[Telegrams from the Street: May 20, 2011]
This just in, the latest addition to the burgeoning NQC (New Queens Cuisine) scene, Au Junkyard, opening next week in Greenpoint. Located in a former machine shop, with tools and car parts still scattered on the oily floor, Au Junkyard is the brainchild of Didier le Gras. Formerly of Pour L'âne de Porc in downtown Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Gras is also an alum of Obscurity Farm and its single, hard-to-book communal table in a barn twenty-seven miles drive across open terrain from the city.
He brings his seasonal sensibility, fine dining chops and enormous cleaver to New York at last, promising primal cuts of any legally available animal, garnished with micro-greens grown on the roof of his car and picked the same day. "Pork, of course, cow, goose, anything. What about roadkill? This is legal, no?"
Almost unintelligible, speaking through a mustache which hangs below his chin, Didier looks more like a heavily tattooed stevedore than a chef. This is misleading, as before apprenticing with the Obscurity team, he led a modern dance troupe in Quebec City, Les Petits Papillons. "I started to cook," he mumbled, "for their supper, but after six months of my food everybody was too fat to dance, so it was time to move on."
On the Junkyard opening menu, Didier will offer an entire fresh bacon. This is the whole underside of the pig, hacked crudely from its carcass, braised in Meister Brau for ten hours, then covered in double cream (he uses a broom to brush it on), rolled in crushed crackers (it takes four people to turn it), then deep fried in a massive cauldron of duck fat (it used to take five people, but one fell into the vat).
"We probably spend more money on duck fat than anything else. Also, I use it to condition my mustache," barks Didier, using his cleaver to mince some micro-greens to a fine mush to an ear-splitting sountrack of the Norwegian death metal he cranks up every afternoon and plays until the restaurant closes at 4 am.
The pig is sauced with a thick custard flavored with Asian spices, and comes with a fermented fish dipping sauce. It serves fourteen people, which is a pity as the restaurant seats only twelve.
No liquor license, but you may bring your own - canned beer only. No reservations, no telephone, no sign outside, and no unambiguous street address. Cash only, mains $36-$345.