Brooklyn Bound

Alex Reznik aims for Old World comfort at Ditmas Kitchen

A kosher-certified restaurant with mystery meat on the menu? That's pretty bold.

But it's what you should expect from Alex Reznik, the former Top Chef contestant who stood out on the show for his shrewd gamesmanship.

At his latest restaurant, Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktails, Reznik channels his Brooklyn upbringing by combining elements of Eastern European and Jewish cuisine. The resulting food is a much-needed shot in the arm for the staid Pico-Robertson dining scene.

Dishes can be simple as a soft, oversized pretzel ($6), served with potent ground mustard, or as funky as the Dirty Russian Potato ($9) a sloppy assemblage of roasted fingerlings, aioli, house-made Sriracha, cilantro and that mystery meat–made from ground beef and lamb cuts.

"It's a dish that reminds me of my mom," laughs Reznik. "She taught me to use all the leftovers."

Alex Reznik | Ditmas lighting

It's tempting to slide into one of the dark leather booths in the rear dining room for rib-eye steak frites ($27), but we chose to dine in the rustic lounge, where the people-watching is premium (spot a JDate in progress, take a drink).

Hearty snacking is probably the best way to enjoy Ditmas' bounty: the delicate whitefish rillettes ($11) is superb, and the marriage of aggressively spiced corned beef tongue and a hot sauce-circled fried egg ($13) is worth a hearty mazel tov.