Monday, June 3, 2013

Five Types of Iconic Brooklyn Restaurants

Posted on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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The Chef's Table:

Prospect



A recent arrival to a bustling block in Fort Greene, and representing the best of New Brooklyn cuisine, is Prospect, which offers a seasonal, farm-to-table approach to dining in both an innovative and singular way. Whether a diner wants to take a seat at the bar for a perfectly calibrated cocktail or find a perch at the marble chef’s counter to get a front-row seat for what’s going on in the kitchen, there’s no doubt that the food on offer each night will be different than it was the night before. Executive Chef Kyle McClelland (who co-owns Prospect along with Alan Cooper and Stephen Cohen) and chef de cuisine Vinson Petrillo create a new tasting menu each evening based not only on what they come across at the farmer’s market, but by whatever happens to strike that day. McLelland explains, “We wanted to do our own food and we wanted to have fun and enjoy it. This is our life and passion.” The end result is a whimsical yet refined dining experience that includes everything from foie gras with rhubarb and strawberries to peanut butter-stuffed bacon wrapped dates. And what could be more evocative of Brooklyn’s dining scene than Prospect’s reverence for local, seasonal food, combined with a desire to constantly evolve and challenge the culinary status quo? For anyone who wants to enjoy a meal that’s high-concept while still being plate-lickingly good, a visit to Prospect will satisfy your dining needs.

Prospect, 773 Fulton Street

Photo by Nicole Franzen


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The Chef's Table: Prospect
The Chef's Table: Prospect The Chef's Table: Prospect The Chef's Table: Prospect The Chef's Table: Prospect The Chef's Table: Prospect The Chef's Table: Prospect The Chef's Table: Prospect

The Chef's Table: Prospect

By Nicole Franzen

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The Neighborhood Spot:

The Islands



In Brooklyn, there is a glut of destination restaurants—the type that makes people plan what they’re going to order days in advance, the type that everyone is talking about all the time (until they’re not), the type that allows you the opportunity to spend a week’s paycheck on one meal. And then, there are the places where people actually eat—the type where the food is reliably delicious, where you never need to look at a menu, where you know that you can get a filling and flavorful meal in a casual but vibrant setting. Our favorite example of this kind of neighborhood spot is the Islands in Crown Heights. This tiny two-story, Jamaican restaurant emits the mouth-watering aroma of jerk spices and buttery stewed vegetables all up and down Washington Avenue, drawing people from around the neighborhood to its bustling storefront. You can fill yourself on rice and peas, curry vegetables, and oxtail stew for just about $10 and easily feel as sated as if you had eaten at the trendiest restaurant in Williamsburg. There is nothing wrong with the highest of the high-end restaurants that Brooklyn has to offer, but those destinations won’t ever be more than an occasional place to visit. A spot like the Islands quickly becomes a second kitchen, serving up the kind of food that reminds you of childhood, even if your mother never cooked quite this well.

The Islands, 803 Washington Avenue


Photo Crystal Gwyn



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The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands
The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands

The Neighborhood Spot: The Islands

By Crystal Gwyn

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New-Brooklyn Classic:

Franny's



When creating a list of iconic Brooklyn restaurants, a classic pizzeria automatically springs to mind. But instead of the decades-old, slice joints that dot the borough, it’s relative newcomer Franny’s that has come to represent what a Brooklyn pizzeria really is. First opened in 2004 by Francine Stephens and Andrew Steinberg, Franny’s quickly became a staple on Flatbush Avenue, attracting endless crowds of people with its excellent salumi, ever-shifting roster of perfect pastas, and transcendent pizzas—from the classic Margherita to the renowned clam pie, each one is better than the last. And after having spent nine years in the same 32-seat spot in Prospect Heights, Franny’s made the move across Flatbush Avenue this spring, to a space with room for three times as many diners, two wood-burning pizza ovens, and a bigger bar—the perfect place to sample and savor something from Franny’s impressive wine list. So while Franny’s might not fit into some vague notion of a Brooklyn pizzeria with a white-aproned man spinning and flipping dough in his hands, the acrid smell of garlic burning your nostrils, it is representative of what the Brooklyn pizzeria has become. Franny’s is a new classic, and when you watch chef John Adler slide a bubbling, blistered pizza from the oven and onto a plate, any questions about what a Brooklyn pizzeria should be are answered—it’s definitely Franny’s.

Franny's, 348 Flatbush Avenue


Photo Shay Harrington




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New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's
New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's

New-Brooklyn Classic: Franny's

By Shay Harrington

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The Food Truck:

Red Hook Ballfields



We are generally pleased about the food truck explosion that's taken place here in Brooklyn over the past few years. Much of the food is extremely delicious—slightly elevated, or at least expertly rendered, versions of classic comfort foods that are a far cry from the hot dogs and pretzels people have traditionally associated with the streets of New York. There's a small part of us, though, that still wants to complain that they're noisy, that they may or may not take business away from the rent-paying stores and restaurants in front of which their lines form. And also, there's the fact that many among the most recent wave are serving up some of the most over-priced food in a borough that, frankly, is full of it, already.

None of these concerns enter into play at all when it comes to the Red Hook Ball Fields, where, in 1974, Latin American vendors began congregating to sell food to the people who were out watching soccer. Every weekend between spring and fall, the vendors still line up, attracting diverse crowds coming out in search of the affordable, authentic, and high-quality South American fare for which you'd otherwise have to search far and wide.

Red Hook Ballfields, 155 Bay Street


Photo Helena Wolfenson




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Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields
Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields

Food Trucks: Red Hook Ballfields

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Old School Brooklyn:

Ferdinando's Focacceria



Tucked away on a quiet Union Street block on the border of Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, Ferdinando's Focacceria is an old-fashioned Sicilian restaurant that, it seems strangely worth mentioning given recent trends, is not merely old-fashioned but legitimately old.


Since 1904, they've been serving up traditional Sicilian specialties like Vestedda (a sandwich consisting of spleen, ricotta, and grated cheese on a fresh baked roll) and Pasta con Sarde (pasta served with sardines, wild fennel, pine nuts and raisins), as well as the best and biggest rice balls, or Arancina, you'll find anywhere in New York. Filled with spicy chopped meat, peas and just a touch of sauce, it'll set you back a mere $3.50, or $6.50 if you opt for the far more decadent Arancina Special, which is smothered in cheese and tomato sauce.


As soon as you walk through the door, you feel like you're having an important experience, stealing a glimpse of the Old Brooklyn it's becoming increasingly difficult to find and, in some circles, increasingly frowned upon to seek out: for the most cynical and self-loathing among us, the quest for this this type of authenticity can smack of cultural tourism. For the rest of us, it's an invaluable history lesson and one of the best meals our borough has to offer.

Ferdinando's Focacceria, 151 Union Street


Photo by Dan McMahon



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Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria
Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria

Old School Brooklyn: Ferdinando's Focacceria

By Dan McMahon

Click to View 10 slides




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