Eat Here Right Now

Eat Here Now: Brooklyn Cider House

If you dine out at only one place this month, make it here.

Photo by Michael Tulipan

Former wine buyer Peter Yi has brought the Basque Country to Bushwick. After an inspiring trip to Spain, he opened Brooklyn Cider House inside an expansive warehouse on a corner of Flushing Avenue and modeled it after a sagardotegi, a traditional hard cider house/community space from the region where the drink is both produced and served, alongside rustic bites. Ready for an authentic taste of Europe? We have good news for you!

This is delicious bar food turned inside out. 

Blending Yi’s Korean heritage and sous chef Abel Hernandez’s flair for Spanish cooking, the standard bar bite is elevated far above its laid-back status. Twice-fried wings are tossed with a soy-ginger-rice syrup sauce, cod skin is fried off to make sea-salty chicharrones, and the classic burger is given the banh mi treatment with pickled vegetables and a lime-cilantro aioli. And while your snacks are enjoyable at the bar, they’ll taste even better with a round of cornhole on the dog-friendly outdoor patio.  

Brooklyn Cider House
There’s gold in them thar barrels. / Photo by Michael Tulipan

The tasting menu is both hearty and highly affordable.

Though you can just order a glass of raw cider and snacks from the bar menu, you’d do well to go for its four-course tasting menu with cider pairings instead. Catering to both carnivores and vegetarians, the tastings echo the spirit and style of the Basque meal, with family-style dishes including charred vegetables, rustic Spanish omelettes, whole grilled red snappers, and a cheese platter with plenty of Manchego and quince paste. It also doesn’t hurt that at $49, you really can’t find a better culinary deal in Brooklyn. 

Brooklyn Cider House
We’ll take one of everything, please! / Photo by Michael Tulipan

Drinking becomes an immersive experience.

Between each course, you’ll be instructed to head to Cider House’s Barrel Room to “catch” your cider in traditional Basque style, directly from the chestnut aging barrels. Positioning your glass beneath the spout isn’t as easy as it sounds; plenty of cider will land on the floor your first few tries. But it becomes second nature by the third go-round—and you’ll have a small crowd cheering you on when you perfect your catch.

Brooklyn Cider House
This one is a real chestnut! / Photo by Michael Tulipan

This isn’t your normal cider.

Each glassful is defined as a snapshot of the moment in which they’re harvested (at the Hudson Valley family orchard) and fermented. The four natural ciders available are in different stages of the aging process, leaving some more balanced in flavor while others more sour and robust. There’s a guarantee your palate has never tasted something quite like a Basque-style sparkler.  One bubbling cider had the acidity of a glass of orange wine, while another could only be described as apple skin in liquid form.

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