Hidden away in a small Brooklyn basement storefront is a specialty food store, chalk full of upscale teas and artisanal cookie crackers. Just beyond the cheese mongers station and shelves of small batch quinoa pasta there is a sandwich hamlet giving rise to some seriously scrumptious takes on classic crusty creations. On the border of Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy stands Mekelburg’s , the place to go for rare tasty brews and bold flavored grub.
Let me first preface this by saying I have traveled the long and mountainous state roads on Vermont in search of some of the finest craft beer New England has to offer. While I will save a post later for the Heady Toppers and Lawson’s Finest and Fiddleheads and Rock Arts out there, I do have to give my full devotion to the fine people at Hill Farmstead for creating some of the most delicious and rare beer out there. Over the past 6 months or so I have seen 3 rare sightings of their beer in the greater New York area and each time was a celebration of shock and awe. The most recent time was when I made my way to the bar at Mekelburg’s and offended the baby clad diners next to me with a “NO FUCKING WAY!!!!! HILL FUCKING FARMSTEAD…..EDWARD BABY!!!” So without going into to much fanboy status I would just like to say any sandwich joint carrying a beer of such distinction would need practically in-editable food to sway this hand. (#ChrisHammar)
Beer in hand, my dining party proceeded to snack on some delicious Cured Olives and Sichuan Peanuts. Both were a great salty/briney foil for the highly hopped beer and at $5 you definitely get the bang for you buck. The olives were varied and plentiful while the peanuts came roasted with some thinly sliced chilies that gave the perfect little bite of heat. For my sandwich I went with the Italian pork staple that is the Porchetta, and that little piggy made me cry yum, yum, yum all the way home. (hahaha boy I kill myself sometimes) The roasted pig was tenderly dripping with its juices with the sesame flecked roll was soft enough to allow the porcine pop rocks that are the skin cracklings enough textural contrast to shine. Bitter broccoli rabe provided that classic bitter counterpoint that clears away any greasiness that luxurious pork expels, while the parmigiano added a salty and melty element that brought it all together. My dining companion got the N’Orleans BBQ Shrimp Po’Boy and couldn’t stop raving about it with the best compliment rendered being “it’s everything that is good with hot pockets minus the diarrhea”. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.
Overall Mekelburg’s is the best of what new age Brooklyn is trying to capture; an authentic attempt to recreate the classics of yesterday in a more artisanal and nuanced sort of way, whether it be a vegan ice cream or an old fashioned sandwich shop. So take a trip down a few stairs and pass a deli counter to find a new sandwich destination worth looking for.