New York: Fall in love with Faun

Octopus at Faun, Brooklyn, New York

Tina lives in Brooklyn, and after she has become a mom, I find it increasingly difficult to make her venture outside her natural habitat. If I want to see her, I’ll have to go to Brooklyn. Not that I mind, because Brooklyn has so many nice neighborhoods, and the dining scene is fabulous.

We both love good food, so when we meet, it’s usually over dinner. Last Thursday I therefore suggested that we went to Faun, which is an American Italian restaurant located in Prospect Heights. Another friend had spoken very warmly about the place, and it wasn’t too far from where Tina lives, so when I said Faun, she said yes.

We had hoped for a table outside in what might be Brooklyn’s coziest patio, but we had made our reservation rather late and those most-wanted tables were already fully booked. Instead we got a table next to the window, which wasn’t too bad either.

We first had octopus with Jerusalem artichoke, lovage and radicchio. Tina would had wanted the octopus slightly more cooked, while I found it just perfect. However, we both agreed that this was the prettiest dish that evening, so excuse me for going a little camera crazy on my Insta Story.

The raw scallop with ‘nduja, cucumber, panisse and yogurt arrived a few minutes later. The individual elements might be a little bland on their own, but put together in one mouthful, the different textures and subtle flavors worked exceptionally well.

The Ricotta & Swiss Chard Ravioli with tarragon was nice and well-executed, but compared to the other things we had, I think it lacked a little X Factor. Though please note that I’m not a big fan of tarragon, so I’m probably not the best person to tell.

When glancing through the menu, Tina seemed interested in the roasted quails, but I deliberately chose to ignore it, because I’ve never been a big quail fan. They’re usually so tiny and not really worth the effort. Besides, I always end up feeling like I’m eating a canary with all the strange associations that come along with that, so instead I steered her in the Pork Neck with Apricot direction.

In Denmark we have a dish called æbleflæsk, which is slices of pork fried with apples, usually eaten around Christmas time. The tartness of the apples in combination with the pork is unbeatable, and I can eat it all year round, so I suspected that the roasted apricots would be great with pork too. It turned out to be even better.

Prior to our visit, I had been eyeing up the dish on Instagram. They had changed the plate styling a bit, and the Instagram version looked better, but everything else about this dish was divine, and I loved the brilliant simplicity.

After the Faun-tastic (sorry, couldn’t help it) pork neck, even I had become a little curious about those quails, so we ended up ordering a plate to share. Served on a bed of farro, spring onion, celery and pancetta, this was quite amazing too, and yet another proof that pancetta makes everything better. We completely cleaned the plate, leaving not as much as a single grain of farro behind.

For dessert, we shared the Grapefruit Curd with Graham Cracker Streusel and Meringue. For some reason (I blame the dim lighting), I didn’t realize that the dessert was served in the grapefruit shell. Instead, I thought the shell was some kind of pastry, so I frenetically attacked it with my spoon until Tina intervened and demanded that I left the poor grapefruit alone.

Oh, I almost forgot the drinks! We were both curious about the Swiss(!) cider, but ended up having each our carefully crafted cocktail instead. If you like cherries as much as I do, I think you’ll love the Porto Cobbler. We also had a glass of Greek red wine that went exceptionally well with the pork neck.

Our dinner at Faun was such a nice experience. The staff was amazing and the food was right down my alley. I liked the playful twist to many of the dishes, and the unconventional combinations of ingredients. You would read through the menu and wonder Will this really work? and then you’ll try it and realize that those odd ingredients haven’t just been added for the sake of it, but because they taste great and elevates the dish to something that goes far beyond standard fusion fare. It’s intelligent, adventurous and ambitious, and I can’t wait to go back.

Faun, 606 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York

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