Georgia Kral

Articles by

Georgia Kral

Georgia Kral is an editor, writer and reporter and a professor of journalism at Saint Peter's University in Jersey City. She covers food for Brooklyn Based and has been published in amNewYork, WNET's MetroFocus, WNYC and The New York Times. A Brooklyn resident for 10 years; she currently lives in Crown Heights with her husband, 1-year-old daughter and cat. Follow her on social media @georgiakral.

02/20/17 9:02am
Come by for a game of shuffleboard. Photo: Georgia Kral

Come by for a game of shuffleboard. Photo: Georgia Kral

Chef Dale Talde and the Three Kings Restaurant Group may have just closed two Brooklyn establishments–Pork Slope and Thistle Hill Tavern–but they haven’t turned their backs on the borough.

Instead, they have opened Atlantic Social, a massive restaurant (130 seats) and sports bar (50 stools) that they hope will appeal to Brooklynites and guests visiting the nearby Barclays Center.

“We want this place to be for the die hard sports fan but also the people who could give two shits,” said Three Kings partner David Massoni. But “at the end of the day, you can’t deny there’s a sports bar element. There are 16 TVs.”

Sixteen televisions, indeed. Atlantic Social also boasts a game room, which Massoni says they are calling “the parlor,” with a shuffleboard table and classic arcade games like Ms. Pan-Man and Big Buck Hunter. There are leather couches and an inviting gas fireplace in the room, too. A pool table is on its way. The game room is open to anyone but can also be rented out for parties.

“We want it to be feel like a friend’s parents’ basement,” Massoni said. (more…)

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02/13/17 10:33am
Jip Bap is a traditional Korean meal. Photo: Mokbar

Jip Bap is a traditional Korean meal. Photo: Mokbar

For Chef Esther Choi, her food is her life. Literally.

Choi, owner and chef at the Chelsea Market Korean ramen shop Mokbar opened a Brooklyn location of the restaurant last Wednesday. And she lives right upstairs.

“I wanted to babysit!” she said.

For a chef whose cooking is heavily inspired by her family and cultural heritage, it makes sense that her home and work life are so entwined.

More jip bap to love. Photo: Mokbar

More jip bap to love. Photo: Mokbar

At Mokbar Brooklyn, which is on Flatbush Avenue near Bergen Street, Choi wanted to show “how I eat at home and how I grew up eating. How my grandma cooked for me everyday.” To that end, the menu expands greatly on the Chelsea Market location with larger dishes and a focus on jipbap–“real, traditional Korean cooking,” she said.

A jipbap order consists of a main dish, usually a protein like short ribs or pork belly, accompanied by soup, rice and a variety of banchan–small, seasonal, vegetable dishes.

“We bring it out in a big tray,” said Choi, excitedly discussing the format of the meal, which she emphasized was created with non-Korean diners in mind. “On the tray we have soup, rice, mains and seasonal small plates that wrap it all together.” (more…)

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02/06/17 11:08am

I know it’s supposed to be 60 degrees on Wednesday, practically outdoor movie weather, but it’s only the beginning of February folks, we’ve got lots more winter to make it through. How do we get the chill out of our bones (and hearts)? Eat. And do it with friends and loved ones.

Here are seven of the the hottest dishes in Brooklyn–served piping hot, swimming in spice or just imbued with that magic so-hot-right-now-sauce. They’ll lift your spirits, stop your nose from running and maybe get your eyes and mouth watering at once.

Making uni and sweet potato pierogies at Olmsted is a labor of love. Photo: @olmstednyc

Making sweet potato and uni pierogies at Olmsted is a labor of love. Photo: @olmstednyc

Sweet potato and uni pierogies at Olmsted

Chef Greg Baxtrom and crew keep hitting the nail on the head with their stylized version of American classics at Olmsted. First came the crab rangoon, which were made with kale, served in a take-out Chinese style box and now the acclaimed Prospect Heights restaurant is making their version of pierogi, filled with the “it” ingredient that just won’t stop: sea urchin. These babies are another fine example of what can happen when high meets home-y.

Olmsted, 659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights (more…)

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01/30/17 12:54pm

gotham market

Fort Greene has hit peak gentrification–there’s a food hall on the ground floor of one of those fancy new apartment buildings clustered near BAM.

Despite how you may feel about the numerous luxury towers dotting the landscape of Downtown Brooklyn (and there are more on the way, along with more food halls), there is little doubt Gotham Market at the Ashland will be a boon to eaters and drinkers.

Local outfit UrbanGlass designed fixtures for the space. Photo: Georgia Kral

Local outfit UrbanGlass designed fixtures for the space. Photo: Georgia Kral

The 16,000 square-foot space is impressively laid out, with different rooms that flow naturally into one another and consistent design elements throughout. It’s modern industrial chic, complemented by warm lighting and pretty glass light fixtures designed locally by UrbanGlass.

“We wanted to honor the neighborhood,” said Chris Jaskiewicz, President of Gotham Properties and Hospitality.

It wouldn't be a Brooklyn food hall without pizza. Photo: Georgia Kral

It wouldn’t be a Brooklyn food hall without brick oven pizza, like these slices from Apizza Regionale. Photo: Georgia Kral

And then there’s the food and drink.

The space is anchored by a central bar called Bar Granger, named for a group of local tradesmen from 1850s-era Fort Greene. It is the first of four concepts at the Ashland from John Stage, the founder of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The others are Flip Bird, Apizza Regionale, which slings very good brick-oven pizza and charcuterie, and Egg at the Bird, a breakfast counter that will open in early spring. (more…)

01/16/17 9:50am
fried rabbit

Why settle for pancakes when you could have fried rabbit and biscuits? Photo: Barano

If you’re anything like me, when you wake up hungry on the weekends you eat something at home fairly soon after rising and then start thinking about LUNCH. Not brunch.

I will always choose Chinese food for breakfast. Thank (insert whomever or whatever you worship here) for dim sum! Don’t get me wrong, I love a fried egg and toast slathered in butter and preserves with a fiery passion. But I can make that myself, at home, at 8 or 9 a.m. in about, 3 minutes?

Sadly for me and the others like me, New York City is a brunchers town. Everyone just loves brunch– though I suspect it’s only a certain group of 20 and 30-somethings who truly partake, and the rest of us are meant to wax nostalgic about the days when we were out until 3am, waking up at 10 or 11 a.m. and wanting food ASAP, preferably with a cocktail on the side.

Not all hope is lost, however. Some restaurants understand that simply putting an egg on top of an entree doesn’t necessarily make it better. And there are always spots that don’t traffic in brunch at all–typically sandwich shops and “ethnic” restaurants. Bless them.

Here are some of those places. And the next time it’s a Saturday or Sunday and you want to eat goddamn food at lunchtime that’s not eggs and bacon or pancakes, thank me. Actually, thank these spots! (more…)

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01/09/17 10:28am
From the outside, The Islands doesn't look like much, but don't make the mistake of passing it by. Photo: Georgia Kral

From the outside, The Islands doesn’t look like much, but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Photo: Georgia Kral

In this series, we take you inside the restaurants we keep going back to–neighborhood spots that always deliver on their promise of good food and hospitality, even if they don’t necessarily look like much from the outside.

The facade is unassuming. Located next door to a Key Food and sharing the grocery store’s awning, you may miss it the first time you look for it. But The Islands (803 Washington Ave.) is a Prospect Heights gem: the food is phenomenal and the ambiance unparalleled.

Windowed doors open into a shoebox-sized room. Along one side is the kitchen, big enough for two people, tops. A counter with three stools abuts the prep area and there’s room for maybe five people to pick up food to go or wait to sit at one of the four tables upstairs. To get to the “dining room” guests must climb up a blue ladder and through a hole in the ceiling. No joke. Diners over six feet tall may have a hard time eating in, as the ceilings are quite low upstairs.

But that’s all part of the charm. The Islands is equally known for its unconventional space and its fiery Caribbean dishes.

I’ve visited The Islands many times and each time I tell myself to try something new. But I just can’t. That’s the true test of a dish. Can’t go without it? Crave it? There’s something happening that you can’t control. My order: jerk chicken, curry vegetables and a side of mac and cheese. If I’m dining with more than one person, curry goat or stew peas and dumplings get added to the mix. (more…)

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01/02/17 10:34am
Photo: Gentl & Hyers

Brooklyn will be home to even more exceptional pie in 2017. Photo: Gentl & Hyers

There’s plenty to be excited for in 2017, dear BB readers, at least as far as your tastebuds are concerned.

Here are some highlights, from the second official location of the best pie shop in the entire city to the reopening of a beloved–and formerly tiny–Vietnamese restaurant, to a new permutation of the fried chicken craze that has had its hold on New York for the past year or so.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

The Elsen sisters are opening their official second location (not including pop-ups and the small sandwich and pie window at the Brooklyn Public Library) in February. Located on Dean Street between Vanderbilt and Carlton, in addition to pie the Prospect Heights 4&20 will also pair beer, wine and cider with its famous salty honey and salted caramel apple slices for diners. It will be open all day, serving coffee in the morning and harder drinks into the afternoon and evening.


(more…)

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12/18/16 9:25pm

The time has come to reflect on 2016. Luckily, I write about food and not politics–this has been a great year for food in Brooklyn. We’ve been graced with openings from renowned chefs, quiet sleeper hits and pizza, pizza, pizza.

I started thinking about this in terms of a “best of” list and quickly realized I wouldn’t get anywhere just thinking about what was “best.” That is both a limiting and tired way of looking at any subject. So here I’ve broken it down into some of my own personal favorite categories (including pizza, burgers and wine) to highlight the real standouts from the past 12 months.


Photo: Olmsted

Photo: Olmsted

Best vibes: Olmsted

Olmsted has been getting so much love from the city’s foodies, critics and well, everyone, that it’s almost like, what do I have to add?

The food is refreshingly clever and yet still accessible. The dishes are pretty to look at and delicious to taste. (Nobody likes carrots that much and yet the carrot crepe is one of the best items on the menu.)

But what Olmsted is really owning is its reputation as a homey, down-to-earth Prospect Heights restaurant. Its well-known and loved edible backyard is now a winter sanctuary complete with heat lamps and Pendleton blankets. To turn the crown jewel of the restaurant into a year-round destination is pretty genius. Who can think of a better way to spend the early days of Trump, which will coincide with the deep days of winter, than in a joy-filled Brooklyn garden, mugs of booze in hand?

659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights  (more…)

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12/04/16 10:14am
Cardiff Giant serves New York State-made beer, wine and liquor. Photo:

Cardiff Giant serves New York State-made beer, wine and liquor. Photo:

There’s a fernet that is distilled in Brooklyn, and you can drink it at Cardiff Giant in Clinton Hill. The bitter, minty, Italian-style digestif, just two months old, launched at this unassuming bar on Myrtle Avenue in a partnership with Industry City Distillery in Sunset Park.

This close relationship between a small business and a craft producer exemplifies the mission at Cardiff Giant. The bar opened last year with an intensely local premise: all the alcohol they stock–from beer to cider to wine to liquor–is made in New York state. And since the majority of craft producers only make small batches, the bar’s inventory is constantly changing giving products like Arcane Fernet a distinct home.

Owner Steven Baird, who is also a managing partner at Owl Farm in Park Slope, said that he saw the growth of New York-produced alcohol and beer as a big opportunity, an expansion that has made Cardiff Giant a viable business.

“This would not have been possible five years ago,” said Baird. (more…)

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11/28/16 12:04pm
Dim sum at dinnertime, anyone? Photo: Levi Miller

Dim sum at dinnertime, anyone? Photo: Levi Miller

Craft cocktails and dim sum don’t usually go together. Yet there I was, drinking an Imperial Mai Tai while enjoying delicate steamed soup dumplings on a recent evening in Williamsburg.

Yes, I was eating dim sum at night. And drinking alcohol. At the same time.

Kings County Imperial opened in 2015 in a compact space just around the corner from Union Pool. Blink, and you’ll miss it. But that would be a real shame for anyone with a passion for Chinese food. The restaurant serves classic Chinese dishes made from high quality ingredients. King’s County Imperial is to most Chinese delivery places as the burger at Diner is to a greasy spoon cheeseburger–the same dishes, but made distinctive by care and quality. The owners, who also operate the neighborhood restaurant Stone Park Cafe in Park Slope, opened Kings County with press-ready selling points like the soy sauce on tap, as well as many cocktails, including that Mai Tai, and Chinese vegetables and herbs grown in the backyard for use in the kitchen. (more…)

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