You can certainly feel like you are in the boonies in your well-worthy journey to Lavender Lake. Literally the only stable on this otherwise vacant Gowanus street, this old horse house turned sprawling rustic bar was boisterous and bustling when I rode in one Thursday evening. You can choose to chock up the crowd to this spot’s monopoly on the desolate block, its recent NY Times buzz, or the fine and focused food. It may be fair to say a combination of the above is at play - but only the last is one that I can back-up with utmost certainty.
With a decor where rustic weds industrial by design-savvy owners Dino Siampos, Sam Wheeler, Eric Chavez and Adam Sober, my pleased eyes were in good company with my taste buds. The cocktail with their namesake’s signature all over it was the L.L.I.T.’s ($10) lavender-infused vodka with the sour citrus tang of lemon and the soothing aromatics of earl grey tea, the tranquil floral notes just peeking through on cue. Beware that you may want to substitute this cooler for your morning tea. Each of the six cocktails on the list had no more than just as many ingredients; keeping it simple and fresh, nary could you go wrong.With two clip-boarded pages of straightforward fare - like deep-fried brussels sprouts, pickled veggies in a pot, and a bangin’ burger with house-made chips - I opted for the thick-cut pork loin ($17). Charred grill marks cross-hatched the pinkish center, with supple creases that soaked up the glorious bath of not-too-creamy seeded mustard sauce. The tender cut was cradled by a bed of long Romaine leaves and punctuated with crisp pickles and radishes. Well-executed and balanced, this dish is just one of the many grub pickings to absorb whichever beer, wine or spirit you fancy.
But fancy is hardly the name of the game in this here saloon. With no frills and no fuss, feel free to fish your wish at Lavender Lake.
383 Carroll Street, Brooklyn
Photos: Rebecca Kritzer