A Night Out with Local Brooklyn Restaurant Owners

Uploaded by vice on 25.11.2012


WALKER STERN: I'll show you something we've been doing on
our tasting menu.
If you can tell me what it is, you'll get a prize.

You know what it is?
That's called celtuse.
It tastes like a cross between asparagus and lettuce, and it
tastes nutty, too.
It's a really interesting flavor.
We braise it with brown butter, and we start with
hazelnuts and greek yogurt.
I don't want to even show this.
Roberta's is going to jump on this, you
know know what I mean?
WALKER STERN: My name is Walker Stern.
I'm the co-chef / co-owner of Battersby
restaurant in Brooklyn.
JOE OGRODNEK: My name is Joe Ogrodnek.
I'm also the co-chef / co-owner of
Battersby in Brooklyn.
WALKER STERN: We met each other in culinary school.
And then probably about four or five years later, we
I think the main thing was that we just didn't really
want to be working under people or for owners.
We were like, we can make this happen.
JOE OGRODNEK: We just had us two and the will to do it.
And we didn't have money.
We didn't have a location.
But we made it happen.
WALKER STERN: I think kind of on the outside we're a
neighborhood restaurant, but when you take another look you
can kind of see that there's a little bit more going on.
JOE OGRODNEK: I would prefer to eat at a restaurant that's
a little bit more comfortable environment like this, as
opposed to a three Michelin star restaurant.
And don't get me wrong, I love fine dining, but this is more
a part of everyday life, and this feels more real to us.
This dish, probably more than anything on the menu right
now, reminds me of our history with it.
This is a very traditional way to serve asparagus and morels,
cooked with yellow wine.
The morels are simmered slowly with this wine.
Then I'm going to add a little bit of asparagus puree into
the mushrooms and add a little parmasean cheese.
I'm going to finish the morels with a little bit of
unsweetened whipped cream.
As the dish comes together, it has a great combination with
the grassiness of the asparagus, the earthiness of
the mushrooms, and that toasty oxidation of the wine.
WALKER STERN: We've been doing this peekytoe crab parfait for
a couple days now.
And it's just a really awesome peekytoe crab meat from Maine
which has a really good sweet flavor to it.
And I'm going to layer it in this glass with crab on the
bottom, and then raw cucumber, green apple, celery that's
just marinaded in a little bit of verjus, salt and pepper,
and olive oil.
And then on top of that I'm going to do a fresh gelee made
with green apple juice and celery juice.
And then on that I have a little mousse that's shellfish
stock that's acidified with lemon juice.
There's a little spice in there.
So it's got a lot of different stuff going on in one thing.
Definitely people look at it and are like,
what is this, at first.
And then they kind of put their spoon in and, I'm not
sure, and then they're like, wow, that's really good, and
then they play with it, and then it's gone in five
seconds, so.

One of the good things about having an open kitchen is you
can really watch the guests consume the food and can see
first-hand if they're enjoying it or what the reaction is.
The third man is Michael Sowa, basically the other cook here.
So he's here all the time like we are.
We spend a lot of time together but we hang out
sometimes, too.
It's different, hanging out outside of work and being at
work because we take our jobs very seriously.
When we're feeling up to it, we'll all go out to eat
somewhere together.
We're going to be going to Henry Social.
Henry and Atlantic, please.

JOE OGRODNEK: Henry Public.
WALKER STERN: Henry Public social.
Well, we're going to see our buddy, Marty, who manages
Henry Public.
JOE OGRODNEK: They've got a turkey leg sandwich there
everybody talks about.
It's pretty tasty but they have really good salad, bar
food, oysters, sandwiches, burger.
And I think it's most known for being a pretty cool
cocktail bar.
WALKER STERN: Yeah, it's very cocktail-heavy.
WALKER STERN: Marty McLoughlin, he's the main guy
over there.
Runs the show.
He's a loyal customer of ours, too, so he's definitely in our
neighborhood clique.
Can I just suggest that we all do a round of fernet, just so
we can get us started?
WAITER 1: Yeah, absolutely.

WALKER STERN: Marty, will you join us please?
MARTIN MCLOUGHLIN: Very nice to have you gentlemen.
WALKER STERN: Alright, Marty, thanks for having us.
ALL: Cheers.

JOE OGRODNEK: Walker and I, one of the main things we have
in common is that we're serious cooks.
We're willing to sacrifice much more to get an end result
than I think a lot of people are.
We are literally doing everything from start to
finish every single day.
There's no prep cook peeling onions or making
the chicken and stuff.
We go to the market, pick up the produce, bring it back,
put it away, prepare everything.
There's nobody else.
It's just us.
And it's kind of daunting.
WALKER STERN: It's a really simple formula.
We all arrive in the morning, we run around like crazy, we
cook during service.
And the next day we do it again.
There's no time for brunch or events or anything like that.
JOE OGRODNEK: I don't think we're ever going to do brunch
at Battersby.
WALKER STERN: We hate brunch.

JOE OGRODNEK: Yeah, the food here at Henry Public is really
straightforward, kind of comfort-y style.
We started out with oysters, which actually I don't recall
the name of them right now--
WAITER 1: And the oysters, if you're interested, are
Plymouth Rock.
JOE OGRODNEK: --but they were some of the best
oysters I've had.
WALKER STERN: These oysters are great because it has the
little handle, you know?
Have you ever been in a bar where they have that toilet
seat with that little thing that sticks out so you don't
have to touch the piss cover.?
This is like the the same thing.

JOE OGRODNEK: We had the grilled ram with farmer's
cheese, which is really simple but a great combination.

We had the turkey leg sandwich.
It's a can't-miss.
We were definitely all talking about how good that was.
WALKER STERN:So this thing is legit.
Turkey leg cooked in milk and black pepper on a gigantic
grilled toast.
JOE OGRODNEK: This turkey leg sandwich is
pretty fucking crazy.
WALKER STERN: Yeah, dude.
It's so good.
JOE OGRODNEK: This totally tastes like Thanksgiving.
WALKER STERN: They have a nice dessert here.
JOE OGRODNEK: What's the dessert?

WALKER STERN: It's called Werthers.
They're like little fried donuts with with a caramel
dipping sauce.
Don't forget about the Wilkinsons.

JOE OGRODNEK: There was a little bit of a discrepancy on
that one but--
WALKER STERN: We worked it out.
JOE OGRODNEK: --it is the Wilkinsons.
WALKER STERN: We're all going to Brooklyn Social.
JOE OGRODNEK: Marty, it's time.
Quit fooling around back there.

JOE OGRODNEK: Brooklyn Social, baby.
WALKER STERN: The first cocktail bar.
MARTIN MCLOUGHLIN: I just left a full restaurant to go drink.
At least it's not being documented.

WALKER STERN: It's very common to see that kind of
cocktail-centric bar, but Brooklyn Social was definitely
doing it there before that was popular.
So it's like that, but it's not really overbearing.
You can get a nice cocktail there or you can just do beer
or whatever.
It's a really fun atmosphere.
JOE OGRODNEK: Matt Walters, he bartends for us at
Battersby, as well.
He's a great guy.
WALKER STERN: Can you just start us out with a round of
car bombs, like four car bombs.
WALKER STERN: And then--
MATT WALTERS: Yeah, sure.
JOE OGRODNEK: They were out of Bailey's, probably from too
many car bombs there.
MATT WALTERS: Do you want to do a little adaptation?

JOE OGRODNEK: There was--
what was the liquor he used instead?
WALKER STERN: I don't know.
and then egg white and sugar.
That's what it was.
WALKER STERN: We normally just do straight car bombs.
WALKER STERN: Cheers, guys.
WAITER 2: You said you want a shot of something?
Like, something like a tequila or fernet or whiskey?
WALKER STERN:Ooh, now you're speaking my language.
WAITER 2: I'll take an order for you, if you like.
JOE OGRODNEK: Yeah, I mean, I guess we could do--
WALKER STERN: We could do a fernet.
JOE OGRODNEK: --could do a fifth shot of the night.
Why not?

WALKER STERN: Memory is a little fuzzy at that point..

JOE OGRODNEK: We came back to Battersby.

WALKER STERN: I was in good shape, I think,
until we got back here.
Then it went downhill.
JOE OGRODNEK: I don't know, I just felt like business as
usual to me.

WALKER STERN: Mike was good.
JOE OGRODNEK: Yeah, he was in good shape.
WALKER STERN: You can always count on him
to ground it down.
Whoa, whoa, what's happening here?
MICHAEL SOWA: Making pizza, dude.
WALKER STERN: I brought you a beer.
MICHAEL SOWA: Thank you.
WALKER STERN: It's hot down here.
You need to stay hydrated.

It's so hot down here.

That walk-in's really cold.

Yeah, we never get drunk when we're working.

WALKER STERN: Mike definitely doesn't drink
JOE OGRODNEK: I think we all take our jobs very seriously.
And Mike probably maybe even more so, because he started in
the career a little bit later on.
So I don't know if he has a feeling to push harder than
most people, but I definitely see that in him.
He does a fantastic job pretty much all the time.

WALKER STERN: Well, Mike made us some pizzas.
JOE OGRODNEK: Some fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce,
pesto, taggiasca olives.
WALKER STERN: Mike, would you like to
explain the pizza favors?
JOE OGRODNEK: Mike, where did you come up with the idea for
this pizza concept?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER 3: That's fucking delicious, dude.
JOE OGRODNEK: I don't think you need a big budget or a big
space to make great things.
I just think you need passion, and the will to do it, and the
love for what you do.
This is what we wanted.
We wanted this for a long time.
WALKER STERN: This is just an honest place.
We stand behind what we do.
JOE OGRODNEK: I think that we have a good thing going here,
and it's just going to get better and better.