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Runner & Stone Adds Flavor to New American Cooking Trend

By Allison Wilson

Anyone who has read a restaurant review in the last few years is likely familiar with the concept of "New American Cooking" or "New American Cuisine." The trend, much like the country that shares its name, is a kind of melting pot of ethnic flavors infused with native ingredients, and restaurants like Brooklyn's Runner & Stone are further defining the concept by adding their own interpretations to the mix. This Gowanus neighborhood restaurant-and-bakery's style is built on traditional components- while incorporating specific, local ingredients to make new and interesting combinations.

"We imagine New American Cooking to be a style that pulls from many different cuisines, while focusing on ingredients that are available locally and seasonally," says Runner & Stone Head Baker Peter Endriss. "So, for example, our fish of the day is often a species that is caught locally, served with whatever vegetables are available at our local farmers market that month, and the sauce might pull from a French tradition one month, or an Asian tradition another month. It's a win-win because the dishes are delicious and we're supporting a wonderful, environmentally sound, regional economy. I believe that many NYC chefs are realizing this, and that's why this style has become so popular."

Endriss and Chef Chris Pizzulli utilize traditional techniques that are time-tested to produce delicious food, while developing relationships with local farmers, ranchers and purveyors to showcase what the region has to offer. If you were to ask customers what they come to Runner & Stone for, you would get answers ranging from the house-made cultured butter to the grass-fed steak with kale chimichurri.

Two dishes that stand out as favorites- and have remained on the menu since the 2012 opening- are the duck pastrami and the orecchiette with housemade sausage and broccoli rabe (both pictured in article). Pizzulli creates the duck pastrami by giving a duck breast the traditional pastrami treatment, including a 24-hour brine, a housemade spice rub, and an in-house smoke. The orecchiette pasta is handmade from organic durum flour; the pork sausage is ground, seasoned and cased in house; and the broccoli rabe is sourced locally. These three seemingly simple ingredients come together to make a dish that is traditional, iconic and, above all, delicious.

"I think our customers appreciate that we make so much of what we serve in house, so they never have to question what they're eating," Endriss says. "They know that they can count on whole ingredients, minimally prepared to make them shine. They know that they're supporting regional farms and enjoying a delicious meal while doing so. We also have an old-fashioned sense of hospitality in that we value our customers and their experiences above all and realize that they are the backbone of our business. Their loyalty is what allows us to do what we do day in and day out."

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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