(View photos from the dinner)
Rob Newton, who makes a mean biscuit and knows the difference between a noodled catfish and a farm-raised one, is the chef behind Seersucker, a modern Southern restaurant in the Brooklyn neighborhood, Carroll Gardens. An Arkansas native, he's worked in some of the city's top kitchens and later as a private chef, first for a legendary TV icon then for an Upper East Side financier.
At Sottha Khunn's Le Cirque, he found himself surrounded by truffles, suckling pigs and caviar, a bit different from the humble home fare from his youth. At Floyd Cardoz's Tabla, the tandoori ovens, complex spice mixes, and Danny Meyer's hospitality gospel proved to be a revelation and left a lasting impact on Newton. He also worked as executive chef at the regionally-beloved Simon Pearce restaurant in Vermont.
For years, Newton wanted to open a space where he could serve updates of the Southern staples from his youth and rescue diners from the deep-fried, gravy-smothered purgatory where Southern food resided in the imaginations (not to mention stomachs) of so many. It would be a place where he emphasizes the seasonal and executes dishes with a light hand, while further honing his ideas about hospitality and cuisine. Upon moving to Carroll Gardens in TK, he spotted a location across from the weekly farmers market. It's now the home of Seersucker, the first restaurant he can call his own.
In 2011, he and his partner opened Smith Canteen, a coffee and baked goods spot down the block from Seersucker. His third restaurant in Brooklyn will be a Vietnamese restaurant called Nightingale 9, which is slated to open in early 2013 on the same block in Carroll Gardens.
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