Places we like: Cadaqués


credit: Marlene Lam

Slip into Cadaqués on a Monday through Wednesday, when easygoing bartender Greg will set an orange peel ablaze to add some sultry to your drink – matching the aura of this dim and gold-lit tapas bar on Grand St. (near Bedford).

Come for $1 oysters and $4 (surprisingly good) sangria during daily happy hours –including weekends. Come for the delightfully smooth Crèma Catalan, complimentary on Wednesdays. Come for the live jazz on Fridays. But really, come for the tapas. This place delivers on exactly what you’re hoping for every time you enter a tapas place – the ability to flirt with a number of dishes, and indulge in an array of satisfying flavors. Try Garlic Shrimp a la Plancha – where garlic is the ultimate trusty sidekick, not an obnoxious hero – with extra bread to exhaust the sauce, or try the Pan con Tomate to sop up your happy hour indulgence of choice.

They’ll tell you all about how “Cadaqués” is the name of a Spanish Mediterranean town where Dalí had a home–they might even show you some pictures at the bar– but if you order right (go with whatever is recommended) you’ll be too distracted to care after your first bite.

More information about Cadaqués in our restaurant guide.

-Ali Gladstone

New bar alert: Rocka Rolla now open in Williamsburg


credit: Gothamist

Rocka Rolla, 486 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg

Rocka Rolla is the latest establishment from the people behind Skinny Dennis. We checked it out last night and its like Skinny Dennis for the classic rock and hair metal set, for those who prefer Van Halen to Merle Haggard. Unfortunately, it won’t have live music like its older brother. That said, it does have food — sausages and fries — which is a plus and an outdoor space with a view. Well, a view of the BQE that is. [Read more...]

A burrito is no place for canned vegetables.

vegallA few weeks ago, I felt a little under the weather  hungover and absolutely craved a burrito. I usually order seamless from Taco Santana when I’m craving Mexican, but I ordered from there earlier that week and didn’t want to be recognized by the delivery man. Just a mere days previous, I was less than nice after having to walk down all three flights of stairs to obtain my torta due to his confusion over the buzzer.

To avoid any sort of confrontation or exercise in my ragged state, I decided to order from El Loco Burrito. It had four stars. A solid rating, so how bad could it be? Turns out Seamless reviews are not to be trusted blindly. After my order arrived, I took a big bite out of the “chili beef burrito.” Lettuce, cheese, tomato, tortilla. Not too disappointing, but not exactly good. Another bite. This time I taste the ground beef. Grey and bland, I can only imagine it was boiled. No flavor and not exactly helping to cure my hangover. I’m thinking to myself that it might magically get better… maybe not all of the beef is that weird grey color. I take one more bite, and I taste… peas and carrots? What? This can’t be! I am so thrown off by this strange combo I decide to dissect the burrito, and yes, there are factory shaped squares of potatoes, soggy carrots and peas that can come from no other than a can of Veg-All mixed vegetables. I REPEAT- VEG-ALL MIXED VEGETABLES! I was forced to eat the stuff as a child, but no more. There is no way I could bring myself to eat this sorry cafeteria lady excuse for a burrito any longer. I mean, how can you possibly mess up a burrito that bad to bring back flashbacks of elementary school lunch? [Read more...]

Another man down- The Brooklyn Ale House closes August 27


I wasn’t even half way finished moving into my Northside apartment when I first sipped a cold one at Brooklyn Ale House. Sad news.

Here is the official statement:

The Brooklyn Ale House under current ownership, is announcing that it will be closing its doors on the 27th of August, 2014.   It’s been an amazing party and one hell of a ride.

From the day Adam’s Grocery was transformed into the “new bar” in 1997, the Brooklyn Ale House has stepped up to the plate and has been serving the locals of Williamsburg, New York City and world drinkers with a fiery passion for fun.  We were often copied but never duplicated, and through it all, you were never on camera.

From the end of the Clinton era, through the horror of 9-11, the Blackout and the gentrification, we never stopped believing in the old neighborhood.  The solid blue collar workers and builders, the firemen, pool and dart players, the rock freaks, art freaks, and freaks in general, along with the new-comers who knew how to behave in a bar and tip properly, we thank you.  You all became family and again, we thank you.  Regardless of complaints about noise, music, or the city laws regarding dogs, we stuck to our guns and continued the party.

The Brooklyn Ale House has always supported a dog’s right to accompany its owner into an adult drinking establishment, even as we paid the fines.  We look to always be remembered as the original “Dog Bar,” with the best free chili cook-offs, fried chicken-offs, corned beef & cabbage and the best Kentucky Derby party in the city.

Sean Connelly, George Wright, Dave Moore and the entire staff of the Brooklyn Ale House, wish to thank you for the incredible highs and lows of the past 17 years.  We maintain that our old-school approach to drinking and running a bar will always be remembered.  The Brooklyn Ale House is expected to reopen under new ownership, in the very near future.  The dog bone will be passed to the new owners, as we all transition and step into a new era.  So for now, enjoy our bar.  Drink and remember all the great times.  Thank you for coming back again & again.  BAH

What are your fondest Brooklyn Ale House memories? Tell us in the comments and stop by BAH for one last cheers.

Blind Barber, Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Have a pastrami taco while you get a haircut

Blind Barber; credit: Vanity Fair

Blind Barber; credit: Vanity Fair

Also, one more reason to make fun of the neighborhood:

Instead of merging an underground bar/club with a couple of barber chairs out front (as they have on the L.E.S.), the Brooklyn shop puts its emphasis on the cuts, fades, shaves, and pomades that gave the company its name. The new space is still dual-purpose, divided between a French-bistro-style coffee-and-sandwich-shop in the front and a spruced-up, well-equipped, though still-macho barbershop in the back. And while the shop’s design and the quality of its offerings are fantastic as always, the scene is defined almost entirely by its employees—a klatch of talented Midwestern-nice hunks who—instead of kicking your ass or mocking your jeans—are exceptionally kind and helpful, providing top-shelf cuts and understated advice to a bizarrely diverse cast of customers.

From their press release:

“When we built the first two Blind Barber locations, we wanted guests to come for a cut and then be able to disappear from their 9-5 in the back for the rest of the night. With Brooklyn, we created a space that customers will also want to visit from the time their day begins,” said Robert Stansell, owner of Emporium Design. [Read more...]

“Professional party guy” opening Bushwick restaurant with permanent Spin the Bottle table

amancays diner

Because drunk, slobbering, college-aged PDA and scrambled eggs go hand-in-hand. And just like that Bushwick became a little bit dumber:

East Williamsburg and Bushwick locals will soon have a place to play Spin the Bottle — all day and all night.

Amancay’s Diner, a 24-hour restaurant and music venue, is set to open at 2 Knickerbocker Ave. next month with what they’re touting as “the world’s first dedicated Spin the Bottle” table, said owner Chang Han, 48.

The table, surrounded on three sides by a red leather booth, will have a bottle secured to the top, like a Lazy Susan, said Han.

“Everybody’s played Spin the Bottle at one time or another,” said Han, who recalled playing the kissing game with four college students every Monday at his closed East Village restaurant Gama.

Playing games at his businesses isn’t new for Han, who said he used to “get drunk with a lot of girls” and bowl with melons inside the grocery and deli he owned for 10 years, St. Mark’s Market.

At Gama, he wrestled with 21-year-olds in a kiddie pool full of jello. (“I was getting my ass kicked,” he said.)…

The neighborhood needed a sit-down place to eat after the bars closed — and a place for its owner to party for a while, he said…

“I’m a professional party guy,” he said with a grin.

Tastes of summer: The Sandwich Shop adds new seasonal items to its menu



At Williamsburg’s The Sandwich Shop summer specials, including salads and sandwiches with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients have been added to the menu.

Popular additions include the Tuna Salad on Brioche  a Penzini family recipe served with arugula, avocado and cucumbers on brioche for $7.75. The Turkey Delight is refreshingly light and is made with  turkey breast, pepperjack cheese, jalapeños, caramelized onions,  and mustard & mayo on brioche for $7.75.  The Jerusalem is delicious and vegan-friendly with house-made artisinal humus, pickled onions & radishes, tomato, cucumber, mesclun, and balsamic vinaigrette on 7 grain bread.

If you’re craving a salad, they have you covered too with the California Dreaming (slow-cooked pulled chicken, avocado, pickled jalapeños, pickled onions, pickled radishes, cotija cheese on a bed of mesclun, with citric vinaigrette.) and the popular Blue Cheese Bacon salad.

Stop by or call for delivery while the specials last.

The Sandwich Shop
658 A Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between Manhattan Ave and Leonard street)
The Sandwich Shop on Seamless, Grubhub, & Eat24

The Chocolate House – Mast Brothers opens space “dedicated to the craft of chocolate beverages”


Um, yum! From their Facebook wall:

We’re thrilled to announce the debut of our first Chocolate House, an establishment dedicated to the craft of chocolate beverages.

Now open at 105A N. 3rd Street in Brooklyn.

And more from Eater:

A tipster sends a photo of the full menu, which includes brewed chocolate, cold brew chocolate and chocolate soda, as well as the more standard chocolate milk. According to a staff member, the first is basically a pour-over made with cacao nibs instead of coffee, while the second similarly involves steeping cocoa nibs to create an unsweetened, tea-like brew.