Brooklyn’s only brewery/restaurant, Dirck the Norseman, is named for the man credited with first settling the Garden Spot, in 1645. Were it possible to transport him to today’s Greenpoint, I think he would approve of his namesake restaurant, with its carefully chosen beer selection and well-designed menu, as well as its sun-drenched view of the East River he floated in on some 350 years ago.
After a weekend of warm weather and sunshine, I found myself walking into Dirck the Norseman on a frigid, rainy evening that felt like the last cruel gasp of the polar vortex (or natures way of saying she isn’t ready to play nice just yet). My clothes were soaked and my hands were frozen, but my mood improved considerably after stepping inside this wooden refuge, the focal point of which is a four-sided bar.
I took a seat at one of the communal tables, and proceeded to do what anyone would in such a situation: eat some meat and drink a little beer. Owned by Ed Raven of Brouwerij Lane, Dirck the Norseman is Brooklyn’s only brewery that also boasts a restaurant. The menu is undeniably meat-heavy: Think duck sausage with leeks, chicken schnitzel, braised beef short ribs and rotisserie chicken.
Diners order dishes from a counter, while drinks are brought to the table. The service was laid-back but attentive with friendly, knowledgeable servers.
All in all, the 6-hour turkey confit was my favorite dish. Rich and soft on a buttery piece of rosemary French toast, it’s comforting and full of turkey flavor without the inevitable dryness I’ve come to expect from Thanksgiving birds.
The 11-hour brisket is a standout dish as well, so soft and buttery I’m not exaggerating when I say it melted in my mouth. A side of horseradish mayo complimented the meat nicely, cutting through the fat with its mildly spicy, tangy flavor.
Another good choice is the beer-braised pig knuckle. Though my dish was a bit dry on the outside, the pieces tucked inside were tender and succulent, perfect when dipped in the meat’s juices. Goosefat-dill potatoes (no one said this meal was going to be low-cal) were a hearty side full of soft, earthy flavor. Next time I’ll be back for the wedge salad and potato pierogi.
Now to the main event: Beer. Brewed in-house under the name Greenpoint Beer and Ale Co., the restaurant’s nine brews have distinctive flavors modeled after craft beers from the United States and abroad. I only tried three, but I’ll be back to sample more of head brewer Chris Prout’s creations soon.
The Clifford Pl. is a light, refreshingly hoppy beer with poppy fruit notes, while the Quay St. IPA is hoppy but more herb-focused. Finally, the Fisticuffs is a toasty English-style mild ale with notes of caramel and brown sugar – a nice way to warm up on a chilly evening.
Dirck the Norseman
7 North 15th Street