An Early Taste of Pacifico's Fine Foods' Brunch
Photos by Zachary Feldman
In January, chef Shanna Pacifico left her post at Back Forty West after a seven year run working under greenmarket pioneer Peter Hoffman. Last month, she opened her first solo venture, Pacifico's Fine Foods (798A Franklin Avenue, 917-966-2670), with Kristi Banister of High Horse Saloon and chef Roberto Aita, who also left a kitchen that had earned him acclaim (Williamsburg's Fiore) to open a restaurant bearing his name (Clinton Hill's Aita). Steps from the Franklin Avenue subway station in Crown Heights and down the block from neo-Caribbean stunner Glady's and charming New American canteen Mayfield, Pacifico's serves market-driven food with a South American bent. This past weekend, it launched brunch service.
The modest room bathes in natural light during the day thanks to a windowed façade. It's a sea of monochrome and wood, with a small bar opposite the kitchen in back. Dinner at Pacifico's shows its South American stripes in offerings like a daily ceviche, pork-filled yucca fritters served with aji pepper aioli, and a seafood stew with clams, mussels, and Pollock fish in a peppery coconut milk base. For the time being, brunch appears to be devoted to the greenmarket (and American breakfast), with French toast and steak tips with eggs.
I haven't met many great bowls of edamame, but a share plate of blistered English peas was brimming with smoky sweetness, the pods rendered soft and pliable. Seasoned with lemongrass and mint, they almost make you forget that Pacifico has an affinity for pigs -- at least until you see that her signature pork nuggets have made the trip to Brooklyn from Back Forty. In Manhattan, they're made from the pig's jowl. Here, the chef uses parts from the head, trotter, and shank. They're every bit as good as the original.