Brooklyn, Brooklyn. The farm-to-table gift that keeps giving. The list of charming, neighborhood restaurants serving solid seasonal classics in a nice outdoor courtyard keeps growing. The newest addition is Faun in Prospect Park, run by the former executive chef of Vinegar Hill House. The menu is very edited and skews mostly Italian, but it’s a little more cerebral than your typical tagliatelle and wood-fire oven pizza. There are exotic pastas like quadrucci and mezze maniche that I have never heard of making their debuts here. And meats are a little more wild and adventurous, things like squab and boar are roasting and braising in the nearby kitchen. Maybe that’s how the name Faun plays in. The restaurant is in a familiar neck of the woods, but the food that pops out is a little more interesting and unusual like the mythical creature itself.
Even during brunch, the most basic of meals, Faun doesn’t shy away from the challenging meats. This is probably the only brunch menu that has tripe on the menu. I do have to admit that I was hesitant to order this, as one is when stomach lining is on the table, but when I did, I was pleased by how approachable it was. To be fair, it was a little chewy and cartilage-like, but the flavor was very neutral. It pretty much assumed all of the seasonings of the ‘nduja sauce, which was surprisingly light and delicate for spicy, spreadable pork salume. Think eggs shakshuka with…tripe.
Going back to the exotic pastas I mentioned, we ordered the quadrucci, which consisted of a very thin and delicate sheet of pasta draping a cooked egg and a delicata squash, a different take on the seasonal favorite butternut squash ravioli with sage and brown butter. The latter, as comforting as it is, can be a bit heavy, so the thinness and the restraint behind Faun’s version were welcome departures. It leaves you light on your feet, which isn’t the norm at an Italian meal.
The best part was the it was 60 degrees in early November and we were eating all these fine foods in an outdoor garden with bloody marys and glasses of wine. And afterwards we starting looking at Street Easy to see if we could have an outdoor courtyard in Brooklyn of our own. And of course we couldn’t afford it. So we get to live the dream just for a few hours at places like Faun, and Olmsted, and Battersby and so on and so forth. And that’s worth the train ride in.
606 Vanderbilt Ave (between Prospect Pl and St Marks Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11238