Chez Ma Tante

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92 Excellent

A nearly perfect neighborhood restaurant with alums of Café Altro Paradiso and M. Wells in the kitchen, and destination pancakes at brunch.

90 Calyer St., Brooklyn, NY, 11222


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The lowdown

At first glance, nothing about Chez Ma Tante tells you what to expect: not the French name, swiped from a Montreal hot-dog shack. Not the location on a sleepy Greenpoint block. Not the spare corner space, with its plain white walls and bare dark-wood tables. And not the menu, which touts such humdingers as Caesar salad and pancakes. But what pancakes! These hot and fluffy little Frisbees, practically blackened like a Paul Prudhomme fish fillet around the edges, will change everything you thought you knew about flapjacks. The rest of the food is nearly as great — from a plate of chubby fries with a garlic-forward aïoli to a “pork shoulder” steak served with a heap of stewy lentils plumped in lardo. Co-chefs Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber call it European-inspired cooking. However you label it, in an era when critical praise is often reserved for “interesting” food, there’s something bold about this restaurant’s celebration of timeworn classics, and there’s something very appealing about a kitchen that just wants to cook simple, honest, irony-free food.

Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld

What you need to know

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized