Husband and wife Tim Oltmans and Micki Schubert opened Jack the Horse Tavern (JtH) in Brooklyn Heights, NY, in 2006 and it has proved the test of time. The lively urban tavern has become a neighborhood favorite and classic gathering place.
The restaurant is the 14-year culmination of planning and hard work and it’s widely known for its upscale American cuisine, refined wine list, sensual cocktails and local craft beers.
Owner Oltmans also doubles as the chef, so you can rest assured his attention to detail and emphasis on a fine dining experience are personal.
He graduated first in his class from the French Culinary Institute in 1992, and started his cooking career with Jean Louis Dumonet at Trois Jean. He also worked with Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern, Laurent Tourondel at C.T., and Floyd Cardoz at Tabla.
His appetizers include a crispy mixed herb polenta for $10 and his celebrated macaroni and cheese. It’s made with smoked Gouda and fontina cheeses over cavatappi pasta for $9. It’s a house favorite.
Entrees run from $16 to $28 and include such dishes as slow braised short ribs with garlic-chive potato purée and roasted Brussels sprouts. Another house favorite is a “Big Bowl of the Best PEI Mussels” with white wine, ginger, shallots, fresh herb French fries and toasted country bread.
For dessert, a sticky toffee pudding with persimmon purée, spiced apricots and farro brittle is a delight for $8.
Manager Ryan Spahn is the cocktail and wine specialist. His classics, priced from $10 to $12, include the JtH Negroni with Plymouth Gin, Carpano Vermouth and Campari and the Old Fashioned, with Barrel Strength Bourbon, brown sugar and bitters. His behind the Knees is made with gin, grapefruit, lime, elderflower and cava.
He also serves a Long Bottom Bramble with vodka, blueberry, lemon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The wine list is curated with glasses from $8 to $11 and bottles from $33 to $105. Selections range from Vouvray, France and San Alejandro, Spain, to U.S. vineyards in St. Helena, Calif. and McMinniville, Ore. He also stocks local wines from the Finger Lakes and Long Island.
The decor features antique clocks on exposed brick walls and banquettes beckoning you with big over-stuffed pillows. Vintage schoolhouse ceiling lights and southwestern sconces brighten the handsome bar and dining rooms. Majestic floor-to-ceiling windows provide a street view.
The wide hickory planked floors, upholstered café chairs, linens and kraft paper place settings and a gorgeous hickory bar top all combine to create the feel of an Old World pub. It draws an eclectic crowd including such luminaries as Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Patrick Stewart, John Lithgow, Marina Karakanedes, Björk and Marty Markowitz.
Local artists’ works are showcased as well as traveling art exhibits Several pieces by celebrated illustrator Mitchell Hooks currently grace the dining room.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, a $29.95 three-course prix fixe is offered. Happy hour is available daily from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with half-priced select cocktails and discounted small plates such as roasted Brussels sprouts and radishes or macaroni and cheese. Sunday brunch at JtH is quite popular.
Jack the Horse Tavern is open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Sunday night supper from 5 to 9 p.m., and Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jack the Horse Tavern
66 Hicks Street
Corner of Cranberry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201