234 Court St, Cobble Hill
Brucie is the kind of Italian restaurant with broad and undeniable appeal, doing justice to tagliatelli and lasagna while making parents and kids alike feel right at home.
2. Van Horn Sandwich Bar
231 Court St, Cobble Hill
Jacob Van Horn opened a restaurant serving sandwiches inspired by his home state of North Carolina, and hired a chef who’s worked at Roberta’s and the Commodore. There’s a backyard, an impressive bar, and lots of expertly marinated meat sandwiched between slices of specially designed bread.
127 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn Heights
Colonie boasts an indoor herb garden, a theatrical open kitchen and a flexible menu for romance at all prices. But it also has the warmth of a community gathering space—indoor stroller parking at weekend brunch, cheese from Red Hook, bread from Roberta’s.
691 Sixth Ave, Sunset Park
Giuseppina’s looks just like a New York pizzeria should: exposed brick, pressed-tin ceilings and hardwood floors. The scene and ambience are straight out of a Woody Allen movie, and owner Mark Iacono (who also owns the Carroll Gardens favorite Lucali) has legitimate Brooklyn cred.
5. Brooklyn Star
593 Lorimer St, Williamsburg
Joaquin Baca’s back, after a fire ruined the first Brooklyn Star—this time in a much larger space, and the food is as good as it ever was. Baca, a Texas native, takes his meatloaf sandwiches, shrimp and grits and chicken-fried steak very seriously. The large, heart-stopping portions are friendly on the wallet, too.
548 Court St, Carroll Gardens
Dubuque purportedly stands for “Down Under the BQE,” which doesn’t quite add up. The quality and creativity of the burgers, however, is not perplexing in the least. Contents range from chorizo to truffled mushrooms and the vegetarian options, side dishes and desserts are equally enticing.
7. Shelsky’s Smoked Fish
251 Smith St, Boerum Hill
Shelsky’s will knock the gefilte-phobia out of even best Catholic schoolboy. They make a sick smoked fish sandwich. The pastrami sandwich, interestingly made from house-cured pastrami salmon sliced and piled on pumpernickel, is a must-try, and the Brooklyn Transplant includes fatty kipped salmon, apple horseradish, and pickled herring salad.
331 Fifth Ave, Park Slope
Culture’s sublimely nourishing frozen yogurt—made from low-fat, hormone- and antibiotic-free milk from Upstate New York—is technically very healthy but sure to ignite many dangerously passionate addictions. With an eclectic smattering of topping choices, there might not be a limit to this love.
190 Dean St, Boerum Hill
Rucola has a convivial, neighborhood feel perfect for large gatherings and intimate dates alike. The Northern Italian fare is sophisticated and well executed, ranging from house-made pasta to cod over a stew of tomatoes, chickpeas and mussels. The cocktails are nuanced and delicious, as well.
288 Third Ave, Gowanus
None of the seafood at Littleneck disappoints. The clams are as juicy as if they’d been lifted from the sea and placed directly into the fryer; the oyster selection is equally compelling. The sides are pitch-perfect—complexly flavored pickles, mignonette and tangy cocktail sauce. With a well-curated tap list and a charming nautical interior, Littleneck is a delightfully unsuspecting spot just off the banks of the Gowanus Canal.