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Is it too soon to proclaim kale the new arugula, or at least the new mesclun? What infantile mixed greens were to the birth of California cuisine, kale is to the local-and-seasonal salad bowl of 21st-century New York. But somehow, in this cruciferous sea of ruffly, deep-green leaves, the co-chef-partners of Brooklyn’s Battersby have invented a kale salad that stands apart. Inspired by the crispy watercress at Thai stronghold Sripraphai, it borrows some of that dish’s deft textural contrasts, not to mention its complex Southeast Asian flavor profile. The Brooklyn take on the Queens classic combines the raw (shaved Brussels sprouts, julienned kohlrabi, lacinato-kale chiffonade) with the cooked (flash-fried kale and Brussels-sprout leaves) and tosses them with Thai basil, cilantro, and mint. But the clincher is the vinaigrette: lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, and Thai bird chiles, sweetened with palm sugar. It’s hot and cold, crispy and crunchy, sweet and sour with a bit of funk: a multiculti salad for a kale-crazed age.
From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine