Rose’s Bar & Grill
295 Flatbush Ave, Park Slope
It’s odd to think that the now-shuttered Marco’s was too upscale for Park Slope. It’s Park Slope! Home to the very same potential patrons, who’ve never thought twice about spending 20 bucks on pizzas at Franny’s (most of the entrées at Marco’s were mere dollars more; the pastas, dollars less), or stocking their pantries with $30-pound wheels of cheese, $15 logs of salami, and $8 packets of crackers at Bklyn Larder, all owned by the same couple, Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg. So perhaps, the real problem was that the year-old, rustic trattoria simply didn’t stand out enough from its siblings (although, in many aspects, it was our favorite of the three) leading to its lack of profitability, which was the ultimate reason given for recently transforming it into Rose’s Bar and Grill.
They’re certainly not reinventing the wheel with this one, but when you’ve been largely credited with birthing Brooklyn’s dining scene, what more is there to prove? Stephens and Feinberg’s goal was to open “a true neighborhood spot with the kind of honest bar food we love,” and they meant it; no $3-a-pop oysters or tweezer-arranged small plates here. In fact, they don’t serve anything but snacks and booze—including $5 cans of Tecate and $7 steins of Other Half Forever Ever—on Mondays and Tuesdays. As for the rest of the week, food offerings are abbreviated enough to do away with menus completely, with the 10-odd options (three of which are nuts, pickles, and cheese toast) simply scrawled on a chalkboard.
Unless you’re bound and determined to satisfy your daily veggie requirement, it’s hard to get enthusiastic over the crudite platter and its fibrous florets of raw broccoli; the bar salad, a toss of romaine lettuce, cucumbers and chickpeas; or the vegetable plate, an arrangement of sugar snap peas, cabbage and potatoes, sitting on a swipe of garlic mayo. But that’s ok, because you can order a diminutive dish of deep-fried olives instead (hey, they’re green) shot through the center with smoky morsels of fontina cheese and ham, or drag french fries through the mayo dripping off of your hamburger, which other critics have already proclaimed one of the very best in Brooklyn.
An overstatement, in our estimation, especially at a place whose very aim is to be understated; it’s a good burger, on a good bun, with the sole, optional addition of a good slice of cheese. The meat’s good too—although in the twee-free spirit of Rose’s, they don’t bother to list its provenance. If there’s one truly standout dish, it’s the sizzling split pork—a hulking, fat-ringed glimmer of Marco’s—that makes exceptional use of the former restaurant’s shiny, revolving spit.
It’s appealing, easy-going fare, accompanied by modestly priced drinks; all the more satisfying when enjoyed in the cloistered tranquility of Rose’s spacious, ivy-cloaked backyard. Although, this being Park Slope, that idyll is frequently broken by youngsters hopped up on hot fudge sundaes, tossing snowdrifts of shredded paper napkins, or threatening to upend the round, ready-to-tip tables. In that sense, anyway, it looks like Stephens and Feinberg have succeeded and local families have finally found their ultimate neighborhood bar.