Borough-ed In

Brooklyn's new guard gets a cookbook

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Every revolution has its moment of critical mass. Brooklyn cuisine's was a few weeks back, when New York magazine pinned The New Brooklyn Cookbook in the most desirable corner of its Approval Matrix–higher up and to the right of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, mind you.

But this new book by Melissa and Brendan Vaughan (she's a recipe developer, he's a GQ editor) isn't some doting missive to the borough's restaurant scene. Rather, it's a clearheaded look at the garlic-scented delta formed by two overlapping eras: the Old Brooklyn (Peter Luger, Nathan's, Di Fara) and the New (The Grocery, Franny's, Roberta's).

The book traces the latter's provenance to November 1998, when Al di Lá opened in Park Slope, and follows the evolution chronologically–restaurant by restaurant, dish by dish–to Vinegar Hill House and its signature cast-iron chicken (click here to download the recipe).

Along the way, the book shares the secrets for making other classics-in-progress–like Franny's chicken-liver crostini, Egg's duck legs and dirty rice and Prime Meats' celery salad–at home. And sprinkled throughout are Q&As with the borough's up-and-coming food artisans, including those behind Mast Bros., Early Bird Granola and Salvatore Bklyn.

Finally, what every Manhattanite has been waiting for: Brooklyn, minus the bridge traffic.