I admit it, I was not looking forward to Taconic on Bedford. I mean really, in our precious world of hipster Brooklyn dining, this place is the very hippest, the most precious of all. But you know what - Taconic on Bedford pulls it off, and I highly recommend that you try it.
Taconic, as the locals call it, is named after New York State Route 987G, the Taconic State Parkway. Owners Abraham and Fenton Percival moved from 1870's Wyoming to Williamsburg in early 2010. Fenton worked for a while as Bee-Keeper at Egg Restaurant, and Abraham was Director of Body Art at Cafe Grumpy. One spring weekend in 2011, the brothers attended the chemical-free soap and candle making conference and expo in the town of Ghent, NY. They fell in love with the Hudson Valley and decided to bring the rustic vibe and food back to Williamsburg. And so, we have Taconic on Bedford.
The Percivals found a wonderful spot for their restaurant. Set just off the street on a lovely corner of Bedford Avenue, the place feels like it is of the woods.
And the view from the main dining room is utterly gorgeous, emphasizing the bucolic beauty that can still be found in the part of Williamsburg near Newtown Creek.
There are a few problems with Taconic on Bedford, and I'm going to get those out of the way first. Taconic does not take reservations. If you or someone in your party can present a valid hunting or fishing license you will get priority for a table. Otherwise, go for a stroll in Williamsburg and Fenton will send a telegram when your table is ready. Secondly, it can take a long time to be noticed by the staff at Taconic, even after being seated. I felt so grateful to be there, though, that I didn't mind the fact that 45 minutes went by before someone came to take a drink order. That said, the servers, most of whom are former rodeo clowns, are not entirely adverse to being interrupted as they socialize, and will take your order if you are a little pushy about it.
These are minor problems, though, and there is a lot to love at Taconic on Bedford. All of the wood that went into building Taconic was reclaimed from Home Depot, and the place looks great.
Taconic offers a convenient and enviro-friendly valet service, and your car will be parked in a bed of local dried leaves while you dine.
And the wait for food is made more palatable as you sip mixologist Lleyton Pembrickson III 's signature hand-made cocktails. Lleyton came to Taconic from Dow Chemicals and she has since created many delicious libations for the Taconic crowd. My current favorite is the Irish Spring, a captivating blend of Tullamore Dew, rendered duck fat, house-made quinoa syrup, and hand-shaved green soap.
Wine is served in deerskin pouches, and there is an innovative hydration program, offering diners a variety of hand-poured waters. I usually go with the over-sized watering can, and the water is fresh and cold, very impressive indeed. You can enjoy it plain or with house-pickled ice cubes - I find both to be very satisfying.
And how about the food at Taconic? I cannot profess to have tried everything, but what I've had is excellent. Most of the vegetables and grains served at Taconic are locally foraged, and in a truly innovative touch, foraging is outsourced to a small team of Siberian Husky pups. The above photo shows Amaranth, the current leader of the pack.
Taconic adheres to strict nose-to-tail vegetable practices, and every part of the plant is used. Pictured above is the Cabbage, Celery, and Carrot ($17), a delicious melange of the whole vegetables, sliced and served with a light and tangy "mayo-vinegar jus."
Moss salad ($23) is served on the rock it grew on, and is woodsy and redolent of chlorophyll. It is pleasantly textured, but I felt that a dressing of some sort might have improved the dish.
There are a variety of meat dishes made from locally sourced animals, but if you order these dishes you must be willing to actually butcher the meat before the kitchen staff will prepare it. I was initially put off by this, as I don't know how to butcher, but in the end its a nice opportunity to learn. The butchering station is next to the bar and the first-aid area so diners can watch and learn from each others' mistakes.
After one lunchtime visit Abraham Percival took me into his office so we could chat. He is a lovely guy, his brother too. I asked about future plans and he said that the Percivals just opened a general store next to Taconic.
He gave me a quick tour and so far it seems to hold a wide array of soda. Abraham said that there will soon be a variety of very expensive pickles and candles, and also Hellman's mayonnaise.
5 and 1/2 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn