Sundays are a good thing when you work in hospitality. They’re not the day of Monday dread, or the silent and gray picture painted in a Morrissey tune.
Rather, Sunday is when you go to brunch, check out new bars, hang out with the friends you otherwise never get to see because you’re working. Or so explains Adam Landsman, former chief operating officer of Major Food Group, of the inspiration behind the name of the new Williamsburg restaurant Sunday in Brooklyn that he’s opened with Todd Enany, ex-director of operations at the same group, and chef Jaime Young, former chef de cuisine at the celebrated Atera.
They all came together during a chance meeting at the market. Landsman and Enany were in the planning stages but without a chef, and Young was itching to go out on his own. He proved to be the right man for the job. “We went over to Jaime’s place and told him roughly what the concept was, and he made everything perfect,” Landsman says. “That first time, like eight dishes, which never happens.” Young interjects: “It was definitely ten or twelve.” Regardless of how many were served that day, it’s clear the food—modern American with a strongly innovative current, evident in, say, a carrot and mezcal cake—matches the concept.
The picture of the perfect Sunday is behind the spot’s all-day aspirations. Brunch was just launched, and there will be a market component where you can pick up Young’s house-made pickles or grab coffee. A huge wood-burning oven—leftover from the prior resident, Isa—turns out incredible little loaves of buckwheat sourdough with a hard, oaky crust that’s begging to be torn open by hand. A seasonally driven cocktail bar serves twists on classics. Everything from the warm, wood-and-brick design to the open kitchen to the black-cod pastrami—the current menu’s most popular dish—makes one feel pretty cozy.
Don’t get too attached to anything on that menu, though. Young says it will change “all the time,” and already the Dirty Martini Service where bottled martinis (gin, vodka or tequila) made with house pickle brine are being phased out. Run in, though, for the bowl of crispy Japanese sweet potatoes dressed with green sambal and sesame seeds, and the tender, nut-and-seed-coated honeynut squash or fried sourdough dessert served with beeswax and peach jam. The latter will bring to mind those powdered-sugar-filled bags of carnival zeppoles from when you were a kid, without the intense sugar hangover.
Aside from the food, Sunday in Brooklyn aims to curb waste and forge a path toward sustainability. “I’m not going to tell you I’m the first to do this; I just want to add to the conversation,” says Young, who wants to have a hand in educating people about new ways to use their food and how to better source it in the first place. The concrete steps he’s taking in the kitchen start with what the team is ordering. “We order a ton of black cod here. The skin is delicious; the bones are great for stock,” he explains. “We’re roasting the whole heads now for people who are in the food industry, because it’s kind of tough for a regular eater to eat a whole fish head, but chefs and cooks who come in for dinner are going to love that, so I keep it around for them.”
This approach also helps out the guest: no dish is priced over $30. “I think the fact that we’re focused on minimizing waste and cross-utilizing and using ingredients during different times of day is certainly keeping that price point down,” says Enany.
Now that the restaurant is up and running, everyone on the team is looking forward to spring. “We’ll have everything open; we’ll have some practice under our belt,” says Landsman. Warmer weather will also see their huge front doors swing open and allow for seating in the rooftop garden. And, as Young reminds us, “Spring has amazing produce.”