Roberta’s new takeout restaurant now serving breakfast to go

robertas-bakery

Credit: Adam Kuban

Morgan stoppers are gonna be blissed out about this. Now they can grab bagels in the AM and still stop by later for a pizza on the run:

The bakers are offering everything bagels schmeared with cream cheese, plus parfaits, off-menu bialys, and an egg sandwich similar to the one on offer in the restaurant. Back in the days when Melissa Weller was baking for Roberta’s, the restaurant was offering some standout bagels, but they disappeared when Weller left to work on her own project with the Torrisi boys. It’s unclear if these newbies are made from the same recipe. [Read more...]

Slick Willie – now open in Greenpoint

slick-willie

Slick Willie
179 Meserole Ave in Greenpoint
718-389-0090

A new restaurant has finally opened on a quiet block in Greenpoint called Slick Willie. Named for a Greenpoint-born bank robber, Willie Sutton, the cafe boasts menu categories like Solitary Confinement, Hiding Out For a While and On the Run. We can’t wait to try the Contraband burger. For now, they’re only open for lunch and dinner, but as a chalkboard above the bar boasts: “Dinner and bar when prohibition is over: Full liquor, beer coming soon…” [Read more...]

North Brooklyn gets lots of love in Village Voice’s Best of 2014

Taqueria Izucar, credit Serious Eats

Village Voice’s best of New York issue is out and not surprisingly North Brooklyn has lots of bar and restaurant mentions — and oversights. (No love for Roberta’s?) Some of its choices we find a bit odd, but hey, we’re happy to see Peter Pan, St. Anselm and Taqueria Izucar get some love. Here’s their ‘bests’ from Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg:

BUSHWICK

Best Ethiopian Restaurant
Bunna Café

While Bunna Café might seem like a Brooklyn cliché (it serves vegan Ethiopian food next to a vacant lot in Bushwick, after all), Ethiopian cuisine has long held vegetarian and vegan dishes in its repertoire thanks to extended fasting periods imposed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Chef Kedija Srage cooks up a colorful array of meatless wots and tibs served alone or as part of combination platters arranged on top of injera. (Bunna’s take on the porous sourdough flatbread is fluffier and less sour than its peers’.) Ethiopian beers and honey wine are available, and cocktails — like the Pushkin, a White Russian made with Ethiopian coffee and toasted sunflower milk — are particularly inspired. The righteous brewed beans are roasted throughout the day and served espresso-style. Srage and café owners Sam Saverance and Liyuw Ayalew have also carved out time four nights a week to perform a traditional coffee ceremony, where an audience observes the roasting process and drinks the results.

Best Cuban Sandwich
Cafetería La Mejor

Find the intersection of Suydam and Wilson in Bushwick, and we guarantee you won’t miss Cafetería La Mejor — its façade is hued turquoise and magenta, so fluorescent we suspect you can see it from space. The place turns out a limited menu of Cuban coffees, a handful of sandwiches, and pastries; grab a counter seat or sashay up to the window and order the sandwich cubano. You’ll get a knock-out classic rendition: roasted pork, ham, swiss, and pickles stacked in generous — but not off-balance — quantities on that white Cuban bread slicked with grainy mustard. The whole thing goes into a press until the cheese is melted and the exterior toasted. We’ll admit we raised an eyebrow when we read the menu description declaring that our sandwich would arrive “eggshell crisp,” but that descriptor proved exactly right, providing an immensely satisfying crackly foil to the hearty filling within.

Best Vegetarian Deli
Hana Natural

Hana Natural is actually a grocery store, and its main purpose is to provide Bushwick with organic and natural products. But it also houses a deli, offering its customers a huge selection of sandwiches, including a list of vegetarian options so numerous, it puts other vegetarian restaurants to shame. Many of these are creative re-creations of popular carnivorous sammies, the meat swapped out for fake meat and then laden with fresh vegetables, cheese, and various condiments. In particular, the deli makes a mean veggie BLT, exchanging bacon for veggie bacon, which is made of soy. Or try the tofu Reuben, which uses grilled tofu in lieu of corned beef. [Read more...]

Le Fanfare – new Italian restaurant with live jazz opens in Greenpoint

Le Fanfare

Le Fanfare; credit Greenpointers

There have been lots of new restaurant openings in Greenpoint of late including Esme and Le Fond. Now we can add Le Fanfare to the list, which opened quietly at the beginning of September:

The team behind NoLita’s Epistrophy Cafe brings homemade pasta, fresh seafood and other timeless Italian fare to this charming spot on Greenpoint’s main drag. Jazzy live acts perform on a tiny stage at the back of the narrow space decked out with checkered floors, communal tables and a small bar.

Greenpointers paid them a visit:

The cocktail list is short and classic, with drinks around $11, and the bar is comfortable and pleasantly backlit by a clouded mirror studded with star-like lights. … Seating beyond the bar falls into three categories: long communal tables, small marble two-tops built in along the wall, and exceptionally nice semi-separated marble-topped booths built for four….

Le Fanfare is a fantastic space in which to spend an evening. I do have some reservations about the food, which perhaps I judge harshly because every other aspect of the experience was so finely tuned and because certain dishes – that white bean dip, good god, I’m considering going there for some right now – compelled me to keep going back for another taste. I hope that, given a chance to break in and find their stride, Le Fanfare becomes a top choice for the neighborhood on nights that we want to spend sitting comfortably and living well.

Le Fanfare is open Tuesday through Saturday 5:30pm – 1:00am and Sunday 5:30 pm – 12:00 with live jazz Wednesday – Saturday.

Le Fanfare
1103 Manhattan Avenue 

New York, New York 11222
347-987-4244
website

Arrogant Swine opens tonight with live music, free tattoos and boobs

arrogant-swine

Arrogant Swine, Credit Scott Lynch

After teasing us for months, Tyson Ho’s whole-hog, North Carolina-style BBQ joint and beer garden is finally opening tonight in Bushwick. (We refuse to call it East Williamsbug.) The opening party will be a carnival of silliness featuring live music, free tattoos and boobs.

Bushwick Burlesque will be performing, as will musician and Bushwick resident Reverend Vince Anderson. Some artists who work with the Bushwick Collective will be on hand to finish up their murals. A representative from Founders Brewing Co. will be there with giveaways.

And an artist from Gnostic Tattoo, a parlor at 1089 Flushing Ave., will offer a free tattoo, featuring a pig, for those who are interested. There will be three options for the tattoos, which will range from “mild” to “slightly racy” to “oh my God,” Ho said.

“I haven’t looked at them yet,” he said. “I believe heavily in allowing artists to have full creative bandwidth.”

Here’s how Ho describes his 3,000 square foot beer hall:

The Arrogant Swine is an American Beer Hall nestled in the quaint little artistic village of Bushwick in Brooklyn. Bushwick is an enchanted land filled with dancing gnomes & frilocking nymphs. [Read more...]

Places we like: Lighthouse

credit: Marlene Lam

credit: Marlene Lam

Go to Lighthouse and eat the ceviche. It’s the best ceviche I’ve had in NYC. The small cuts of fatty salmon and avocado, fresh tomatoes, and a tinge of the right spice, served with crunchy (not crispy) corn chips are blissful.

Admittedly, the ceviche may be a bit different depending on when you go – the restaurant focuses on seasonal ingredients, evident in the freshness of the food. The mussels (which in the world at large are hit or miss) were a Hit-Sink in their coconut lemongrass broth – good enough to eat past your fill. (I did, because there were many, for those of you concerned with portion size.) [Read more...]

Forrest Point – beautiful new bar & restaurant now open in Bushwick

forrest-point

Forrest Point is at 970 Flushing Avenue, not far from the Morgan stop and Jefftown. It’s from the same people who run 983 Bushwick, which is across the street. Gothamist paid them a visit and was impressed:

First and foremost: the fantastic outdoor seating area, boasting room for 70 imbibers on chairs, benches and even swings and couches. We may be nearing the end of the al fresco season, but the on-site fruit trees still have their greenery, amplified by hanging ferns and quaint strings of incandescent bulbs. The design is by Emporium Design (Boulton & Watts, Blind Barber), and the Forrest Point team also enlisted Art Battles’ Ben Angotti to add some dramatic murals to the facade, including a gorgeous elephant and some borough-appropriate plaid. Then there’s the bright fluorescent sign perched atop the building, like a beacon drawing you in to a whimsical jungle bar.

Inside, seating for 60 more beneath birdcage lamps and an industrial, unfinished ceiling. Matching isn’t high on the list of priorities here; stools of all shapes and sizes ring the perimeter, tables of varying sizes offer more places to perch. The bar doles out glasses of milk punch ($9)—a cocktail variety gaining popularity among serious cocktail dens like Midtown’s Betony—as easily as it does shot-and-beer specials. The eclectic food menu spans Tuna Tartare Tacos ($12) to Chicken Fried Oysters ($14), Porchetta Sandwiches ($8) to Shwarma Style Chicken Flatbread ($11).

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Here’s the menu: [Read more...]

Northside restaurant update: openings, closings and four Michelin stars

le-fond

Le Fond, credit: Urban Daddy

First, the bad news. Free Williamsburg favorite Potlikker has shuttered. Maybe it was the prices — they could be a tad spendy– but we loved the food and vibe. We hope Liza Queen (who previously ran Queen’s Hideaway in Greenpoint) finds a new home. We miss her food already.

The generally well-received Potlikker on Williamsburg’s Southside appears to be closed for good. The phone number for the Bedford Avenue restaurant is disconnected, Open Table is no longer facilitating reservations, the establishment was locked up tight over the weekend, and the reliable neighborhood Thai restaurant Khao Sarn has announced plans to relocate into the space in November.
Liza Queen, a talented chef and restaurateur known for her trailblazing Greenpoint restaurant Queen’s Hideaway, opened Potlikker in 2012 with high hopes and a 14 year lease. The reviews were mostly positive, though some felt the menu was overpriced. (It wasn’t cheap.) Queen has not responded to our email requesting comment about the closure, but this hilariously strange Yelp review suggests Potlikker’s been closed since July.

Le Fond, a so-called “Neo Bistro” (whatever the hell that means) is now open in Greenpoint. You can take a peek at their menu here. Urban Daddy has more pictures and we can’t wait to try it. Greenpointers was impressed:

The menu features good-looking starters such as marinated mussels with white beans, tomato confit and fennel, and rabbit terrine with apple mustard, hazelnuts and toast. Mains include a daube de bouef with red wine glazed vegetables, and hake with sherry caper vinaigrette and black lentils. There’s also a griddled burger with dill relish and French fries if you’re in line for something a little more American.
When I visited at the weekend I tried the skate with carrot browned butter puree, fennel and lemon parsley sauce. It was superb, with the anise flavor of the fennel playing deliciously against the sweet carrot and the slightly salty, perfectly cooked skate wings. I also had a beautifully moist almond cake with poached pears and a salted caramel sauce.

In other news, four Northside restaurants were awarded Michelin stars! [Read more...]