Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Dining Club revives, opens with a bird program at Estuary in Brooklyn Bridge Park

New schedule of regular dining opportunities this fall

September 18, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Heather Wolf, bird expert, photographer, and author.
Photo: Harold Moeller

The Brooklyn Dining Club, revived by the Brooklyn Eagle following a multi-year hiatus, partly brought on by COVID-19, is coming back. Recently, a group of 35 people joined an inaugural event at Estuary at ONE15 Brooklyn Marina. The event was somewhat unique, like a shakedown cruise, in that it featured much more than food. A slideshow by the celebrated, Brooklyn-based bird expert and photographer Heather Wolf completely engaged the audience of birders.

Diners enjoyed spectacular views of New York Harbor, the casual elegance of the breezy interior, the sharp service, and — most notably as of late — the sophisticated “bistronomy” of newly-hired Executive Chef Sebastien Chaoui.

Chef Sebastien, new executive chef at Estuary.
Photo: Estuary

Prior to the hour-long presentation and slideshow, attendees were treated to a family-style, off-menu dinner of roasted salmon, beef sliders, coffee-rubbed ribs. There was also an array of salads and cole slaw paired with select wines or craft beer. The fast, casual offerings, were a deviation from the elevated “bistronomy” that Chef Sebastien has brought to Estuary. Normally, Chef Sebastien’s broad menu features haute cuisine within a relaxed dining experience. The attendees of the event were introduced to Chef Sebastien and encouraged to return for a true taste of his exquisite menu, expert presentation and genuine passion. “Come, eat my food,” he implored, tapping his chest. “I will cook for you.”

Shan, a popular Szechuan restaurant located on bustling Smith Street.
Photo: Shan via Instagram

The limited, expedited menu for the event was created to allow ample time for Ms. Wolf — a Brooklyn-based birder, photographer and educator — to deliver her presentation, which she did with enthusiastic aplomb and ethos. Her engaging commentary during the slideshow entertained, educated and advised in a lucid, humorous manner. The audience remained engaged and attentive throughout. Those in attendance picked up copies of each of Ms. Wolf’s books — Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront and her latest, Find More Birds: 111 Surprising Ways to Spot Birds Wherever You Are — before exiting into the smoldering sunset beyond the Brooklyn waterfront.

Andrew Cotto has been eating his way through Brooklyn for 25 years. As an author, the food of our borough has been featured extensively in his novels and journalism. In his new column for the Daily Eagle, Andrew will tell the tales of Brooklyn eateries, from the people behind the food to the communities that they nourish.
Photo: Andrew Cotto

If you couldn’t make it to this event, though, you still have many opportunities. The Brooklyn Dining Club will be hosting its next event on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 6:30 pm at Shan, a popular Szechuan restaurant located on bustling Smith Street. Opened in Spring of 2022, Shan quickly became a destination for the classic, sizzling delicacies of southwestern China, like their fiery Mapo Tofu, Chongqing-style Chicken and a myriad of variations on Dry Hot Pot. Diners will get a chance to hear from Head Chef Jun Zeng as he leads us through a 3-course meal, featuring off-menu specialties and a beverage pairing to cut the spice and enhance the flavors (as if that were even possible!). Andrew Cotto, Brooklyn Eagle’s top food columnist, will also enlighten the group on the Brooklyn restaurant scene as we enjoy another evening of fantastic food and company.

Brooklyn Dining Club welcomes new members to experience collectively and collegially the incredible new culinary diversity available in our borough. Readers who wish to be notified of future Brooklyn Dining Club events should click here.

 

 


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