Thistle Hill Tavern
441 Seventh Avenue (at 15th Street)
There has been mounting anticipation for the new Park Slope restaurant, Thistle Hill Tavern, to open. The unassumingly cute and cozy restaurant comes to us via some well-known names in the culinary world, and beyond. First there are the partners; David Massoni and Rebecca Weitzman. She used to cook at ‘inoteca, while he did the managing there. Before that, Weitzman worked at three of Bobby Flay's restaurants and learned how to go from a line cook to refining and honing her chef's palette. The third partner is somewhat surprising - Michael "Fat Mike" Burkett from NoFX will be an ingredient of this new venture. Cocktail creations are shook up by John Bush, formerly of Niagara in the East Village.
The menu will focus on seasonal, locally-sourced produce and proteins. Chef Weitzman's influences for the food preparation derive from European and Mediterranean inspirations. A milk-braised pork belly will come with fava beans and pickled ramps. Incorporating the artisanal theme into the bar means wine and spirit selections from small producers and Brooklyn-based breweries.
What you can expect from the décor is a mix of brick walls and a mahogany floor with a tin-pressed roof. It has the feel of a tavern, but with a cheery brightness and glossy woods.
So neither the food concept nor the décor is anything that pushes the envelope, but it is a reflection on what the culinary focus has shifted toward: a comfy, unpretentious, socially-aware restaurant that has a neighborhood feel, that you can experience even if you're not from the neighborhood.