Recent, big-ticket Brooklyn joints have made their names on trips to the urban barnyard. Hard to blame the ambitious former Perry St. sous chef Tyler Kord, then, for straying farther: In the case of his recently-opened No. 7, all the way to Hungary, with an unlikely stopover in Asia. Kord’s venturesome palate does uncover winning combinations, but at least in the early days of No. 7, missteps seem as frequent as footholds. A raw tuna appetizer, flanked by slices of tart Korean pear and drizzled with jalapeño oil ($10), was better on the page than the plate. The oil’s piquant spiciness registered, like an unsynchronized newsfeed, only after the fact. Far better was a sturdy slice of cold roast pork, the complement to a lovingly-treated egg, first soft-boiled then rolled in bread crumbs and fried ($8). Among the entrées, a hanger steak ($20) was charred and agreeably fibrous, but its much-lauded accompaniment of kimchi pierogi -- the exemplar of Kord’s East-meets-West philosophy -- were doughy mouthfuls, their filling suffocated into blandness. The evening’s entrée special, a pork chop bedewed with a smoky bacon and peach jus, was tasty and, with its combination of sweetness and smoke, almost palpably naughty. But such a hearty, dare one say American, pleasure seemed a world away from the sleekly minimal tuna, or the pastiche of the steak entrée. A good menu induces a variety of feelings, but vertigo should not be among them. Are better times ahead? Wobbles notwithstanding, Kord’s several well-orchestrated dishes suggest so. The room itself is a potent draw, with a speakeasy’s insiderish charm. Tucked behind a subway station, the restaurant’s long bar and dining room exudes a kind of gas-lit grandeur. And helpfully for morale, many are pulling for No. 7. I know -- I’m one of them.
7 Greene Ave.,
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Photo at top left from Thrillist.com; photo at top right from New York Times