Monday, December 19, 2011

Basik - Far More Intricate than What Its Name Suggests

Basik - 323 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211
L Train to Graham Avenue

It’s no secret that I love exploring new and up-and-coming eateries in and out of Astoria. And when neighborhoods outside of Astoria are concerned, I do love to discover new places in Brooklyn, as there’s never a shortage of something good. That’s why I was delighted to be invited to a media preview of a new gastropub in Williamsburg called Basik. The tasting was oriented around drinks and small bites, which I was looking forward to, as it allows you to try a lot of things.

Located just steps away from the Graham Avenue subway stop in Williamsburg, Basik couldn’t be more convenient to get to. I overestimated my travel time from Tribeca by about 20 minutes, and it took me only about 25 minutes door to door to get there. Pretty awesome!

The overall effect of the space is quite nice - it’s roomy, simple and approachable, and especially the front-of-the-house bar area that boasts some of the most inventive drinks I’ve had. There’s a few sparse tables in the front and additional seating in the back, which is more private.

I immediately noticed the walls, which are made up of myriad old planks in different colors. It had a vintage, refurbished flair that I really liked, and I asked one of Basik’s owners about it. He was proud to tell us that most of the materials including the planked walls, the tables, the bar and other things came from a great antique shop in the city called Old Good Things. I’ve been there before and really enjoy their aesthetic.

Food and Drink:
Although the menu at Basik is like its name implies, it’s nothing short of delicious. Although the food options are few, in my opinion it makes life a lot easier, and I’d rather see a new establishment focus on a few things they do well, rather than trying to tackle it all.

Boquerones – A lovely way to start this meal, the boquerones (or pickled anchovies) provided pronounced yet clean flavors that did a great job of exciting us for future courses. The dish was simple yet prepared beautifully and the fish was fresh and perfectly seasoned with a light sprinkling of freshly cut parsley. Our senses were certainly engaged and we were ready for more.

Arugula Salad – Another light starter, it stood out because of its fresh, quality ingredients such as arugula, apples, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. We liked that it incorporated a nice mix of textures and complimentary flavors. The chunky pieces of parmesan added something a little heartier to the salad and did a good job of tiding us over for the next course.

Beet Salad – My favorite dish of the night, it was uncomplicated yet very well thought out, consisting of chunky beets, served up in a rustic fashion, some of them with the skins still on. Enveloped in a creamy Greek yogurt sauce that tasted as tangy as goat cheese with candied walnuts on top, each bite was wonderfully satisfying without the guilt of excessive calories.

Veggie Sandwich – Certainly a new take on a veggie sandwich, this one came wrapped in warm, toasty naan, stuffed with hearty veggies such as eggplant, red and green peppers and mushrooms. The whole thing then melded together with a gooey queso blanco cheese and spicy sriracha mayo that gave the sandwich a welcome kick. This was no wimpy veggie dish.

Chicken Salad Sandwich – Also a revamped version of this classic sandwich, Basik’s was served on an earthy whole grain flatbread. The chicken salad itself was a lot lighter than what I’m used to, which was a nice change – gentler on the mayo and heavier on the fresh herbs. This made for a tastier sandwich in my opinion, and I finished it to the last bite.

Hot Dog 2 Ways – Our last dish of the night provided a nice finale. It was a hot dog, served two ways, and again something a bit non-traditional. One side was topped with fresh pickle and onion relish, producing a really crunchy, fresh bite that tasted just right with the meaty dog. The other side was a bit more indulgent, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, onions, mustard and while I liked it, the former was more original and interesting.

Drinks – The drinks were a huge highlight of our experience, as Basik’s owners really got to show us their passion and skills for making a great cocktail. I managed to have two cocktails, one called Longitude and another called Poppa's Pride. Both were excellent but the Longitude was truly amazing, consisting of Mezcal tequila that produced the most amazing smoky aftertaste. It was a fabulously masculine drink, which I was proud to devour.

Service and Cost:
Basik’s staff was friendly and welcoming and really interested in providing us with the best experience possible. I think they do a great job of conveying the cool, casual vibe of this place and their enthusiasm and passion for their business shines through.

Costs are inexpensive and include:

Appetizers - $4
Salads - $6
Sandwiches - $8

3 Mmmms

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