Pete Wells Awards New York's Freek’s Mill 2 Stars

This newly opened Brooklyn restaurant serves American cuisine with a smile

Freek's Mill

Representing “the origins of the canal” this restaurant serves dishes that include stuffed quail with spring peas and morels.

Freek's Mill in Brooklyn has romanced Pete Wells, who surprisingly enjoyed his meal at the recently opened spot. Named after a pre-Revolutionary War gristmill “powered by a race that emptied into the Gowanus, when it was still a creek,” Freek's Mill is located in a slowly gentrifying area of Brooklyn.

Despite this grisly, little known background, the service here is impeccable as each dish is served with a smile. Pete admires that the highlights of Mr. Shaner’s career were “jobs at Union Square Cafe and BLT Prime,” of which “neither place has been in the vanguard of culinary innovation recently.” Wells continues his point by contrasting Mr. Shaner’s background with that of “half grown chefs around the country getting attention for the two weeks they spent fondling beets at Noma.”

Wells was particularly fond of the cuisine saying, “The more you eat of his striped bass ceviche, the more interesting it becomes, as green chiles and tart, unripe strawberries meet the softening influence of basil crème fraîche.” He continues his praise in highlighting dishes that include the veal oscar, sans veal, and the fried soft shell crabs with a thick, crunch crust.

While mostly pleased with his experience, not every dish is one that he would try again. “Chicken livers in a dandelion salad dotted with hard-cooked egg crumbs were cooked until they were dark and chewy. There’s precedent for this style, but I wished they’d been creamier.” Wells goes on writing that the “barbecued kohlrabi served over grits just made me think about all the other things that could be barbecued and served over grits.”

For the full New York Times review, click here.