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Home > Restaurants > Semilla

Semilla

160 Havemeyer St., No. 5, Brooklyn, NY 11211 40.71146 -73.957832
nr. S. 2nd St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
718-782-3474 Send to Phone

Photo by Liz Clayman

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Official Website

semillabk.com

Hours

Tue-Sat, 6pm-10:30pm; Sun-Mon, closed

Nearby Subway Stops

G, L at Metropolitan Ave.-Lorimer St.; J, M, Z at Myrtle Ave.

Prices

Tasting menu, $85

Payment Methods

American Express, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Dine at the Bar
  • Notable Chef
  • Prix-Fixe
  • Special Occasion
  • Online Reservation

Alcohol

  • Beer and Wine Only

Reservations

Recommended

Profile

When José Ramírez-Ruiz was a cook at Per Se, long before he went on to stage through Europe and work at Isa in its early Ignacio Mattos period, he had a funny, gently subversive way of replying to direct orders: “Yes, Chef,” he’d say, as kitchen tradition dictates, “but at Chez José, we’ll do it this way.” Eventually, to his credit, he did—even if it was only once a week after-hours in a Williamsburg coffee shop with just two hot plates and a tiny oven at his disposal. But Chez José, as he named his pop-up, grew a devoted fan base for its artful multi-course meals, prepared and served by Ramírez-Ruiz and his like-minded partner in life and cooking, Pam Yung, a pastry chef and veteran of Room 4 Dessert, Tailor, Roberta’s, and Isa. One night a week grew to two, and then three, when restaurateur Joe Carroll invited the couple to move the operation to slightly larger quarters around the corner at his shuttered fried-fish shack Lake Trout.

After several months in the new location, the three forged a more permanent arrangement. Carroll would back them in a permanent venture, one with wine (mostly natural), beer (mostly European), a complete remake of the Lake Trout space, and a new name: Semilla, Spanish for seed, which both represents the cooks’ close relationship with their farmers and foragers and nods to Ramírez-Ruiz’s Puerto Rican roots and the predominantly Latino neighborhood.

Chez José regulars will find the same emphatically seasonal, highly personal cooking, and dishes that showcase vegetables and relegate animal proteins to supporting-role status ($85 prix fixe). Eighteen seats are arranged around a U-shaped ash-wood bar that invites interaction among strangers and evokes similar settings at restaurants like Atera and Brooklyn Fare (another spot on Ramírez-Ruiz’s resume). Yung, who won a Beard scholarship to study grains in Scandinavia and at South Carolina’s renowned Anson Mills (and once operated her own bread CSA), has acquired a bread oven and a KoMo grain mill, which she uses to grind whole kernels in-house. Dishes might include compositions like matsutakes grilled à la minute with charred pear, kabocha-squash-and-anchovy purée, and raw shaved sunchokes, or daikon en brioche with wilted arugula salad, onion jus, and black-garlic purée. But you won’t find them on a menu—there isn’t one. Ramírez-Ruiz wants the experience to be “like coming over [to] our house for dinner. There should be an element of surprise.”

Note

The bar stays open until 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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