We were grabbing some takeout from Choice last night and noticed lights and activity in the long-shuttered storefront at 285 Grand Avenue formerly inhabited by Dakar restaurant. Upon our approach, camera in hand, a very friendly proprietor popped her head out to let us know that they weren’t officially open yet, despite the number of happy-looking diners inside. “The name is Marietta,” a sign in the window informed us, “and we’re a fun-loving American restaurant with Southern influences.” Indeed, a profile already up on Menupages reveals treats like Tennessee Brown Jam Smoked Pork Shoulder and Extra Fancy Memphis Fried Chicken. Great news for Grand Avenue! GMAP
Big news, burger lovers: Grub Street is reporting that Shake Shack, the popular Danny Meyer fast food chain, is planning to open its second Brooklyn location at 170 Flatbush Avenue, just steps from the Barclays Arena. “Our second Brooklyn location will be directly across from the Barclays Center and plant us firmly within walking distance of several neighborhoods from Park Slope to Fort Greene,” said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO, in a press release printed in full below. “New York City is our hometown, and the Shack will be the place where New Yorkers can come together to celebrate the best of Brooklyn’s thriving culture, sports and entertainment.” Any guesses what rent they are paying? In other news, the last Blockbuster in Brooklyn is closing. GMAP
In the most encouraging sign yet that the Clinton Hill stretch of Fulton Street might have a culinary future, a new joint called Three Letters has opened at 930 Fulton Street at the corner of St. James. Eater took note of its opening last week but we only noticed the signage up over the weekend. Helmed by Pip Freeman, formerly of The Grocery, the new spot will be serving up French comfort food like pork bourguignonne and seitan fricasée. Sign us up! Have any readers been yet? GMAP
Grimaldi’s hasn’t suffered from its half-block move last year to 1 Front Street. Crowds still line up mid-morning for its legendary pies. But starting later this month, the famous pizza restaurant will face some stiff competition from its own namesake, when Patsy Grimaldi opens Juliana’s in the old Grimaldi space at 19 Front Street. (A contractor told us the space would be ready to open “in a couple of weeks.”) Today, the New York Post reported the owner of Grimaldi’s has sued Juliana’s to prevent them from firing up the old coal oven, saying it would create “unfair competition.” Will there be enough tourists to go around?
Grimaldi’s Brick Oven Battle [NY Post] GMAP
Popular Stuyvesant Heights restaurant Peaches is opening a café on the corner of Decatur and Lewis, to be called The Pantry. The Southern-food empire now takes up the entire block and includes the original restaurant, a bar that serves food in the old Bread Stuy space, catering, and a private dining room for parties. Meanwhile, farther down Lewis, between Macon and Halsey, the Tin City ice cream and soda fountain has closed. And, as noted at the time by readers in the Forum, Beso bar and restaurant opened in March, serving Latin fusion cuisine such as guava-glazed shrimp with plantains and coconut rice and grilled steak with chimichurri sauce.
A couple of tipsters sent in photos over the weekend of the mural that appeared in recent days on the roll gate at the old Chestnut location at 271 Smith Street. The mural clearly says “Brooklyn Ramen” on it, but there’s another word above it that appears to be “Dassarp.” Any ideas what that might be a reference to? Grub Street had some early intelligence on this. GMAP
Hillside, Vinegar Hill House Spin-Off and Next Door Neighbor, Soft-Opened Last Night and Looks Great
We happened to be having dinner at Vinegar Hill House last night so we inadvertently stumbled across the soft-opening of Hillside, the adjacent wine bar that the Vinegar Hill team has been laboring over seemingly forever (we blogged about the liquor license application just over a year ago and the building renovation as far back as 2009). Whatever they were doing behind the plywood barricades over the past couple of years worked: The corner location (which is about as quaint, Old New York setting as one could imagine) came out beautifully, with a mix of white tiles and wood that manages to look fresh and welcoming at once. Not surprisingly, the wines, from island locales like Corsica and Ischia, are on full display as are the oysters. The menu here is generally smaller in scope and portion than next door (no waddle pork chop to be found) it emphasizes the same creative mix of local and unexpected ingredients. We can’t wait to come back to try it. Grub Street also notes that Hillside will soon be offering doughnuts in the morning and sandwiches at lunch. Hillside is at 70 Hudson Avenue and is closed Mondays. On the jump, a photo of the scene last night as well as a few daytime shots of the interior and exterior.
After ABistro closed its original location at 154 Carlton Avenue, we wrote a blog post about how the charming but small space was up for rent. Local husband-wife team Matthew Hamilton and Po Kutchins had been wanting to open a restaurant of their own in the neighborhood, so when they saw the post they rushed over and won over the landlord. Fast forward six months and their creation, Lulu & Po, opened last week. The menu currently sports seven “Hot Plates,” seven “Cold Plates” and three “Medium Plates” along with four special cocktails and Narragansett on tap. The Local described the food as “New American meets Mediterranean” (grilled octopus, fried anchovies, fresh avocados) and Florence Fabricant called the interior a “tidy, wood-paneled affair.” Anyone been yet? More photos on the jump…
Sam Sifton, whose keen eye for social detail changed restaurant criticism forever in his two-year run as the New York Times chief restaurant critic that ended in October, has posted his Top 10 list of new restaurants for the year. And guess what? There’s not a Brooklyn restaurant on the Brooklyn resident’s (and native’s) list. (This despite a year that Sifton says was defined by an approach that more-or-less originated in Brooklyn: It was a “strong year for smart-casual cooking, the sort of food that takes a lot of work to prepare but is often served by people in untucked shirts and flash sneakers.”) No matter. Only one non-Manhattan spot–Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sechuan in Flushing–made the cut. So what of new Brooklyn restaurants? The Times Top Ten list of cheap restaurants includes both Bed Stuy’s Do or Dine and Williamsburg’s Best Pizza. Over on Eater, Williamsburg managed to attract all the attention, with the blog’s panel of experts giving shout-outs to Isa, Allswell and the made-over St. Anselm. Our favorite meal at a new restaurant in Brooklyn came at the end of the year at the newly opened Walter’s which, in addition to a crowd-pleasing menu, deserves credit for ending the curse of the corner location at Cumberland and Dekalb. Other new Brooklyn names that you think deserve special mention?
It’s Friday and with lots of family dining likely to take place over the next 48 hours this photo from a Child Grows in Brooklyn today seemed timely. Personally, we think young kids should be welcome in restaurants before 8 or so and only if the parents can keep their kids under control. A table full of well-behaved children at an appropriate hour can enhance the atmosphere of a restaurant; badly-behaved kids running amok while self-absorbed parents blithely down their drinks doesn’t. Like most issues (ahem, bicycling) common sense and courtesy carry the day.
Brooklyner Marks the End of Brooklyn Cool [NY Daily News]
Photo via Grub Street
The “foodification” of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens continues. We caught up with Gino this weekend, who was putting the finishing touches on “Gino’s Trattoria Bar and Restaurant,” the expansion of his brick oven pizzeria next door (emphasis his). Gino said the restaurant, at 548 Flatbush Avenue, should be open within the next few days but the liquor license may take another month. The pizzeria, one of three in Brooklyn run by Gino, has been in the neighborhood for 25 years. “The neighborhood is ready for a nice Italian restaurant,” he said.
The Daily News tackles one of those impossible tasks–compiling a list of what they call the best food in Brooklyn. Winners include the Gyro Cart in Bay Ridge, Armando’s in Canarsie and Tom’s (above) in Prospect Heights.
Best of the boros: Food in Brooklyn [Brownstoner]
Photo by little fluffy dots
Brooklyn Restaurant & Bar Openings
Lost City shares this photo of the old Shakespeare’s Sister space (270 Court Street between Butler and Douglass) and reports that the owners of Nectar are taking over: “Our information is that it will be an oyster/beer bar/gastropub. The Nectar people also run Bocca Lupo on Henry Street.” Lost City also has noticed some signs of life in the long-shuttered Bonafide Deli (corner of Henry and Baltic, Cobble Hill) and says, “Now, word comes that a sandwich joint will open there.” … Eater looks inside Roman’s, the “sweet little Italian neighborhood spot” now occupying the old Bonita space in Fort Greene, and also reports that “a new wine bar called Mauzac will be taking over a portion of the space currently occupied by Carol’s Daughter… at 136 DeKalb at Elliott Place.” … Metromix recommends the “Bloody Mary, served in a pint glass and made with Absolut Peppar, fresh-squeezed lime and house-made everything” at the newly opened South in Windsor Terrace… Plus, we’ve got the pre-reno shot of Lucali’s 2 in South Slope, and Eater posted a photo of the newly painted storefront on 6th Avenue and 20th Street.
Two New Brooklyn Beer Gardens
Eater reports that Loreley Williamsburg is in the works: “The uber-crowded LES beer hall and pretzel stop, will open a new Williamsburg beer garden in two to three weeks, just in time for the winter chill to creep in. A rep at the original location reveals that the beer and food menus will be pretty much identical at the new space but it will be a whole lot bigger.” Plus, Clinton Hill Blog has some beer garden gossip: “An anonymous source tells me that someone has been considering opening a beer garden in the building next to the Absolute on Myrtle Ave. Said proprietor is allegedly an experienced beer garden operator.” Anybody got details on this tidbit?
Call for Restaurants of the Day
Yesterday’s Closing Bell comment thread includes a bunch of suggestions for Bay Ridge restaurants to add to the Brownstoner Restaurant Guide, so it looks like we’ll be snacking (and snapping storefront photos) there soon. Got a suggestion for an ROTD we haven’t featured yet? Please leave a comment here!
After the jump: Umi Nom, the Halcyon Gourmet, killer figs in Bensonhurst, Em Thai, and more… (more…)
A reader emailed us last night pointing out that the number of entries in the Restaurants Guide for Bed Stuy is pitifully lowâ€”and she’s right. Of course, the same could be said of some other nabes as well (Sunset Park, for example) and we’re working on that in general. In the meantime, we’d like readers to suggest the next five restaurants in Bed Stuy that we should cover. We’ll take Mrs. B out on a date to the two most popular and report back to you.
The Best of Hot Plates Live
We checked out Metromix’s premiere Hot Plates Live event at the Bell House on Monday night, sampled beer and cheese, ate lots of great food from new Brooklyn restaurants, and wholeheartedly recommend that you check out the next Hot Plates tasting event. (We’ll keep you posted when Metromix plans another.) Our favorite bite of the evening was the Chinese sausage and sticky rice with chili-lime sauce (pictured above) from Umi Nom. We’ve been long-time fans of this dish at Kuma Inn on the LES, so we’re excited that chef King Phojanakong has brought it to Brooklyn. Sui Ren‘s quail egg wrapped in seaweed and maguro was another favorite. We’ll be adding both spots to our restaurant database shortly.
Opening This Week: Mercat Negre
65 Grand St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg; no phone yet
“This sister location of the East Village’s Mercat features an open kitchen in which [Barcelona's chef Oriol Sala] Colomer will cook shareable dishes, such as grilled red mullet with eggplant puree and marinated endives,” says Time Out New York.
No Reservations: NYC Outer Boroughs
In case you missed Tony Bourdain’s recent romp around the boroughs, you can check out all the places he visited on the No Reservations website. We thought it was a pretty solid episode, featuring stops at Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos in Bushwick, East Harbor Seafood Dim-Sum Palace in Sunset Park, and Diner and Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg.
By the end of this week, we will have logged more than 300 review posts into the Restaurants blog since it launched in July 2008. (There are almost 4,000 user reviews so far.) Until this point, the section was not organized in a particularly user-friendly wayâ€”it was more of a bloggy list of reviews than anything particularly utilitarian. All that has changed (hopefully!) as of today. We’ve relaunched the Restaurants section (which you can access through the tab in the upper right-hand corner of the Brownstoner homepage) with a new design aimed at helping readers actually find a restaurant they want to eat at. It’s now much easier to browse and search around neighborhoods, cuisines, reader ratings, etc. So please take a look around and let us know if you have suggestions for ways to improve it in the future. And while you’re there, remember that you can always add a review to any of the restaurants in the database. Bon appÃ©tit!
Photo by Kristen Goode
Return of the Carroll Gardens Empanada Lady
The Empanada Lady has been setting up shop on Sackett and Smith once again, but according to About.com: Brooklyn, “[her] schedule is a tricky one. She and her cart can go missing for weeks at a time. The only way to tell if she’s open for business? Look for her ‘specials of the day’ sign to appear on Smith Street — No sign, no empanada lady.” However, Chowhound pupburger makes her sound more high-tech than that: “According to her website, her hours vary according to her sales, check twitter for updates on her whereabouts.” We can’t find the URL — is this ‘Hound for real?
Catering to “Obsessions with Food and Real Estate”
Brooklyn Laundry is one of those dinner clubs (like the Whisk & Ladle or 4 Course Vegan) where patrons pay ahead to dine with strangers in a secret location. But this one has a twist for those interested in real estate: The dinner parties will be “housed in (among other places) various apartments on the market… Whether you’ll dine in a Madison penthouse or on an Orchard Street rooftop is anyone’s guess,” says Daily Candy. Dinner costs $60 per person (or $80 with wine).
Brooklyn Restaurant and Bar Openings
The Flying Cow, an “eclectic Argentine-style restaurantâ€”part Latin steakhouse, part tapas bar,” is now open at 2 Hope Street (near Roebling Street) in Williamsburg, says Time Out New York… An Eater tipster says that the old Marco Polo Take Out space on Court Street (near Union Street) in Carroll Gardens will soon house a wine bar called Enoteca on Court: “From what we heard the opening date will be around the 3rd week of May… The wine will be international, the food small plates, panini, cheeses and salumi and pizza from the wood-burning oven.” …Clinton Hill Blog notices that Epoca has closed, but some commenters say that a new seafood restaurant is set to open in the space in June… And, finally, TONY reports on the new Bushwick bar, Tandem (236 Troutman St between Knickerbocker and Wilson Aves), where beers are served in ceramic cups that the owner turned on a potter’s wheel.
After the jump: Jacques Torres ice cream, Whiskey Sunday, Totonno’s, Beer Table, a Williamsburg sandwich tour, and Dressler on the big screen… (more…)