Kettle Black Kitchen’s maple-braised, bone-in pork shank, a classic French dish that stays in the oven for five hours, is a labor of love. Co-owner Brian Hamilton pauses as he describes how he makes the pan sauce for the restaurant’s signature dish, putting his hand over his chest and exhaling. “I swear, every single time I do it, my heart stops a little because it’s so beautiful,” Hamilton says. “It’s this steaming, beautiful, glistening sauce. I will never, never get tired of that sight.”
After years of working in other people’s restaurants, Hamilton is at home in his new Monroe Street space, which opened for dine-in customers the summer of 2021. At Kettle Black Kitchen, he cooks food inspired by years in the kitchen of his childhood New York home with a French grandmother and a Southern mother from Tennessee. “I was at their knee,” Hamilton says. “Every holiday feast, major dinner, I was always there cooking something.” Fast-forward to today and Kettle Black’s menu reveals Hamilton’s roots with a throughline of rich, country French food and influences from the Southern United States, particularly New Orleans. “It’s my wheelhouse for cooking,” he says.