A companion of ours once noted that he’s never seen a more smoothly run kitchen than that of John Poiarkoff, and we have to agree; Poiarkoff and his sous-chefs move about with balletic precision and grace, all in the service of turning out some of the finest and most inventive cuisine in Brooklyn.

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You’d hardly expect to find a restaurant like Willow nestled directly under Franklin Avenue’s elevated C-train, flanked by a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Papa John’s and a Crown’s Fried Chicken. And yet, the intriguingly angled eatery [is] a tiny and multi-faceted diamond in the rough, which perfectly reflects the progression of stunning snacks and scrupulously constructed small plates planned for the bite-sized kitchen.  

This is The Pines team’s newest passion project ... Slated to open on April 2nd, the seasonally focused spot is equally committed to sustainable sourcing, natural wines and house-made everything, just a bit dialed-down, in order to suit the community and the space.

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When Poiarkoff took over as executive chef, he overhauled everything—the fresh vegetables, how often the menu changes, the wine list, and where he got his meat. “For me, its cool supporting the little guys, and its also the quality of product." 

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After joining The Pines as its inaugural sous chef in 2012, Chef [John] Poiarkoff recently took over the kitchen, adding a heightened level of refinement to both the menu and service. Experimental and ever-changing in its first two years, John has helped the restaurant to find a more consistent voice — one rooted in his personal cooking philosophy that places ingredients at the center.

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Just like Littleneck and Bar Tano, The Pines is a part of the new generation of restaurants flourishing in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, the ever-expanding former industrial area of the city. With John Poiarkoff at the helm, the restaurant presents the perfect mix of modern and traditional recipes.

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On any given night (the menu is edited daily), there are approximately 18 to 20 dishes, informally grouped into starters, handmade pastas and small vegetable and protein plates. It’s evident at first glance that the menu is antistandard by what it lacks: roast chicken, kale salad and burgers…Instead, they will eat an oxtail cappellacci in which land and sea get paired together: the savory notes of the meat-filled pasta purses are further amplified by a briny crab reduction.

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