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Good, reasonably priced places in Brooklyn


albionmoonlight
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We are in Brooklyn for a few days and are interested in recommendations for good, reasonably priced restaurants to try, especially for French, Italian, or Chinese food. We are also interested in good bakeries. ("Reasonably priced" means around average for the area.) Specifically, we are in the Bococa neighborhood (around Smith and Court Streets), but recommendations need not focus on that neighborhood. We have already tried (and very much enjoyed) Bar Tarbac and Savoia.

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Some good places in Park Slope are Rosewater (Seasonal American) (Union st. between 5th and 6th ave), Palo Santo (Seasonal South American) (Union St. between 5th and 6th), Al Di La (Italian) (Carroll Street and 4th ave) ... If going to Al Di La check out the wine bar on Carroll street between 4th and 5th around the corner from the main restaurant, it's quieter, nicer, and serves the full restaurant menu. Applewood 11th street between 7th and 8th ave. Char No. 4 in Carroll Gardens... Franny's is also really good... on Flatbush Avenue.

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Okay, so you've been to Savoia. If you're still around on Tues or Wed, go to Chestnut (2 doors from Savoia) for the $30 fixed price dinner. Anything on the menu, 3 courses, all home made, including the bread & ice cream. Best bargain in the neighborhood by far. Go to Atlantic Ave and stop into Sahadi's (between Court/Clinton)... you'll see why when you get inside. There is no good Chinese food in the immediate area but you can take a nice walk (or short ride) over the Bklyn or Manhattan Bridge right into Manhattan's Chinatown. Depending on where you're from and how much you know about good Chinese food, you may like the one on Smith that has big bright Chinese lettering on its front... I cant remember the name. It seems ok, but we're picky and spend a lot of traveling time to eat in Flushing and other locations where the ethnic food is much better. While Savoia is actually one of the places that we like to hang out in, it's mostly because my wife likes to practice her Italian with the staff and the front outdoors is a nice place to sit. For better pizza, Lucali's is on Henry only 6 or so blocks away. Noodle Pudding is a good choice but reasonably far from you, at the end of Henry St. near the Bklyn Bridge... closed Monday. Al di la is excellent if you want to go to Park Slope.... closed Tuesdays. I'm not a Tabac fan, but its a fun hang out place... glad you liked it. There are quite a few French places in the immediate neighborhood, but we dont think much of any of them, although we had an unexpectedly excellent dinner at Provence en Boite (1/2 block from Savoia on the corner). We've had mediocre food there as well so bonne chance.

Waterfront Ale House on Atlantic is an excellent burger, pulled pork, tap beer and hangout bar with surprisingly good food all around. I know you didnt ask for this type of food but...

We're in the neighborhood and I'm on the board enough if you have quick questions. Feel free.

Edited by Steve R. (log)
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We are also interested in good bakeries. 

Court Pastry on Court St. is good for Italian cookies and cannoli. There's an Italian bakery in Bay Ridge that has excellent cookies, but I forget the name of it; it's been a few years since I've been down there.

Also: Downtown Atlantic on Atlantic Ave. has really good cupcakes.

Oh god, I almost forgot: The Chocolate Room on Fifth Ave has the best hot fudge brownie sundae you will ever eat. Seriously. The even know how to make a decent cappucino.

Edited by Moopheus (log)

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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  • 2 weeks later...

The people who started this thread have long gone, but for those still following, I just went to Palo Santo and had an outstanding meal! We had 9+ courses and wine pairings for just over $100pp. The food was incredibly well done, very fresh, their spices often just picked from their rooftop garden. The homemade tortillas and the fish taco were a standout for me. I look forward to going back!

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  • 5 months later...

We can wholeheartedly second the vote for Chestnut -- it and Saul are at the top end of the Smith Street cuisine scene, without doubt.

Only been to Palo Santo once, and the meal was lovely, with the basement setting surprisingly intimate.

Frankie's 457 probably needs no introduction these days, but for those who haven't been, this place has a good formula (food, drinks, setting, service) nailed, it's not surprising it's so popular and the Franks' empire is spreading.

The unsung hero of Cobble Hill? Hibino, tucked away on Henry down the block from the much-hyped new Henry Public. Hibino serves sushi that's a cut above other neighborhood spots, but the real winner is the ever-changing array of home-style Osaka dishes like braised pork belly, eggplant in daishi stock, and homemade (still warm) tofu, all excellent, cheap, and rarely found elsewhere. The slightly formal Osaka vibe may be initially off-putting but the staff are very welcoming and professional.

Any thoughts/votes on dinner tonight at Applewood in Park Slope, or Buttermilk Channel?

"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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like blizzard854, i too recommend char no. 4. great whiskey list too. a group of us recently had an amazing meal at diner. stellar food, fun staff, reasonably priced. we got a lot of love from the kitchen and ended up trying the entire menu, including all the desserts. the staff even ran next door to marlow & sons (sister restaurant that gets a lot of attention) to get us complimentary shots of espresso. henry's end is another good option. solid food, interesting selection of domestic wines. roberta's might be a hike from where you are, but it's finally starting to get some much deserved recognition. well worth the trip, especially if you have a car.

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I would tell you to check out places like Yelp and especially Mouthfulsfood.com for Brooklyn suggestions. I have found a lot of knowledgeable people over there. Not much in terms of action on Egullet's NY Boards. Certainly very good cooking tips though.

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, several of us Brooklynites who are also Mouthfulsfood.com members thank you for the vote of confidence. We're everywhere... even on the Outer Borough board on Chowhound. :laugh:

At any rate, I wanted to chime in that I agree with Yojimbo about Hibino... I dont go there anywhere near enough. I'd also like to know if you went to Applewood or Buttermilk Channel that night and what you thought. It's too late for me to steer you but I will say that I appreciate Applewood but it's not my cup of chai. We go to Buttermilk Channel pretty regularly and it's a great middle range place... I still prefer Redhead (E.Village) but it's not tooooo far behind (and much closer to home) when I want good fried chicken and a very friendly place with a decent bar.

Edited by Steve R. (log)
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  • 3 months later...

Dropped by Pies n Thighs in their (new-ish) Williamsburg digs. The main room is pretty tiny, but there's more space in the back, including some outdoor tables and a covered dining room with big doors to the outside.

PiesnThighs-backroom.jpg

It was pretty warm and humid the day we were there, and I think the only cooling plan is to open the windows and doors and turn on some fans, but then, there's something about eating fried chicken and pie that makes a bit of heat seem appropriate...

PiesnThighs-menu-2.jpg

We got a couple of the "Chicken Box" combos, each of which were 3 pieces of chicken, a good biscuit, and a side. Ironically, I'm not sure we got any thighs...

PiesnThighs-Chcken-2.jpg

The chicken was very good: it's juicy, even the breasts, presumably from brining, and the light, crisp coating wasn't too battery, and had a good level of seasoning. The coleslaw was chopped finer than I usually like it, but was very tasty. The watermelon and cucumber salad was awesome.

PiesnThighs-WatermelonSalad.jpg

PiesnThighs-PieMenu.jpg

We were a little sad that they'd run out of the Lemon Blackberry pie, but we consoled ourselves with:

Apple

PiesnThighs-ApplePie.jpg

and Rhubarb

PiesnThighs-RhubarbPie.jpg

The apple was rather assertively cinnamon-y, but I still liked it quite a lot. The rhubarb was really great. Nice flaky crust on both. We've heard some recommendations for the banana cream pie...

It's only that they are closed briefly, between 4 and 5, that we didn't get chicken to go on our way out the next day... But we'll definitely be dropping be here again for more chicken, and especially more pie. Plus, it's dangerously close to Dram, where there are seductive cocktails...

Pies n Thighs

166 S.4th Street (at Driggs)

Brooklyn NY 11211

http://piesnthighs.com/

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Despite being stuffed with chicken and pie (and ramen from not much earlier) we had a powerful jones for Franny's pizza. So we hopped a cab and made it over to Flatbush Ave just in time for... uugh... a long wait. But we finally squeezed into the bar. After rhubarb pie at Pies n Thighs,it seemed like fate to have a rhubarb-based cocktail: The Rhubarb Bridge, with rhubarb juice, vodka and Aperol.

Frannies-RhubarbCocktail.jpg

While at the bar, we got a couple of small plates to hold us over...

Wood roasted pork sausage with braised garlic scapes

Frannies-Sausage.jpg

Freaking awesome.

Sugar snap peas with herbs

Frannies-SnapPeas.jpg

So simple, so delicious. I could eat this every day, as long as the peas are ripe.

Head cheese

Frannies-Headcheese.jpg

Very good, especially with the grilled bread.

When a table opened up, we got the pizzas we'd been craving:

Tomato, garlic oregano, titone olive oil.

Frannies-MarinaraPizza.jpg

Tomato, Basil Buffalo Mozz

Frannies-MargheritaPizza2.jpg

They were both excellent, but this place has really taught me to love minimal, no-cheese pies.

I know that not everyone agrees, and that's fine, it means more for me, but I love this crust.

Despite being on the verge of exploding, some refreshing chocolate sorbet.

Frannies-ChocSorbet.jpg

This is so intense and satisfying that it makes me start to wonder why one would bother with ice cream or gelato. Who'd have guessed Franny's would make me start avoiding dairy products? Or at least not craving them...

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Sunday morning (OK, afternoon...) we headed over to Egg, lured largely by Col. Bill Newsom's country ham. There was an intimidatingly long waiting list for a table, but I'm glad we stuck it out. It turns out that a large percentage of the people ahead of us on the list had either given up or wandered off, so what was looking like an hour wait turned into about 10 minutes.

It's a pretty minimal space, with very basic tables and folding chairs. The ceiling fans were not really accomplishing much in the fight against heat and humidity, but, much like at Pies n Thighs, it somehow seemed appropriate to be sweating a bit while eating this very down-home food.

On each table were two crispy cruller/beignet donut-ish thingies. They're a nice accompaniment to perusing the menu, and would probably be great with a cup of coffee, but a hot beverage was the last thing on my mind at that moment, as we were already wilting from the ambient temperature. A bracing glass of Gruner Veltliner hit the spot.

Egg-Cruller.jpg

There's a lot of good-looking stuff on the weekend menu which made it very hard to narrow down. The place IS called Egg, so I was glad that my friend decided to get some basic eggs, in this case scrambled, with country sausage and some crazy deep-fried hash browns.

Egg-Eggs.jpg

There's no milk or cream in the eggs, but they were the creamiest, richest scrambled eggs I've ever tasted. I'm not sure where they're sourcing their eggs, they have a farm that provides many of their products, but I don't think they're raising chickens, at least not yet. But wherever they're from, they're quite good.

The sausage was a little bit spicy, and pretty good, but I couldn't help thinking that it could use a little more herbal something... The potatoes were quite good.

We'd gotten a recommendation for the pancakes, and watching a few plates go by sealed the deal. The waitress offered to add strawberries, which turned out to be incredibly vivid, perfectly ripe little flavor bombs. Add some good quality, real maple syrup, and you have a great plate of pancakes - light, tender, flavorful.

Egg-Pancakes.jpg

All that really needed was some salty pork. A side of country ham from Kentucky would probably have been sufficient, but hey, bacon sounded good too. There's also candied bacon, which is a strong concept, and will have to be examined next time.

Egg-HamBacon.jpg

I had to laugh when my dining partner declared that the ham stunk! That wasn't a complaint about poor quality, just an observation that country ham indeed is stinky, funky, cheesey-smelling stuff. Wow, it's strong tasting, very salty, and quite delicious. The bacon was very good too, but the ham kind of stole the show.

All in all, a really good breakfast. The servers were very friendly and helpful, in fact everyone seemed quite cheerful, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure it was 150 degrees in there. I'm very much looking forward to going back, but maybe on a cooler day. I don't think they're an air-conditioning kind of place, so I'll wait for a more temperate day, but I'll go back for sure.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 1 month later...

Finding ourselves in Brooklyn on s sunny, temperate (for a change) Saturday afternoon, Roberta's seemed like the place to be.

Started with Cocktails:

Robertas-Cocktails.jpg

Summer Bummer, American Nightmare, Boston Tea Party

Yes, that's a muddled snap pea in the Boston Tea Party.

Robertas-DuckProsciutto.jpg

Duck Prosciutto, Candied Olives, Purslane.

Robertas-CornSalad.jpg

Corn Salad, Nduja, Scallions

Both starters were excellent - the balance of flavors in each was impressive. There was actually generous amount of spicy, rich sausage hidden in that pile of corn, which lent a perfect balance to the sweet kernels.

There were some very attractive-sounding entrées, but Roberta's is famous for pizza, so we felt obliged to try some.

Robertas-SausagePizza.jpg

That's a "Millenium Falco" with a slight alteration to allow our dairy-avoiding friend to enjoy it: we just left the parmigiano off, amidst the tomato, pork sausage, onion, garlic, basic and breadcrumbs. Might have been even better with the salty richness of the cheese, but it was pretty tasty as we had it (once we moved the basil around a little!)

Then we concocted another one, based on a "Rosso", with just tomato, oregano and garlic, to which we piled-on sopressata, onion and mushroom. Delicious.

Robertas-SopresataPizza.jpg

The crusts are nicely charred, perhaps a little more bready and rustic than most of the neo-Neapolitan places, but with great flavor and chew. They're making good use of the wood-burning oven in the main room.

Robertas-Oven.jpg

It's great to sit out back on a nice day, there are communal picnic tables for eating, a tent adjacent to the outdoor bar, and thankfully no evidence of the bees they're keeping...

We liked it a lot, I'm eager to go back for more pizza, and to try some of the main dishes too.

Roberta's

261 Moore Street

Brooklyn, NY 11206-3816

(718) 417-1118

robertaspizza.com

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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We'd been curious about a new-ish place called Mile End, serving traditional Montreal Smoked Meat (and if you're lucky, or order-ahead, Bagels shipped from Montreal.) Partisans for Montreal's smoked meat insist it's even tastier than the best pastrami, so we had to see for ourselves.

So?

MileEnd-SmokedMeatPlatter.jpg

It's pretty damn good... This particular platter of meat wasn't quite as moist and juicy and internally unctuous as the best pastrami I've had from Katz's, but the one member of our party who has been to Schwartz's in Montreal remembered too late that his revelatory experience there flowed from an order of extra-fatty meat - we just ordered a platter here, with no instructions to go nuts with the fat if they wanted. As you can see, there's some, and it lent a good measure of moisture, but it's possible that they had something even richer if we'd asked.

I'm going to hedge and say that Pastrami and Smoked Meat are actually different things - the smokiness of this meat was quite awesome, lending a distinctive flavor that's quite different from the typical NY deli style pastrami. The smaller slices from the thinner end, obscured in this photo, had both impressive smoke flavor and a strong spice component that was very impressive.

If I only had time to go either Katz's or here: OK, it's probably still Katz's for me, but I'd pause and consider this place. FWIW, this platter costs about as much as one sandwich at Katz's. And the rye bread is pretty good. I wouldn't mind some caraway seeds, but...

As a bonus, they also have a pressed (grilled) salami sandwich on an onion roll. There's an extra charge for leaving off the mustard, but why would you?

MileEnd-SalamiSandwich.jpg

This was also very good, I especially liked how the roll's onions got all toasty.

Pickles were a little weird, kind of sweet...

MileEnd-Pickles.jpg

The slaw was pretty good though, just basic red cabbage in a vinaigrette.

MileEnd-Slaw.jpg

Their Poutine looked really good, but we'd just come from another meal, so we decided to leave that for next time. Which I hope will not be too long from now.

Oh, and they serve Labatt's.

Mile End

97a Hoyt Street, Brooklyn

718.852.7510

www.mileendbrooklyn.com/

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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You said: "I'm going to hedge and say that Pastrami and Smoked Meat are actually different things - the smokiness of this meat was quite awesome, lending a distinctive flavor that's quite different from the typical NY deli style pastrami. The smaller slices from the thinner end, obscured in this photo, had both impressive smoke flavor and a strong spice component that was very impressive.

If I only had time to go either Katz's or here: OK, it's probably still Katz's for me, but I'd pause and consider this place."

I couldnt agree more. Exactly how I felt. Not quite apples and oranges but maybe tangerines and oranges. I still prefer Katz' but I'll eat here any day.

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