While I try to go to Brooklyn as often as possible, especially during the summer season, my venture is typically limited to Williamsburg and Carroll Garden area. Gowanus is an area that has long eluded me because it doesn’t usually have the line-up of restaurants that I would venture far from Manhattan for. When a new restaurant named after an ancient mill that operated in Gowanus back in the pre-Revolutionary War years of 18th century America, it immediately piqued my interest. All sentimental elements aside, I’ve been hearing good words about this place for the seasonal small-plates based dining experience, so after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on a very hot summer Sunday, I figured I could use a nice place to cool off. I couldn’t have asked for a better place for a leisurely Sunday dinner.
While the menu at Freek’s Mill looks so predictable, none of the dishes that I had tried were boring. In fact, I was very impressed with the elements of surprise and beautiful execution that each dish displayed so well. The citrusy sensation of striped bass ceviche worked wonders with avocado for wonderful mix of flavor. Crispy soft shell crab was another winner, with the tender crab meat that was such a pleasure to eat that my dining companion and I quickly disposed of the entire thing before we knew it! English pea agnolotti pasta with lobster was also an above-average pasta dish that displayed very nice balance of flavor without a ton of heaviness.
The winner of the night, however, clearly belonged to dry aged duck with refried cranberry beans and rosemary honey. I always have a liking for perfectly cooked medium rare duck that is very moderately seasoned to give maximum effect to the texture. Freek Mill’s duck has already done that; what really separated this dish from other duck dishes that I have had elsewhere is how the cranberry beans gave a rustic touch that was just absolutely sensational. I kept marveling at how the kitchen put together this dish which, despite its simple-looking plating, displayed such complexity of flavor and texture! My dining companion and I were pretty stuffed at this point, but panna cotta with blueberry granite was a light dessert that would end your meal on a perfect note.
Getting a reservation doesn’t seem too hard at Freek’s Mill but this place has quickly become a neighborhood destination for Brooklynites and the dining space was absolutely packed during my meal; my suggestion is to book early if you can. I absolutely loved the cozy, inviting vibe of the restaurant that is perfect for diners who are looking for serious dining experience without any pretension of some established places in Manhattan. The restaurant has a full bar with French-heavy wine list. Freek’s Mill is truly a worthwhile place to visit in Gowanus if you are looking for a casual yet satisfying dinner experience where a lot of seasonal plates with interesting twists here and there will make you come back again. I don’t know when I will be in Gowanus next time, but I would definitely love to come back here at some point in the future.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 285 Nevins Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Telephone: (718) 852-3000