03/13/16 8:41pm
Yes, you can get a Guinness at Hartley's. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Yes, you can get a Guinness at Hartley’s. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Americanized Irish pubs in New York all have the same basic blueprint: giant spaces with loud TVs, greasy fish ‘n’ chips, and an array of faux-vintage “Lovely Day for a Guinness” signs hung on dusty exposed brick walls. When Mike O’Sullivan and Jim Dunn, who worked together at Sláinte in downtown Manhattan for several years, along with Dan Grace, a rugby teammate of O’Sullivan’s from back home in Ireland, opted to open their own pub in Brooklyn, they set out to do something decidedly different. (more…)

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12/01/14 9:15am
The new Sisters, definitely not a hardware store. (Photos: Brendan Spiegel)

The new Sisters, definitely not a hardware store. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

Fulton Street in Clinton Hill has become quite an eating-and-drinking destination recently (see the excellent Emily Pizza and Hops Hill, for starters). And this stretch of Fulton got its flashiest newcomer yet last month in the form of Sisters, which opened in the spot formerly home to Sister’s Community Hardware Store. The new Sisters has no connection to that bygone neighborhood institution, but the bar’s owners retained the well-known local name. (I can’t decide whether it’s a thoughtful homage or tone-deaf offense to open a gentrifying establishment in an old neighborhood spot and repurpose the name…thoughts?) (more…)

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06/30/14 9:09am

It’s been almost exactly a year since we first checked out Splitty, the ’60s camper themed bar in Clinton Hill that took over the space once home to hip dive bar Rope. I was pretty stoked about their pastrami-topped Asian steamed buns and laid-back, kitschy ambiance, so I was excited to see Splitty recently expanded to add a weekend brunch menu.

Tennessee bibimbap (Photo: Brendan Spiegel)

Tennessee bibimbap. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

Brunch at Splitty is a bit tamer than their off-the-wall bao combinations, instead featuring a lineup of wholesome dishes that, keeping with the theme, are named for classic American camping destinations. There’s a Badlands Benedict made with smoked ham; a Big Sur scramble with Asparagus and Emmental cheese; and Acadian granola topped by housemade blueberry-lavender sorbet, fresh berries and Greek yogurt. (more…)

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06/23/14 9:26am

New York has become quite the pizza snob’s paradise lately, what with all the custom-made wood-fired ovens, truffled thin-crusts, and six-week-only ramp-topped pizzas. So perhaps it was only a matter of time until someone opened the ultimate anti-pizza-snob pizzeria. Longtime pizza blogger Adam Kuban (of Slice and Serious Eats) recently turned his hands to making pies, first at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, and now at his own pop-up shop, Margot’s Pizza. For his latest effort, Kuban draws his inspiration not from the trattorias of Naples, but the dive bars of New Jersey.

Kuban’s focus in on “bar pizza,” the type of greasy, thin-crust, beer-soaking pie found at neighborhood bars throughout the Northeast. Places like Star Tavern in Orange, New Jersey; Colony Grill in Stamford, Connecticut; and Lee’s Tavern on Staten Island have drawn loyal followings for their bar pizzas, and Kuban set out to replicate that style. As he describes it, bar pizza should be very thin crusted, decidedly crispy, and well-done but not burned. It resembles a classic New York slice in the focus on lots of mozz and olive oil, but on an almost cracker-like crust. After years of experimentation, Kuban has set up shop at the excellent Emily’s pizzeria in Clinton Hill, whose owners were nice enough to let him sling his bar pies on Saturday afternoons once every few weeks, when the restaurant is normally closed. 

A green pepper and pepperoni clad bar pizza. (Photo: Margot's)

A green pepper and pepperoni clad bar pizza. Photo: Margot’s

Here’s how it works: sign up for Margot’s mailing list to be alerted when the next pop-up will occur. This past Saturday’s debut sold out quickly (I know, I know, you can’t do anything in this town without getting on a waiting list). If you’re lucky enough to nab a seat, $25 gets you one of Emily’s signature salads along with one of four pies: the basic Margo-rita, the truffle-y Funghitown, a classic pepperoni, or the Love Supreme, topped with sausage, diced green pepper, shaved red onion, oregano, and black pepper. The portion size is advertised as “large enough to share but small enough you could house one yourself” and that’s about accurate. (more…)

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01/20/14 9:51am

Farro with lemon, Parmesan and herbs; and roasted carrots with salsa verde buttermilk dressing are among the prepare food options at Peck's (Photo courtesy Peck's)

Farro with lemon, Parmesan and herbs and roasted carrots with salsa verde buttermilk dressing are among the prepared food options at Peck’s. Photo: Peck’s

It’s been twelve years since kosher eatery Ratner’s Restaurant closed on the Lower East Side, where it presided for nearly a century. The original Ratner’s is still lamented among New York’s most missed restaurants, with old-school LES-ers fond of reminiscing about their legendary potato pancakes and blintzes. The site where Ratner’s once stood will soon be home to–what else?–glassy new condos, but a small taste of the original can now be found in Brooklyn.

Theo Peck’s grandfather was the owner of Ratner’s, and Peck grew up hanging out among the lox cases and deli counters of the famed eatery, so he brings a little of that sensibility to his eponymous new food store Peck’s, which opened in Clinton Hill this fall and marked a grand opening last week, along with the debut of Peck’s new prepared food options.

(more…)

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10/07/13 7:00am

Bring your own booze to Grilled artichokes with saffron aioli at Bistro Petit (Photo courtesy Bistro Petit / Todd Barndollar)

Adding on an appetizer like the grilled artichokes with saffron aioli at Bistro Petit feels like less of an indulgence when you bypass the drink bill by bringing your own booze. Photo: Bistro Petit/Todd Barndollar

If you’re a regular reader, you know I like to complain about the Manhattanization of our menu pricing here in Brooklyn. As the local restaurant scene continues to boom, it seems to become harder and harder to find an affordable meal. Plenty of great meals, yes, but with the new normal being checks that come out to $50 per person, we’re always looking for ways to cut corners, one of them being the borough’s few great BYOB restaurants. Especially at an upscale eatery, the ability to bring your own bottle can make the difference between a reasonable check and an outrageous one, which is the reason why these four spots will always be among my favorite standbys since they allow outside alcohol and don’t charge corkage fees for wine. Thanks to reader Cliff Fisch for requesting this story–ask and ye shall receive!

1. Kaz An Nou

The area around Barclays Center is adding generic, mediocre restaurants at a frenetic pace, but this is one that still feels like a secret neighborhood gem. The dark, French bistro atmosphere is paired with an inventive menu influenced by the Caribbean isle of Guadeloupe, where the chef and owner Sebastian Aubert hails from. Dishes like duck confit with mango jerk sauce and lime-poached tilapia over coconut rice are all $20 or less, so paired with your own bottle of wine, that’s about as cheap as you’re gonna get for cuisine this refined. Bonus: The airy back patio has just one long picnic table: a perfect private spot for a birthday dinner, especially since you can bring your own booze and avoid the whole “who had drinks, who didn’t” check-splitting fiasco. (more…)

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