A New Brooklyn Lunch Counter With Eastern European Pastries and Vintage Charm

After touring all the way through Europe, chef Jeremy Salamon introduced Fond in 2017, a sequence of pop-ups that occupied with Hungarian cooking, with home-y recipes like wild mushroom goulash and crammed cabbage, dishes now not frequently highlighted in New York in contemporary reminiscence. The good fortune of the dinners stuck the attention of his former boss Jason Soloway, the landlord of the East Village’s the Eddy, who tapped then 24-year-old Salamon — who had labored on the likes of Buvette and Locanda Verde — to return again to the eating place as the chief chef and revamp its menu with Hungarian flavors.

Although the Eddy has since shuttered, Salamon is still a pace-setter in New York’s new wave of Jap Ecu cooking. Nowadays, he’s in particularly just right corporate, with pop-ups like Dacha 46 taking a brand new, regional-look on the huge delicacies.

“Throughout the remaining 5 years, I think like there’s been an exhilarating new period of cooks reimagining Jap Ecu flavors,” says Salamon. “Nevertheless it nonetheless feels more or less uncommon.”

Executive chef and owner of Agi’s Counter, Jeremy Salamon stands behind a terrazzo counter topped with pastries on tiered trays, while smiling and wearing a blue shirt.
Govt chef and proprietor of Agi’s Counter, Jeremy Salamon.

Now Salamon is stepping out on his personal phrases together with his first-ever eating place: Agi’s Counter, which opens at 818 Franklin Street, close to Jap Throughway, on Monday, November 8 in Crown Heights. The eating place is known as after Salamon’s Hungarian paternal grandmother of the similar identify and in large part options reinterpretations of Hungarian and Austrian dishes he grew up with, with sprinklings of recipes that nod to his Jewish American heritage on his maternal facet from his grandmother Arlene.

“Agi didn’t train me the right way to cook dinner, it used to be extra concerning the tradition and the language; the grandmother that feeds you till you’re complete or even while you’re previous complete,” says Salamon. Arlene, in the meantime, taught Salamon the right way to bake desserts and correctly dangle a knife.

“I’ve an attractive shut dating with either one of them. My Hungarian grandmother is 94 and to have that dating along with her is in reality particular; Arlene and I communicate as soon as every week!”

Four white plates with pastries sit on a terrazzo counter top with a fork and knife.
A collection of pastries at Agi’s Counter led through Renee Hudson.

When the 25-seat eating place opens, it is going to simplest be offering breakfast and lunch to start out. The primary week, the hours will run from 7 a.m. to three p.m. (beginning the second one week, the distance will shut at 5 p.m.). Within the mornings, espresso and Hungarian and Austrian pastries such because the Ferdinand buns — coiled up like a sticky bun, or, “deflated sand castles,” as Salamon lovingly refers to them — in addition to a cinnamon, espresso and walnut twist, shall be to be had each for individuals who’d love to sit-down or order takeout. Different baked items, just like the gerbeaud — a Hungarian cookie cake made with yeasted shortbread, apricot jam, and chocolate ganache — are to be had all-day. The bakery menu (and the standout sandwich potato bread) is led through government pastry chef Renee Hudson, whom Salamon met whilst operating at Locanda Verde. Specials, corresponding to an Austrian sacher-torte cake, can even make an look simplest on Fridays.

Two sandwiches will simplest be to be had within the mornings: the leberkase (an Austrian staple that includes a sq. of beef pate served with a fried egg garnished with pickled peppers, frisee, and a pear mostarda sitting between two fluffy slices of potato bread) in addition to the pogacsa (a Hungarian-style biscuit sandwich with a fried egg, dill, alpine cheddar, and mayo).

A trio of sanfwiches on white plates sit on a marble table next to a marigold flower in a vase.
A trio of sandwiches and durans.
Two rolled crepes on a white plate sit side by side to a poached pear, atop a marble white table with silverware and a vase.
The palascinta.

Till 5 p.m., visitors can order from the remainder of the sandwiches and durans (Austrian open-faced sandwiches). “Durans are in most cases served with such things as curly parsley or a tomato floral garnish. That is our extra trendy tackle it,” says Salamon. One of the most durans is the Ritzy Titzy, an open-faced poached rooster sandwich with blue cheese, pickled grapes, and herbs, that’s a play on a Waldorf salad. “My grandmother used to name fancy meals or folks ritzy-titzy,” says Salamon.

The remainder of the menu is focused on veggie dishes — such because the beets with fermented honey — and bigger plates. The Hungarian breakfast, for instance, arrives with boiled ham, a rooster liver pate, six-minute deviled egg with paprika, pickles, spelt crackers, and extra.

“I felt numerous drive to start with to be the Hungarian Chef — that there used to be no heart floor. However as I labored in the course of the menu, I didn’t wish to simply keep in that lane anymore,” says Salamon. “I’m a homosexual Jewish guy making Hungarian meals; there are numerous influences, however a Hungarian may are available in and now not acknowledge some issues.”

Extra conventional, even though, are the palascinta, or rolled crepes, full of contemporary cheese, a glistening toasted caraway brown butter, with a poached pear and seasonal jam. “My grandmother used to make palascinta always for me after I’d sleep over,” says Salamon. “I might at all times get up to palascinta and move to mattress with palascinta.”

A sandwich with chicken, pickled grapes, and cheese is presented open-face on a white plate on top of a gray marble counter.
The “Ritzy Titzy” sandwich.

Past espresso, Salamon serves a daylight hours shrub that’s known as the Thumper, a riff at the Hungarian soda Bambi, that used to be certainly named after the film. Upon opening, the staff can even release with a bitter cherry and plum vinegar in addition to a model with celery and lemon verbena — with rotating flavors to practice — that’s served table-side with an old-school seltzer bottle. “We’re going to peer how that is going,” says Salamon with amusing. “It will get messy.”

 Seltzer from an old-school bottle is poured into a glass with red liquid, garnished with flowers.
Shrub flavors will rotate.

When the eating place opens for dinner within the new 12 months, Salamon’s plan is to stay issues easy. The primary entree at the midnight menu shall be schnitzel, or rantott hus because it’s known as in Hungary. There shall be round 13 other vegetable aspects to make a choice from, in addition to matchstick fries for mix-and-match alternatives. As soon as his liquor license comes via, Salamon plans to pair the dishes with a Hungarian wine record, a lesser-highlighted viticulture scene in New York.

As for the design, the captivating interiors had been intended to awaken being at a grandma’s space however “with a bit of a chef-y diner situation.” There are two luncheonette counters in addition to banquette seating with tables within the again. Salamon and his fashion designer, who additionally labored at the Eddy’s house, regarded to the artwork deco paintings of Ilonka Karasz, a Twenties-era Hungarian-American textile fashion designer and New Yorker quilt illustrator. A very powerful element of all is the circle of relatives footage. Whilst grandma Agi herself isn’t in a position to take a aircraft this present day, grandma Arlene and the remainder of his circle of relatives shall be eating at Agi’s Counter on opening night time. However lengthy when they go away, there shall be footage of them striking at the wall, together with considered one of grandma Agi herself, taken at Salamon’s father’s bar mitzvah, staring at over the eating place.

A bi-level terrazzo counter top has marigold flowers in vases and tiered plates featured pastries.
The entrance counter at Agi’s has an open-air pastry show.
Seven jars of pickled vegetables sit on a light-wood shelf.
Pickled cucumbers, beets, and extra.