DINING OUT: Backyard dining

At Backyard, even the garden gnomes are smiling.

That is because they are part of the Backyard family, which extends beyond owner Jeff Warner, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Adeline to the friendly staff, including chef Vincenzo Perrone.

“Our hope is to bring a backyard to people who do not have one in Park Slope, so there is a lot of American comfort food,” said Warner, whose two-year-old restaurant features an airy front room, full bar and spacious backyard dining area. Children’s games, books and TV sports games are also on hand.

Warner and Perrone have developed a seasonal, quirky-yet-traditional brunch and dinner menus of cuisine that salutes his own New England roots and the southern roots of his wife.

A popular brunch offering, Back to Tennessee ($12) combines succulent, fork-tender pulled pork with sweet and savory house-made baked beans in a bowl topped with perfectly runny fried eggs and house-made cracklings that were full-flavored, crispy and downright decadent.

Another brunch stand-out is the soft, savory and irresistible Mushroom Flatbread ($12), topped with a reduction of mushrooms and shallots, enhanced by goat cheese, cooked down with white wine and finished with a dash of truffle oil. Eat them alone or dipped in the yolk of two fried eggs, alongside crispy breakfast potatoes that lounge among a pouf of microgreens that contrast well with the intensely rich flatbreads.

The Taste of New England ($20) combines a mug of lightly creamy New England-style clam chowder that is bursting with rich flavor and chunks of potatoes and discs of carrot, with a pair of lobster sliders, Backyard’s version of the lobster roll. Gorgeously reddish-pink, the lobster meat is sweet and lightly dressed on a toasted brioche roll and garnished with crispy leaves of mesclun.

Venturing further afield to the southwest for inspiration, the Beer and Chile Braised Chicken ($15) is a big dish, flavorwise, thanks to being braised in IPA beer and a paste of three different chiles – ancho, guajillo and pasilla – for chicken that is rich and intense, slightly spicy, but not unbearably hot. The side of pear sriracha sauce offers a sweet kick that goes great with the chicken or the side of roasted potatoes.

Bar snacks and side dishes are also aplenty, with Beach Taters ($4) featuring lime juice-infused cubes of potatoes sprinkled with chopped chives and served alongside some pear sriracha. There is also the House Pickles ($3)—cups of thinly sliced house-pickled cucumber and cubes of pickled beets that contrasted delightfully with each other, adding another note to the symphony of flavors orchestrated by Perrone.

Whatever your meal, there is a cocktail, beer, wine or other spirit available at the full bar to wash it all down. Just ask Paul the bartender for a recommendation. One drink that never fails in spring/summer is the Brooklyn Crush ($12), a refreshingly fruity mix of Brooklyn Republic vodka, homemade lemon mint syrup and homemade raspberry preserves.

Once we had this food and drink in hand, we didn’t want to let it—or the Backyard experience—go.

“It’s part of your home, an extension of where you live,” said Warner. “We have a slogan: eat, drink and hang out. We want people to come and stay and not feel obligated to hurry up and eat.”


388 Fifth Avenue



Open daily: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Weekend brunch: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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