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New Brooklyn Cuisine


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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 12:18 AM

Although this topic is often discussed here, there isn't a separate thread for it.

As I contemplate trying to have dinnner at Brooklyn Star -- even though chances are I will have to go back to Manhattan to get home from there -- I'd like to post this comment by Wilfrid from the Brooklyn Star thread:

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 18 2010, 05:14 PM) View Post
I usually sign up to the proposition that while there are many good restaurants in Brooklyn, few offer dishes which can't be matched in Manhattan.


I agree with that.

Maybe there are people who don't. It would be interesting to hear.

I'm assuming this is with reference to mainstream restaurants, not ethnic places (which could include American ethnic, like red-sauce Italian). And, in case it isn't covered by the foregoing limitation: as in any discussion of Brooklyn restaurants, Luger's aside.
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#2 nuxvomica

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:23 AM

how come there isn't a place like franny's in manhattan?
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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:04 PM

There is. It's called Otto. It just isn't as good.

Actually, I thought Franny's came closest to the initial post's query. But there are all those pizza places in the EV that I never go to cuz I live up the street from Franny's. For all I know they're roughly equivalent at least pizza-wise, if not in terms of everything else.
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#4 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:07 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Jan 20 2010, 02:04 PM) View Post
There is. It's called Otto. It just isn't as good.


Except, of course, for the desserts.

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#5 Lex

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:03 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Jan 19 2010, 07:18 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 18 2010, 05:14 PM) View Post
I usually sign up to the proposition that while there are many good restaurants in Brooklyn, few offer dishes which can't be matched in Manhattan.


I agree with that.

So do I. Actually, I don't know anybody who doesn't.

That doesn't mean that there haven't been profound changes in the Brooklyn dining scene. When I first moved to brownstone Brooklyn in 1979 there was a total absence of quality restaurants (excluding the Italian places that Sneak mentioned.) When I returned in 1990 the situation wasn't much better.

It's different now. You can dine well in areas like Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope. (OK, I'll throw in Prospect Heights to make Sneak happy.) That said, what we're really talking about are good neighborhood restaurants, not destinations. I expect more improvement as the demographics continue to change. The number of people with more money and more sophisticated tastes keeps growing. Within 10 years I expect it will reach the critical mass necessary to support true destination restaurants.

You know where Brooklyn kicks Manhattan's ass? Beer bars - the kind that sell 20 craft beers on tap.

I was wandering around Willamsburg on Friday night and stopped at Radegast, Iona, Spuyten Duyvil, and the venerable Mugs Ale House. They were in easy walking distance of each other and all were great in their own way. I could have hit 5 more quality places but time and age caught up to me. Park Slope is a distant 2nd but it still boasts Cherry Tree, the 4th Ave. Pub, Beer Table, and the outstanding Pacific Standard. Brooklyn Heights/Borum Hill has Brazen Head, Bar Great Harry, and the grandaddy of them all, the Waterfront Ale House.

We may not have any destination restaurants but when it comes to destination bars, we're loaded.

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#6 Wilfrid

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:14 PM

I went to Brooklyn Star because I read about the pig's tails somewhere. The tripe chili was a surprise. I was reminded of the usual discussion about (mainstream) Brooklyn restaurants - yes, it's good, but why travel for it? - and it struck me that these were dishes were not only very good indeed, but were unique to the restaurant, and would be creating some buzz if they showed up on a Manhattan menu. So Brooklyn Star passed that test, to the extent it's an important one. I tried to explain that the restaurant had some rough edges and inconveniences too.

Rye is a short walk away, I've had cocktails there, and recent reports here are encouraging me to go back for dinner.

#7 Wilfrid

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:18 PM

QUOTE(Lex @ Jan 20 2010, 03:03 PM) View Post
You know where Brooklyn kicks Manhattan's ass? Beer bars - the kind that sell 20 craft beers on tap.

I was wandering around Willamsburg on Friday night and stopped at Radegast, Iona, Spuyten Duyvil, and the venerable Mugs Ale House. They were in easy walking distance of each other and all were great in their own way. I could have hit 5 more quality places but time and age caught up to me. Park Slope is a distant 2nd but it still boasts Cherry Tree, the 4th Ave. Pub, Beer Table, and the outstanding Pacific Standard. Brooklyn Heights/Borum Hill has Brazen Head, Bar Great Harry, and the grandaddy of them all, the Waterfront Ale House.

We may not have any destination restaurants but when it comes to destination bars, we're loaded.


I liked these bars, but I wonder if the comparison with Manhattan is that simple. I suspect Manhattan has as many such bars (perhaps with less character, I admit), just not in such a concentrated area; conversely, I suspect there might be vast tracts of Brooklyn where Bud reigns unchallenged.

The opportunities for bar crawling within Williamsburg itself are indeed impressive.

#8 Peter Creasey

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:28 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Jan 19 2010, 06:18 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 18 2010, 05:14 PM) View Post
I usually sign up to the proposition that while there are many good restaurants in Brooklyn, few offer dishes which can't be matched in Manhattan.


I agree with that.


S, I thought it was said here that Brooklyn had a really good Mexican food place...unlike Manhattan!?!


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#9 Lex

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:36 PM

There are a lot of bars in Manhattan with nice beer selections (Jimmy's 43 comes to mind) but I'm talking specifically about places like Blind Tiger, dba, and the Ginger Man. There. In one sentence I've named the top tier of beer bars in Manhattan. In Brooklyn the list goes on and on and I haven't even begun to talk about the outdoor beer gardens.

I suspect it's demographics at work. Brownstone Brooklyn skews young. The kids may not have the money for fine dining but they have the cash and appreciation for good beer.

Of course I agree with you that eastern Brooklyn is awash in Bud and Coors but then there are plenty of areas of Manhattan that are craft beer deserts. Midtown (with the lonely exception of the Ginger Man), the upper east side, and of course, the upper west side. If you want to find a good craft beer bar you've got to head downtown.

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#10 Sneakeater

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:47 PM

QUOTE(Peter Creasey @ Jan 20 2010, 03:28 PM) View Post
S, I thought it was said here that Brooklyn had a really good Mexican food place...unlike Manhattan!?!


First, Mexican falls into the ethnic carve-out.

Second, Brooklyn has a concentration of good Mexican places, unlike Manhattan. But Manhattan has at least two good ones (Tulcinga del Valle on 10th Ave. and the taco counter in the back of the deli one block north of it) and, really, in the garment center, there are more.
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#11 Wilfrid

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:51 PM

QUOTE(Lex @ Jan 20 2010, 03:36 PM) View Post
There are a lot of bars in Manhattan with nice beer selections (Jimmy's 43 comes to mind) but I'm talking specifically about places like Blind Tiger, dba, and the Ginger Man. There. In one sentence I've named the top tier of beer bars in Manhattan.


The problem is that you named only the top tier. There are plenty of Manhattan bars nobody ever talks about, and which honestly don't have much to recommend them, but do have lengthy beer selections. Croxley Ales on Avenue B, for example. Ever been there? No, and there's no reason to go. Over thirty taps beers though, and countless bottles.

David Copperfield's, Valhalla, Village Pourhouse (and its beer 'program'), Marshall Stack, Rattle & Hum, that dump Peculier Pub, Swift Hibernian, Hop Devil. There are a lot of these places now.

#12 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:58 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 20 2010, 10:51 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Lex @ Jan 20 2010, 03:36 PM) View Post
There are a lot of bars in Manhattan with nice beer selections (Jimmy's 43 comes to mind) but I'm talking specifically about places like Blind Tiger, dba, and the Ginger Man. There. In one sentence I've named the top tier of beer bars in Manhattan.


The problem is that you named only the top tier. There are plenty of Manhattan bars nobody ever talks about, and which honestly don't have much to recommend them, but do have lengthy beer selections. Croxley Ales on Avenue B, for example. Ever been there? No, and there's no reason to go. Over thirty taps beers though, and countless bottles.

David Copperfield's, Valhalla, Village Pourhouse (and its beer 'program'), Marshall Stack, Rattle & Hum, that dump Peculier Pub, Swift Hibernian, Hop Devil. There are a lot of these places now.

Its sort of a weird topic. It always seems to me that some of these places have good beer selections but no one is going there for a beer. Not only that, but their beer selections are sort of by rote "serious beer" lists that some distributor is peddling.

Why not mayo?

#13 Lex

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 20 2010, 10:51 AM) View Post
The problem is that you named only the top tier. There are plenty of Manhattan bars nobody ever talks about, and which honestly don't have much to recommend them, but do have lengthy beer selections.

You mean the game gets a little closer when we include the places that aren't that good?

Brooklyn's starting team is stronger than Manhattan's and the bench is much deeper. When dba, a very good bar, wanted to open a 2nd location they didn't put it on the upper west side. They put it in Brooklyn.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

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#14 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 04:06 PM

QUOTE(Lex @ Jan 20 2010, 10:59 AM) View Post
When dba, a very good bar, wanted to open a 2nd location they didn't put it on the upper west side. They put it in Brooklyn.

More a question of the aesthetic though. also capital needs. There are several bars on Amsterdam in the 70's that have excellent beer lists. George Keeley's has an excellent beer list (not in the distrubutor driven camp I mentioned above) with some interesting beer events - they just did a dogfish head tasting the other day.

But if you looked at the place it seems like pubby sports bar - not a beer bar.

ETA: I mean I love DBA - although almost more for the booze list - especially since they insist on putting american stuff in the beer engines - but the attitude they have towards bathroom cleanliness ain't gonna fly in 80% of manhattan.
Why not mayo?

#15 Lex

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 04:11 PM

QUOTE(Anthony Bonner @ Jan 20 2010, 11:06 AM) View Post
But if you looked at the place it seems like pubby sports bar - not a beer bar.

Yeah, that's the thing. I'm not saying that Manhattan doesn't have very good bars but Brooklyn has a disproportionate number of really good craft beer places.

Maybe it's the hipsters.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"I don't have time to point out all the ways in which you're wrong" - irnscrabblechf52