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02/11/15 8:46am
Photo by Jane Bruce

Colandrea New Corner
7201 8th Avenue, Dyker Heights

L3.5-01

Colandrea New Corner is a poster child for restaurant longevity. Family-owned and -operated for over 78 years now, the Dyker Heights stalwart is generally counted amongst Brooklyn’s seminal red sauce palaces, all of which are apparently oblivious to, or just entirely disinterested in, changing times or trends. Of course, hip, nostalgia-plumbing establishments like Carbone would have you believe that red sauce is having a moment, waitstaff donning their maroon tuxedo jackets with a wink and a nod, in order to charge $54 for veal marsala and $15 for broccoli rabe. But why pay such a premium for playacting in Greenwich Village, when you can have the real thing for a song in southwest Brooklyn? (more…)

01/28/15 1:49pm
Photo by Jane Bruce

Hook & Cleaver
68 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint

L1-01

As opposed to monied, meat-loving Manhattan, and with the noted exception of the 125-year-old Peter Luger (currently holding the title of Brooklyn’s longest running restaurant), our borough actually doesn’t have much in the way of traditional, old-school steakhouses. Which is precisely what’s made the recent Greenpoint launch of Hook & Cleaver, an ode to 18th century, boys-only “beefsteak clubs,” seem so refreshingly novel—especially since it was opened by a woman (frequent food TV cheftestant, Diane DiMeo). So while we always wish the best for any new restaurant, we admit we found ourselves actively rooting for this particular concept to succeed, and why it came as a rather rude shock—the forgivable foibles inherent at any neophyte eatery notwithstanding—when our actual dining experience went so actively, so entirely wrong. (more…)

01/14/15 9:30am
Photo by Jane Bruce

 

The Finch
212 Greene Avenue, Clinton Hill

 

Imagine this: It’s a Friday night and you make plans to go out to dinner with your one or two (not five to eight) close friends, preferably at a time when normal, working people generally elect to eat (not 5:30 or 10:30 pm). So, you pick up the phone and you call that much-talked about new restaurant located on the ground floor of a 120-year-old Brooklyn brownstone. You know, the one opened by that Roberta’s alum. You’re successfully able to make a reservation. End scene. Sounds impossible, right? Like a high-flying fantasy? Turns out, The Finch makes this kind of specific-to-Brooklyn dream come true. 

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01/05/15 9:25am
Photo by Melissa Hom

 

Semilla
No. 5, 160 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg

 

$75 can seem an awfully steep price to pay for a meal comprised almost entirely of vegetables; especially if you shop, as we often do, at Chinese supermarkets and are used to spending $2.49 for a bundle of oyster mushrooms and 99 cents for three pounds of bok choy. But when’s the last time you patterned your produce aisle stash into translucent strands of celery tagliatelle or buoyant orbs of burdock arancini slicked with nutty miso?
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12/17/14 9:20am
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

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12/03/14 5:00am
Photo by Jane Bruce

 

Hunger Pang
1021 Church Avenue, Prospect Park South

 

It’s pretty exciting when restaurants open in neighborhoods like Prospect Park South, which, in high contrast to Williamsburg, retains a rather spare selection of options (there’s a pretty decent pizza spot, Wheated, along with the well-liked Am Thai Bistro), but that’s about it. New eateries are generally met with a wave of good will from residents anxious to see an uptick in local dining alternatives, but for the rest of us they inevitably beg the question: Are these trailblazing newcomers notable simply because they exist, or truly worthy of mention outside the neighborhood?

Hunger Pang certainly gets a lot right on paper. Chef/owner Medwin Pang (get it?) is a lifelong resident of the area, who’s amassed quite an impressive culinary resume, working under luminaries such as David Burke, Masaharu Morimoto, and Jean Louis Palladin. And he’s turned his first solo venture, a casual, modern Asian restaurant, into a true family affair, keeping watch over the woks in the kitchen while his wife hosts or tends bar, and his brother handles tables up front.
All definite pluses, when you’re looking to make headway in a close-knit neighborhood such
as this.

Only open for a month so far, Pang is committed to working out the kinks, holding off on launching a website, or officially posting a hard and fast menu. Currently, he’s playing around with six small bites, two rice dishes, three noodles, three mains, and two veg; a Buddha’s Delight and a side of greens with chili garlic butter sauce (meat-free diners have begged Pang to up his vegetarian offerings, which he certainly should, and undoubtedly will). Overall, there are just enough choices to keep things interesting for customers, but limited enough for Pang to ultimately master.

He hasn’t quite gotten there yet. A recent meal proved a real mixed bag, with under-seasoned HP Rolls utterly indistinguishable from cheap Chinese takeout egg rolls, despite the promise of persimmon dipping sauce. We’ve never met a bao we didn’t like, and the version at Hungry Pang is solid, sporting fluffy, chewy mantou made in house. But when it comes to fillings, red-rimmed hunks of pork belly are the only way to go; don’t bother with the grayish wads of chicken confit. We wish the Birds Nest, a tight tumble of fried noodles topped with shrimp, chicken and pork, was plated in a shallower vessel, or at least delivered with instructions by our server; we’d already had one two many bone dry mouthfuls before we discovered the sweet slick of chicken and vegetable “jus” hiding out at the bottom of the bowl. But the one seeming outlier on the menu—a Black Angus Hanger Steak and Miso Butter Fries with negligible Asian influences—seemed to be the centerpiece of everyone’s table and for good reason; the perfectly seared, scarlet hunks of medium rare meat were tender enough to be plucked up with a chopsticks and eaten without a knife, and the skinny, miso-basted fries perfectly underscored the mineral, umami bomb of the beef.

Provided Pang can raise his game on other areas of the menu, it might just be a pan-Asian steak frites well worth traveling for.

09/10/14 4:00am

It’s hard to believe, but after months and months of anticipation and planning, Taste Talks is finally returning to Williamsburg this weekend. And we know you’ve already purchased your all-day passes to the fabulous food festival, right? RIGHT? But if you’ve scanned through the phenomenal schedule of panel discussions, culinary workshops and dinners, you know how exceedingly tough it will be to choose between them all. Which is why we spoke to a handful of participants (as well as a few of our intrepid Northside organizers!) to find out what they’re most looking forward to during this year’s Taste Talks!

Daniel Stedman


Founder of Northside Media Group

What panels/events/dinners are you most looking forward to during Taste Talks this year, and why?
With my own background in publishing, I’m definitely excited for Kerry Diamond’s panel on the future of food magazines. Also really excited to see Lee Tiernan! For dinners, our Mother of Pearl dinner has been years in the making, so I’m thrilled for this to once-and-for-all come together, and for the BBQ, I’m excited to try one of Danny Bowien’s surprise dishes from Mission Chinese and Mission Cantina.

What dish are you most excited to eat?
Grilled Cinnamon Babka sounds like the best dessert I’ve ever heard of in my life! Also boar collar meat from Andy Ricker of Pok Pok sounds insane!

09/10/14 4:00am

For a certain generation of culinary obsessives who are old enough to be put off by the newest wave of flashy Food Network personalities but young enough not to have seen Julia Child pluck that wayward chicken from the floor (or so the rumor goes), Sara Moulton is the ultimate food television celebrity. She was, after all, mentored by Julia herself, and has an on-screen career that goes back almost 20 years, including a starring role on one of the very first shows on the then-fledgling Food Network called Cooking Live.

But even though she’s become a beloved public figure, known for her unfailingly warm and approachable demeanor and charmingly diminutive size (only five feet), Moulton’s passion for teaching and mentoring has been expressed through so much more than just television shows and cookbooks. In fact, she’s a founding member of the now 30-year-old New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, which fosters networking, education, and cooperation for females in the culinary and beverage fields.

That’s why we’re beyond thrilled to have Moulton join us as a panelist for the upcoming Taste Talks discussion, “Big Chefs on the Small Screen: How Food Television Lifted Chefs to Cult Status,” and that she took the time to chat with us here, about her “first 15 minutes of terrible” on the Food Network, the uncertain fate of print publications like Gourmet, and how a jerky boyfriend finally convinced her to go to culinary school. 

11/06/13 4:00am



Photos by Robert Caputo

Poppy Gibson, Bergen Hill

Fatty fondue and overwrought tiki drinks may not have worked for Ravi DeRossi at the Brooklyn branch of the Bourgeois Pig, so he’s gone back to basics with Bergen Hill, serving refined cocktails meant to be paired with pristine fish. This drink mirrors the elements of the beet-cured salmon; made with Aalborg (a caraway-infused spirit), aquavit, cucumber syrup, and Dolin dry vermouth, it’s garnished with house-pickled onions and poppy seeds. 387 Court Street, South Brooklyn

10/23/13 4:00am


Although a few Manhattan media lackeys still insist on throwing shade at
Brooklyn’s dining scene (we’re looking at you, Josh Ozersky!), we remain immensely proud of it. Because where else can you travel from Sicily to Phuket to Oaxaca to the Deep South in the course of one city block? So allow us to honor the borough’s best dishes (at restaurants both old and new) at a wide range of prices, from an 80-cent beef patty at a bakery in Flatbush to a $52 plate of Kiev-style chicken in Williamsburg.