Mike O’Brien planned Northern Bell around its spacious back patio: a sun-and-shade space sheltered from the wind by surrounding buildings. But the interior of the week-old southern spot ain’t so shabby, either: there’s reclaimed barn wood, subway tiles and antique mirrors. Plus a roomy wine cabinet that O’Brien — who runs a bar in Long Island with his brothers — plans to fill when he gets the dosh.
The homely comfort of the restaurant extends to a menu packed with “rustic American food with a North Carolina barbecue twist.” Chef Chris Gianino spent the last 10 years in North Carolina honing his skills, and is now putting them to work with dishes like home-smoked pulled pork, short ribs, and a crowd-pleasing blue-cheese bison burger. A hash-heavy brunch menu is served on the weekends, with old stalwarts spruced up by new ingredients: orange-armagnac french toast, for example, or a chicken hash with Cheerwine chutney.
O’Brien had originally planned on opening a drinks-focused public house, and that early alcohol-soused plan is evident in the impressively stocked, handsome oak bar. There are more than 45 craft beers on offer, and 12 on tap—carefully selected after “a lot of time and a lot of hangovers.”
There’s also a list of seasonal cocktails spiked with house-made bitters. They’ll be mixed by O’Brien himself a couple nights a week—or, as he puts it, “as much as my girlfriend lets me.”
Northern Bell, 612 Metropolitan Ave, bet. Leonard and Lorimer Sts.; 718-388-9040