surf globally, pour locally, drink responsibly
September 2013

Now Eat This:
10 Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right Now
By Sara Kay

Blue Bar @ The Famed Algonquin Hotel, New York

The Brooklyn dining scene has seen an on-going reawakening in the past decade, and if you want to be a part of it, now is the time to jump on in and try as many new and established restaurants as possible.

The change of season from Summer to Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only is it a welcome change in wardrobe, which I personally love, it is also a fantastic time of year to get out and try new restaurants! Consider each new restaurant you visit like a new Autumn sweater you haven’t bought yet; warm, inviting and something you need right now.

The Brooklyn dining scene has seen an on-going reawakening in the past decade, and if you want to be a part of it, now is the time to jump on in and try as many new and established restaurants as possible. So for your eating pleasure, in no particular order, here are the restaurants in Brooklyn that you should be dining at right now. Consider yourself a “renaissance” man (or woman).

Franny’s-348 Flatbush Ave

The pizza competition in Brooklyn is fierce nowadays, and while the big hitters like Grimaldi’s, L&B, and Di Fara, (among many, many others) there is most certainly room for new contenders. This is where Franny’s makes it’s glorious debut. This Italian spot in Prospect Heights certainly offers some amazing charcuterie as well as pastas and polentas, but the real shining star is their pizza menu, featuring some pretty incredible toppings, including clams and dandelion greens, and always fresh, tangy and salty buffalo mozzarella.

Dishes to try: salumi plate, chicken liver crostini, pizza with clams, pizza with prosciutto cotto

Melt Kraft-442 9th Street

Food trends have a way of being born in New York City, and by some magical force, the next one on the horizon is one of my favorite sandwich staples: Grilled Cheese. Melt Kraft, a freshly opened artisan grilled cheese restaurant in Park Slope, is brought to Brooklynites by the people at Valley Shepherd creamery, meaning that rich and creamy cheese is top of the line. If you’re expecting your classic grilled cheese from childhood, brace yourself. Unless of course, you used to have your grilled cheese grilled in duck fat, too.

Dishes to try: Valley Thunder, Goat Creme, options to grill in duck fat or bacon

iCi-246 DeKalb Ave

ICi isn’t a new addition to the Brooklyn restaurant scene, but something about French country cuisine seems just perfect for the crisp, chilly weather that is about to be upon as we transition out of Summer. Nestled on a popular restaurant row in Fort Greene, iCi is incredibly seasonal, and even has a garden where it grows produce and fresh herbs. The entree selections are truly fantastic, but I am always drawn straight to their tapas menu, offering several different meat, cheese and vegetable options. If a dish that is bigger than a snack but smaller than a full entree is what you’re craving, this is the section to stick with.

Dishes to try: Pennsylvania Lamb Loin, Cheese Tapas, Charcuterie Tapas, Tartine Tapas

Rose Water-787 Union St.

Rose Water is something of a Park Slope staple, with some of the most notable organic and seasonal offerings in the area. Their menu isn’t pages and pages long, in fact it’s fairly understated, and for that I’m pretty grateful. Whenever eating at Rose Water, I find myself torn between several different menu options, which brings us to the chef’s tasting menu, giving you five courses for $65 a person. If you’re feeling especially daring, which you should, tack on the wine pairing option with each course, and get a taste of everything this place has to offer.

Dishes to try: Baked polenta, Sauteed blackfish, Fried goat cheese

Rucola-190 Dean Street

Classic Italian fare isn’t hard to find in Brooklyn, but a place that offers that type of cuisine with the attention and love that Rucola does, well that is a little more difficult to pinpoint. The charcuterie offerings at this Cobble Hill establishment are worth noting, however my real attraction to this menu lies with their pasta. Homemade and incredibly well-prepared, their pasta dishes aren’t slathered in meats and sauces to the point where the pasta is simply a vehicle; the noodles are the star, and the simple add-ins like tomato pesto and fresh manila clams are the welcome supporting actors.

Dishes to try: Veal Speidini, Spaghetti, Garganelli, Dorade, Sweet Corn

Bark Hot Dogs-474 Bergen St

The hot dog is yet another New York City staple that visitors and residents alike equate to the New York way of life. While most of us are accustomed to the “dirty water dog” carts that sit on every corner of the city, Bark Hot Dogs in Park Slope is very, very different. Bark pork and beef blended dogs, as well as all beef hot dogs and veggie dogs, making for some very interesting combinations when finished off with some of their delicious toppings. Order a classic or NYC dog, or if you’re really looking to push the dog envelope, indulge in a chili cheese dog or veggie dog. Burgers are available as well.

Dishes to try: NYC dog, bacon cheddar dog, veggie dog, Bark burger

PeteZaaz-766 Classon Ave

Pizza is no stranger to Brooklyn. However, the pizza’s at Pete Zaaz pizzeria are a little more, well, strange than what we may be accustomed to as pizza enthusiasts. In this case, however, strange is most definitely a good thing, and if you’re willing to forego your beliefs that anything other than the bare essentials is overkill on a pizza pie, Pete Zaaz should be your next pizza destination. Creme fraiche, chipotle pork and pastrami are just some of the offerings you can bless your pie with, and don’t be afraid to get more than one. Pete Zaaz is not for the faint of heart.

Dishes (pizzas) to try: Baked potato, Pizza de Hawaii, Crunchy Corn Fritter dog, Bark burger

BrisketTown-359 Bedford Ave,

If barbecue all year round is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Briskettown is one of the many restaurants in Brooklyn who can attest to that, bringing people top quality meat on a daily basis. This Williamsburg smoke joint has a fairly cut and dry menu; meats, sides and homemade desserts starting when the doors open, and ending when they run out of food. To ensure that people don’t show up to the restaurant only to be disappointed by there being no food left, Briskettown has a website that you can visit to see how much is left each night.

Dishes to try: their seasonal sides and homemade pies change every day, but it’s best to try them all. And of course, the meat.

Battersby-255 Smith St

It can be difficult to find a restaurant in Brooklyn that is no-nonsense. By that, I mean a place that doesn’t have an over-the-top menu, doesn’t go too crazy with the oils and the unidentifiable greens; somewhere simple and classic. Battersby fits that bill just so, serving up some pretty outstanding dishes without any additional muss and/or fuss. In the mood for a fresh watermelon salad? They’ve got that. Roasted Lobster or Lamb Loin? They’ve got that too. The menu changes daily, so more than one visit is not only expected, it’s a treat to yourself.

Dishes to try: Veal Sweetbreads, Pappardelle, Roasted Lobster, spontaneous tasting menu available upon request

Krescendo-364 Atlantic Ave

Wood-fire pizza ovens are becoming more and more common in Brooklyn pizzerias, but that doesn’t always mean that the pizza coming out is quality. However, the classic as well as unique pies being served at Krescendo are not only some of the best I’ve ever tried, they’re a welcome change from the mushy crust, too heavily topped pies that have made their way into this city as of late. Nancy Puglisi, the brains behind the pizza here, brings her expertise from studying and working in Naples to Cobble Hill, making for some very, very happy pizza lovers.

Dishes (pizzas) to try: Marinara, Finocchio Flower Power, Bianca, Californication

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