11/14/16 10:07am
Green eggs and ham risotto is one of The Good Fork's signature, playful dishes. Photo: ABRAMS

Green eggs and ham risotto is one of The Good Fork’s signature, playful dishes. Photo: ABRAMS

Sometimes, a restaurant and its location are so intertwined that one seemingly can’t exist without the other. This is the case with The Good Fork in Red Hook.

When The Good Fork opened 10 years ago getting to Red Hook was a serious undertaking. The area was a world away from the rest of Brooklyn; cut off by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the Hugh Carey Tunnel, then known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Buses were infrequent, and there was no Uber, or even an IKEA shuttle or water taxi.

But the neighborhood’s unique, remote feeling appealed to some people, among them Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider, a married couple who moved to Coffey Street in the early 2000s. They opened The Good Fork because they wanted to work together (she was a chef and he was an actor and woodworker) and they wanted to entertain more people than they could in their backyard. He built the restaurant in a rowhouse on Van Brunt Street; she created the seasonally-driven, New American and Asian-influenced menu.

Within a month of opening, they had a rave review in The New York Times. The location, surely, was part of the charm.

In Peter Meehan’s review, talk of Red Hook preceded talk of the food: “What Red Hook needed was a place with an accessible menu that neighborhood folks could rely on and bridge and tunnel folks (that’s you, Manhattanites) could use as an anchor for a night out in the neighborhood. What Red Hook needed, it turns out, was the Good Fork.” (more…)

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12/05/14 9:22am
Cream, a new shop in Bay Ridge, bakes a hot chocolate and marshmallow doughnut. Photo: David Chiu

Cream, a new shop in Bay Ridge, bakes a hot chocolate and marshmallow doughnut. Photo: David Chiu

We’re in it–holiday party season. Whether it’s chatting up your boss at your work party, or charming your significant other’s family over dinner, you’re going to need something to talk about in the coming weeks. Here’s what we’ve been reading lately.

1. It’s a heavy shopping time of the year (check out all our holiday gifting coverage, if you’re still in a buying mood). Some parents, though, have had it with all the toys, clutter and kid junk, and are taking drastic steps toward minimalism, with interesting results.   

2. Remember when there was a huge black market for stolen Tide? Well, baby formula is the new Tide, says Vocative, complete with formula fences and kingpins.

3. Racism, police brutality and the deep flaws in our justice system are THE issues of the day. At The Atlantic, Peter Beinart argues that if Eric Garner, the Staten Island man killed by an NYPD chokehold, had been white, he would now be a Tea Party cause celebre and martyr. Chris Rock told Frank Rich that “racial progress” has nothing to do with black people and everything to do with the gradual decline of white ignorance.  Salon counseled Democrats on how to address systemic racism in a meaningful way, and our own borough president, Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer, took to the pages of The New York Times to explain and condemn the police culture that led to Garner’s death. (more…)

11/03/14 5:59am

Brooklyn and Manhattan are chock-full of medicore Thai takeout joints, but southeast Asian food aficionados know you have to head to Queens spots like SriPraPhai and Ayada if you’re in search of a seriously spicy, authentic Thai meal. We have Pok Pok of course, with its off-the-wall menu, beer slushies and hours-long lines, but that’s a cuisine of its own.

Kao Soy, which recently opened in Red Hook, may not be quite ready to enter the SriPraPhai pantheon yet, but it’s a major step above your standard neighborhood delivery place. The owners are a local couple, Carlos Padillo and Kanlaya Supachana, and much of the menu comes from Supachana’s hometown of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. You’ll find your usual pad see-ew and chicken curries here, but you’ll want to skip those and go straight for the many unusual dishes you’ve probably never tasted if you haven’t been to Thailand (or at least to Woodside). (more…)

09/24/14 5:00pm

Red Hook Winery

Holly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red HookNew York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well. This week she fields a question from Red Hook Winery. 

Hi Holly,

This hasn’t happened recently, but it has happened in the past, and I think it is a growing problem/concern with businesses…the dreaded Yelp review!

As a small business owner, the reviews often feel out of balance or focused on things that can’t always be controlled.  I hear lately how small businesses struggle with this topic.  It seems like consumers tend to write reviews when things are negative, and often they focus on bizarre parts of the experience. There are frequent tangents that may be off base or even just one side of the story.  

Any ideas on how to better address how to deal with Yelp reviews? (more…)

09/11/14 1:33pm

599461_383773011685728_1995640762_nHolly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red HookNew York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well. This week she fields a question from the owners of The Good Fork.

Dear Holly,

We’re working on our marketing strategy and trying to refine the tactics we use.  Part of our strategy includes sending out email newsletters.  Our question to you is how often should a restaurant send out an e-mail blast to its list?  We want to stay in people’s minds but we don’t want to pester them!   (more…)

08/14/14 3:06pm

photo (4) (1)

Holly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red HookNew York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.  Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well. This week, she fields a question from the owners of Home/Made.

Dear Holly,

We have built our business with all of our own resources, and credit, not even a family loan. So, while we know a bit about running our business, we know nothing about partners and investors, and smart ways to structure those relationships, beyond the extreme things we see on TV, like “Shark Tank”!

We realize to grow, or to take on some of the projects we’d like to undertake, we need to consider bringing in funds from another source.

While we know every deal is different, we’d love some advice on standard relationships between “Partners” or “Investors”, and the differences between the two!

Does an investor get paid back, or do they just purchase a percent of the business, for better or worse? Splain us Lucy! How does it work??? (more…)

04/07/14 9:50am

Rabbit cappelacci pasta with mole rojo and masa was a recent dinner menu item. Photo: Grindhaus

Rabbit cappelacci pasta with mole rojo and masa was a recent dinner menu item. Photo: Grindhaus

With the return of warm and sunny weather, day trips to Red Hook are back on your weekend menu, and there’s a new culinary destination worth the trip on the B61. Grindhaus quietly opened back in December, following a delay of more than a year thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Owner Erin Norris, a longtime Red Hook resident, used to sell sausages at the bygone Red Hook Mercado, which explains the restaurant’s sausage-centric name, although the long-in-the-making eatery has shifted focus away from wieners and toward a small, daily-changing menu that includes housemade pasta dishes, fresh-baked breads, interesting salads and creative local seafood options, like a surf clam crudo and striped bass head with coconut, mushroom and brown butter.

Grindhaus has attracted positive buzz based on the strength of some truly beautiful dinner dishes, and last week expanded with a weekend lunch menu.
(more…)

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09/11/13 10:15am
Thu September 12, 2013

Bummed that summer’s almost officially over? Fort Defiance has the cure for your autumnal blues. This Thursday, the Red Hook bar/restaurant is shedding its New Orleans/seasonal-American skin for something a bit more tropical–a tiki night called Forbidden Island. Follow the tiki torches inside for a special food menu, featuring a rotating, thematically appropriate appetizer and entrée (past choices have included crab rangoon, forbidden noodles and pork huli huli); cocktails include twists on classics like the mai tai, zombie and daiquiri, as well as original concoctions. All are reasonably priced–and delicious, with a special mai tai-and-entrée combo running just $24. And the theme doesn’t stop with the food and drink–servers (and many customers) rock their best Hawaiian shirts, and the music wouldn’t be misplaced on a white sandy beach. –CA

08/21/13 8:00am
Mon August 26, 2013
Mondays and Tuesdays you can score $1 oysters and $2 Gansett beers  at Brooklyn Crab, where the view is always free. Credit: Guestofaguest

Mondays and Tuesdays you can score $1 oysters and $2 Gansett beers at Brooklyn Crab, where the view is always free. Credit: Guestofaguest

Like everyone else who was scared off from Brooklyn Crab because they read the reviews that railed on its slow service and steep prices, I didn’t go at all last summer. Yes, I’d heard about the free putt-putt, which in theory could entertain my kids, but in reality–how big of a course could it be? I even read Max Silvestri’s semi-positive review last year and felt my stance soften a little. But it wasn’t until I was in Red Hook on a recent Sunday with family and friends that we decided to give it a try. While waiting (a short while) for our table, we started with pints in the GARGANTUAN free putt-putt and corn hole course–which practically screams “host your birthday here!”–then continued on to the top floor of this fun house, where I had a delicious platter of steamers and ate my son’s fish and chips kids meal (for $5, it’s worth borrowing a kid for an hour!). Throughout brunch, the harbor glimmered in the distance and a delicious breeze blew through the open windows, the kind of summer-y ambience you leave the city for. So sure, there are some pricey items on the menu, but the place is an experience, a very fun experience if you come with the right frame of mind, and you’d be hard-pressed not to enjoy yourself on a Monday or Tuesday when they have $1 oysters (Barcats, from the Chesapeake) and $2 Gansett beers all day and night. The special lasts until October 8, so if you have a birthday that falls on one of those weeknights between now and then, you know where to drag your friends.—N.D.

08/20/13 10:17am

Delayed almost a year by Hurricane Sandy, William Durney is ready to bring his twist on barbecue to Red Hook. Photo: Hometown BBQ

Delayed almost a year by Hurricane Sandy, William Durney is ready to bring his twist on barbecue to Red Hook. Photo: Hometown BBQ

When the floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy receded from Red Hook last fall, it wasn’t just neighborhood favorites like Red Hook Lobster Pound, Bait and Tackle and Fort Defiance that suffered setbacks from the storm. Nearly a year later, a number of restaurants that were weeks away from opening when the storm hit are finally ready to join the area’s once-again thriving food scene.

We learned about the brisket and imminent opening of Hometown BBQ in  yesterday’s Brooklyn BBQ roundup, but what it took owner William Durney to get his eatery up and running is another story in itself. He’s part of a new wave of Red Hook restaurateurs—that includes Erin Norris of Grindhaus, Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross of Court Street Grocers and Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli of Res, an event space and chef’s residency concept that’s still under wraps on Columbia Street—stalled by Sandy but set to open in the next few weeks. (more…)

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