Ready For Prime Time

Brooklyn's latest star rolls out at its own pace

Most restaurants debut fully formed, festooned in their Sunday best–ready (or, often, not) to lure diners with a display of raw ambition. Prime Meats, the new Carroll Gardens restaurant from the folks behind the Frankies Spuntino restaurants, has taken exactly the opposite approach.

The restaurant opened three months ago as a speakeasy, with paper on the windows and locks on the doors. Customers entered through the Spuntino up the block, snaked back through that courtyard, then through Prime Meats' (still) unfinished kitchen into a warm 19th-century barroom to find a menu of Prohibition-style cocktails.

Last month, the paper came down. Prime Meats is now open from 7 a.m. until the early hours of the morning, serving Ceci-Cela pastries and Stumptown coffee for breakfast and a gently priced Germanic bar menu (with six beers on tap) later in the day. There are house-baked pretzels ($3) with sweet, Düsseldorf-style mustard, salads spiked with Styrian pumpkin-seed oil ($7) and a roster of cured meats and sausages sourced from local vendors ($3 and up).

When the full kitchen opens next month (to be followed by an additional dining room), the menu will start heading in a more American direction, featuring steak tartare by the ounce, hamburgers and more.

But you'll be a regular by then, so getting a table shouldn't be a problem.

Prime Meats, 465 Court St. (at Luquer St.), Brooklyn; 718-254-0327 or frankspm.com