Technically, the autumnal equinox doesn’t arrive until September 22, so we still have a chance to wring out the last, loveliest drops of summer here in Brooklyn. It’s prime time to gather up your favorite friends who’ve been scattered all summer and toast a hello to the best season on the planet: Autumn in New York.
#1 Sunset Drinks
While the sun is still setting at a reasonable, after-work hour, head over to Time Out New York Market in Dumbo, take the elevator to the 5th floor, and make your way through the food court throngs to grab a bitter-yet-sweet Negroni. Be prepared to hover on the roof deck until you can snag a table outside — the sunset view will be worth your while.
Pro tip: Even if you’re not one for food courts, keep this spot in mind next time you want to impress a teenage visitor (or any touristy friend). A selfie with Manhattan and the iconic “No sleep til…” sign makes a hard-to-beat backdrop.
#2 Brown Butter Popcorn + Milkshakes
Bar Bete, one of the very best restaurants in Brooklyn, has opened a casual little sibling named Ruthie’s just a few blocks up Smith Street. Named for Chef Marc St Jacques’s daughter, the space has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, a kid’s menu, and elevated versions of easygoing fair. Fresh crab is tucked into the coleslaw, peach milkshakes are enhanced with a light touch of fresh herbs, and addictively delicious brown butter popcorn is kissed with smoked salt.
The burgers are a big draw here, and there are several options on the menu – like horseradish cheddar with sweet pickles, or grilled onion with spicy mustard – ideal for those of us who like to have a go-to restaurant but don’t want the same ol’ burger every time we visit. The simple market salad was the best I’ve had since Zahra Tangorra closed Brucie’s on Court Street years ago (and you know I’m a big salad nerd).
Ruthie’s is gearing up to be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so the menu is ever-expanding. Smith Street has been in dire need of an all-day café, and the only issue I’m foreseeing with Ruthie’s is that I might want to eat here all day, every day.
#3 A Seafood-Centric Day Trip
Nothing celebrates the end of summer quite like a giant tray of seafood, consumed on a breezy waterfront patio. If you’re craving fried clams and broiled lobster, City Island, a fishing neighborhood in the northeastern Bronx, feels like a vacation spot within the five boroughs.
If you’ve got a car, you can probably get to City Island in under an hour on a quiet weekend morning. Public transportation is more of a schlep from Brooklyn, as you’ve got to take the 6 to the end of the line at Pelham Bay Park and then hop on a bus, but sometimes a schlep can be a fun adventure in itself.
Once you’re there, you’ve got plenty of options to eat seafood on the water. We were drawn to the giant lobster mural at Tony’s and it didn’t disappoint. We were even more excited to browse through 239 Play, a vintage toy store with the most satisfyingly organized array of bric-a-brac I’ve ever encountered.
# 4 Find Your New Favorite Spot
‘Tis the season for restaurant openings, and with new boosters coming our way, I’m really hoping my indoor dining anxiety will finally begin to wane. Here are a handful of newly opened spots to add to your September to-visit list:
The Dreamery, pictured above, is one of the cutest spots on this list and is now serving plant-based soft-serve and other vegan treats in Clinton Hill.
Gus’s Chop House, an elegant-yet-neighborhoody steak and chops joint from the Popina folks, is now open in Carroll Gardens. Popina, tucked away on Columbia Street, has long been a hidden gem with warm service and an excellent wine list, so I’ve got a really good feeling about this place.
My favorite take-out of the last year came from Eric Huang’s Pecking House, so I couldn’t be more excited about his 45-seat spot that just opened on Flatbush Avenue, on the border between Park Slope and Prospect Heights. Note: It’s dine-in only for now!
Pearl Street Supper Club in Dumbo is now serving a $125 9-course tasting menu at a ten-seat counter that overlooks the kitchen. Chef Chris Cote, who has spent time at Noma and Aska, puts a fine-dining spin on his native New England cuisine.
Cornbread Farm to Soul, a farm-to-table soul-food chain with locations in Newark and Maplewood, New Jersey, just opened their first Brooklyn location in Crown Heights — and their catering menu looks like a house party just waiting to happen.
Brand new additions to Downtown Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market Hall include Baby’s Buns and Buckets, serving Thai street food, and Essex Squeeze, offering colorful smoothies and acai bowls.
#5 Set a Date for Fall
As the days get shorter, we all need something to look forward to, and I’m intrigued by these spots that have yet to open their doors (and docks). In most cases, opening dates have not been finalized, but I’ve included addresses links wherever possible so you can follow their progress:
High Tide, another boat bar from the Pilot (pictured above) and Grand Banks folks, is coming to Fulton Ferry Landing with rum drinks and seafaring sandwiches. (1 Water St., nr. Old Fulton St.).
The team behind the beloved Manhattan Indian spots Rowdy Rooster and Dhamaka is bringing us Masalawala, a new restaurant and Indian grocery shop to Park Slope. (365 Fifth Ave.)
Winemaker, sommelier and restaurateur André Hueston Mack is opening a seafood spot called Kingfisher in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, near his & Sons ham bar. (505 Rogers Ave.)
Kru, a new restaurant from the Fish Cheeks team, will focus on the dishes served to Thai royalty. It’s set to open very soon in Williamsburg. (190 North 4th St.)
K’Far, another Philly spin-off from Laser Wolf chef Michael Solomonov, is set to open an all-day restaurant in Williamsburg’s Hoxton Hotel lobby this October. Expect bagels, Israeli baked goods and bigger savory plates, like braised lamb. (97 Wythe Ave.)
Japanese broth shop Dashi Okume is coming to 50 Norman, a new Japanese marketplace in Greenpoint. An eight-seat fine-dining counter called House will open later this fall, serving Japanese-French cuisine. (50 Norman Ave.)
Finally, all my witches out there need to know that Black Lagoon, a Halloween pop-up bar is taking over East Williamsburg’s Our Wicked Lady in October. Let the creepiness ensue. (153 Morgan Ave.)