Fans of "Top Chef" need no introduction to Dale Talde, the Chicago-born Filipino chef who wowed judges with his baby back ribs and tofu "steak" (marinated in beef fat, natch).
Now he's partnered with Thistle Hill Tavern's David Massoni and John Bush to wow Brooklynites with a casual Asian-American restaurant and bar appropriately called Talde.
Local ingredients provide inventive twists on Chef Talde's pan-Asian menu. Standout appetizers ($7-$11) include pretzel pork-and-chive dumplings and Hawaiian buns filled with Filipino pork sausage, Long Island fluke or a market vegetable. Entrees ($15-$28) continue the East-West theme, with dishes like crispy oyster-and-bacon pad Thai ($15) and Korean fried chicken (served with spicy yogurt kimchee, grapes and mint; $23). Unfortunately, dessert seemed to be an afterthought, with only two choices: pecan pie or chocolate-coconut cake. Reported plans for a shaved-ice sundae with Cap'n Crunch and coconut (a spin on the Filipino dessert halo-halo) should be put into action ASAP.
Bush's fun cocktails like the Brooklyn Sling (Brokers Gin, cherry liquor, pineapple juice, lemon-lime bitters; $10) and Chinatown (Diplomatico rum, Lairds Applejack, limes, cherries, brown sugar, black pepper; $10) are sure to pop up on "best cocktail" lists throughout 2012. Keep your buzz going with Massoni's wine list, which offers 75 bottles.
Talde is, at its core, a warm neighborhood place. We spotted couples of all ages dining, groups drinking at the bar and a family waiting for a table - this is Park Slope, after all. The bar and front area are appropriately low-lit, but the brightly lit backspace has a subtle dining-in-a-suburban-mall quality. The resto should take its cues from the front lights and harmonize the whole space. Trust us, Talde: People on dates will thank you.
Insider tip: Consider yourself a die-hard Dale Talde fan? Request a spot at the six-seat chef's counter to catch all the action.