted so American.

Greg Baxtrom’s Frozen Yogurt with Whipped Honey
*1 quart whole yogurt
*3/4 c sugar
*whipped honey (recipe below)
*violets (or other edible flowers) to garnish

Whipped Honey
*350 g Honey
*75 ml Water
*6 g Versa Whip (available through terraspice.com)
1. Combine all ingredients in mixer and whisk for 5 minutes. You will have honey marshmallows!

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a Kitchen Aid mixer for 2-3 minutes, then place in a bowl and put in freezer. 2. Every 30 minutes, take out and whisk vigorously until you have achieved your soft serve constancy. 3. Top with a dollop of whipped honey and edible flowers. *NB: If you don’t want to make the whipped honey, you can drizzle raw honey on top of the yogurt and garnish with violets. 

olm

Fried fiddleheads; inside Olmsted; A rosemary-rum cocktail.

(Olmsted, MAP IT, BOOK IT; 718.552.2610) CP

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