The 10 Best New Brooklyn Restaurants of 2014

12/17/2014 9:20 AM |
Photos by Jane Bruce

 

1. French Louie

It may have taken six years for Ryan Angulo and Doug Crowell to piggyback on the success of their American-French brasserie, Buttermilk Channel, but the Gallic-American French Louie in Boerum Hill was well worth the wait. While the interiors marry Brooklyn’s reclaimed wood aesthetic with the brass and mirrored flourishes that positively scream Parisian bistro, Angulo’s rustic yet refined dishes are just as informed by the French enclaves of North America (i.e., Louisiana and Quebec), as they are by Provençal or Nice.
320 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill

2. Meadowsweet

Who says you can’t go home again? Eight years after helping establish Dressler as a pioneer of the new Brooklyn food movement (as well as become one of the very first borough eateries to receive a Michelin star), chef Polo Dobkin returned to 149 Broadway to headline his very own restaurant, the Mediterranean-inspired Meadowsweet. And if Dobkin continues to serve up outstanding dishes like seafood a la plancha and braised duck pappardelle (complimented by cocktails made with herbs from the ceiling garden, and splendid desserts from pastry chef Jared Rubin), he has every reason to expect a successful repeat visit from Michelin.
149 Broadway, Williamsburg

 

3. Okonomi

What a surprise that Okonomi, the tiny brick-and-mortar follow-up to wildly popular Smorgasburg stand Yuji Ramen, originally had nothing to do with noodles. Granted, it was probably a shrewd business move that chef-owner Yuji Haraguchi recently began serving his signature mazemen during expanded dinner hours, but if you want to try something truly special, stop in for the traditional Ichiju Sansai set meal during breakfast or lunch: essentially, a strikingly spare painters palate of delicate goodies, such as a swirl of tofu-topped greens, a colorful pile of pickles, and an oily length of bluefish.
150 Ainslie Street, Williamsburg

 

4. Emily

Although he first demonstrated his pizza-making prowess at Park Slope’s Brooklyn Central, Emily named after and co-owned by his wife is Matthew Hyland’s real passion project. And while fantastic wood-fired pies (the cheddar curd and sausage-strewn Camp Randall and eponymous, pistachio and honey-slathered Emily in particular) make up the heart of the menu, they’re hardly the only noteworthy items to come out of the blistering oven. Don’t miss the smoky carrots with lentils, zucca pasta with duck ragu, or the mammoth s’mores calzone, which leaks sugary, molten rivers of marshmallow and chocolate.
919 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill

 

Photos by Jane Bruce

 

5. The Runner

Like nearby neighbor Emily, The Runner is also in possession of a crackling wood-burning oven—although you’re more likely to find hulking roasts or whole baked fish inside than pizza or calzones. The sight of those slumping short ribs or burnished chickens, slowly dripping fat onto the flickering flames, fits especially snugly with the restaurant’s 19th-century, “American Heritage” vibe (it was named for line in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, after all), which could easily come across as impossibly, smugly Brooklyn… it’s a testament to the owner’s evident aversion to twee that it doesn’t.
458 Myrtle Avenue, Clinton Hill

 

6. Delaware and Hudson

A year-old, female-run restaurant in Brooklyn? Not generally the stuff that Michelin stars are made of. But even the famously narrow-minded guide book had to give it up to Patti Jackson and her fabulously affordable Williamsburg gem, which pays charming homage to the oft-underappreciated culinary traditions of the Mid-Atlantic. Who knew Buffalo had more going for it than chicken wings and beef on weck? 
135 N 5th Street, Williamsburg

 

7. Bar Chuko

The Chuko team inspired a real ramen renaissance in Brooklyn, and now they’re aiming to do the same for the izakaya—casual Japanese drinking spots featuring skewered meat and small plates. We’re crazy about Bar Chuko’s okonomiyaki—a cabbage and bacon-studded pancake, crowned with gently undulating bonito flakes—and they’re certainly not pulling any punches with their bold yakitori selection, which includes grilled morsels of chicken gizzards, soft knee bone, and chewy, smoky cartilage.
565 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights

 

8. Pacifico’s Fine Foods

Shanna Pacifico spent a good 10 years as Peter Hoffman’s farm-to-table consigliere in Manhattan, so it was a pleasure to see her take center stage in Brooklyn this year, as chef and co-owner of Pacifico’s Fine Foods. And while she occasionally taps into her own Brazilian heritage for inspiration, she’s hardly a slave to traditional fare like ceviche and cheese bread—pork nuggets with jalapeño jam, grilled local porgy with vine beans, and summer squash “pappardelle” are just a few of Pacifico’s standout dishes.
798 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights

 

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9. 2 Duck Goose

Long lacking the caché of other Asian cuisines, such as Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Thai, Chinese food is finally getting its day in the sun. And this four-month-old Gowanus spot arguably makes Brooklyn’s very best fare beyond Sunset Park, including “modern” char siu pork, tomato fondue-slicked paper bag fish, and best of all, a Cantonese duck feast, featuring whole roasted, Crescent Farm-sourced poultry, accompanied by silken tofu, lotus root salad, and wilted seasonal greens.
400 4th Avenue, Gowanus

 

10. Semilla

Brooklyn’s best pop-up, Chez José, is now one of its most remarkable restaurants the veggie-centric East Williamsburg tasting room, Semilla. You won’t miss the meat in José Ramirez-Ruiz and Pam Yung’s exciting sequence of innovative, ingeniously atypical dishes… burdock root, celeriac, and fig leaves have never had it so good. No. 5, 160 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg

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