The place is still waiting for a liquor license, but bar and restaurant Fort Defiance has opened up for business on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook. There's even a flag hanging out front, so you know it's ready. Proprietor St. John Frizell told us last month that he plans to serve cask beer and unfussy, solid cocktails once the license comes through. For the time being, however, the restaurant has eased into its morning routine: a menu of Counter Culture coffee drinks, pastries from Park Slope's Colson Patisserie, and a few sandwiches. The kitchen is small and accordingly, the menu is being kept to five items or less by chef Sam Fiorino a Good Fork alum. It includes a painstakingly researched, Central Grocery-style muffuletta sandwich for $9.
Frizell designed the restaurant to evoke some of his favorite places he visited on assignment as a food writer, particularly the far-flung former haunts of Charles H. Baker Jr., a bon vivant writer who was the subject of an exhaustive, Frizell-penned Oxford American profile last year. Frizell said last month that he intends Fort Defiance to become a casual neighborhood spot that doesn't draw too much intention to itself, "the type of place you can get a coffee in the morning. Then you can get a glass of wine and maybe a bite to eat later on in the evening.”
Fort Defiance // 365 Van Brunt Street // Red Hook