I’m so happy to have found Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen by my parents house in Forest Hills. The somewhat eclectic menu seems to take French and Italian inspirations and just focuses on making simple food correctly. The formula pleased us all (my mom, dad, brother, Lon, and I) so it’ll probably become a family spot for us.

We started with a Large Board, a selection of cured meats and various cheeses, served with fig compote, whole grain mustard, cornichons, and balsamic vinegar. The Serrano ham and Rosette de Lyon (cured pork salami) was pretty standard, but their house made Pate de Campagne (pork an veal) stood out as extra light and extremely fresh tasting. Most of us did not like the Bresaola (air-dried filet of beef) as much because it was slightly gamey and lacked flavor.

The board came with such a generous portion of cheeses, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Brie de Mieux, Boucheron, and a blue (can’t remember the name), all delicious. A basket of sliced baguette and sliced walnut cranberry raisin bread is essential, and we went through two baskets while thoroughly enjoying our company and sampling the board. My dad (a non-cheese fan, how embarrassing) even found that he liked the Brie and ended up eating all of it. Next time, I think the small board will be enough.

We chose another two appetizers to share and we were thoroughly impressed with both. The Salmon Tartare with black olives, celery leaves, capers & creme fraiche was so unique and so well balanced, super fresh and beautifully plated. It’s a good thing it was twice the size of a Manhattan version of salmon tartare because we all (except my dad who doesn’t eat raw fish, again embarrassing) wanted seconds, thirds, and fourths, especially with those light little toasts it came with.

The Grilled Calamari with Rosemary and White Beans managed to be light and refreshing and comforting at the same time. I didn’t taste the rosemary but the baby arugula greens were so fresh and the calamari was perfectly cooked, and the white beans thickened the olive oil so nicely. By now, we were already getting full and we still had entrees coming.

I’m glad I chose a somewhat lighter entree, the Hand Made Pappardelle with oven Dried Tomato Sauce & Arugula. It was a simple and beautiful looking dish.

My brother ordered the Strip Steak, which was seasoned with fennel and oregano, cooked as ordered, with a huge amount of very good bite sized roasted potatoes, soft inside and crispy outside. (Sorry, no pic) But, if you are going to order steak, my mom got the Hanger Steak with Crispy Fries and Red Wine Shallot Butter and that was killer! Gorgeous medium rare color, a huge amount of the best fries, and wow that red wine shallot butter was amazing, even for someone who doesn’t usually like sauce on steaks. Everyone raved over my mom’s plate.

My dad and Lon both chose a special, a spaghetti with chopped clams and pancetta. The chopped scallions and slight kick really rounded out the cohesive flavors. Lon really licked his bowl clean!

We were absolutely stuffed but managed to finish all but a little cheese, but we couldn’t squeeze down dessert, which I’ll have to try next time. Danny Brown had impressed us in seemingly simple ways, meat cooked to correct temperature, fresh ingredients, and nice lighting so I can see my food. These qualities are not so easy to come by these days. The value is also undeniable. You would easily pay 30% more for the same dishes in Manhattan and likely get much smaller portions. I can’t wait to go back!

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