October in Brooklyn brings loads of new restaurants, cozy new menu items, and perfect outdoor eating weather, but at my house, after two and a half years of avoiding Covid, my family finally fell victim to its wrath. I’ve been caregiving instead of fall-feasting, but I’ve got a long list of new spots, fall specials, and autumnal sweets that I’m dying to try. Plus, I’ve got a hot tip on the local frozen food company that will come to your rescue, should a plague fall upon your apartment, too.
Stock your freezer like a chef
Ipsa Provisions, headquartered on Frost Street in Williamsburg, will change the way you think about frozen meals. Ipsa puts great ingredients in dishes that are made to reheat without fuss, like a warming kimchi stew with rich grass-fed brisket, crisp-tender bok choy, and chewy, bias-cut ovals of Korean rice cakes. No mushy vegetables. No little baggies of portioned ingredients. No rush to consume the food because it can sit in your freezer until you need it. Bonus: Clear instructions on every package and they deliver throughout NYC. Full disclosure: Before I got sick, the folks at Ipsa sent me some food to potentially review here, and having a freezer full of hearty, easy-prep, deeply flavorful food was a total godsend when the exhaustion set in.
Ipsa just launched a new line of kid-friendly fare (pictured above) in collaboration with Kid’s Table, including a few items that I think should be a staple of any grown-up fridge. The tasty, crunchy-crusted za’atar chicken tenders were wasted on my picky children but made an excellent salad topper for me. My kids loved the bite-sized, yummy, doughy pepperoni pizza cups, which would also make an elevated late-night snack, like a pizza pocket for a pizza snob. They also offer super-delicious frozen pizzas from Pies Upstairs, the pandemic-born pizza business based out of a Crown Heights apartment that generated a thousand-person wait list. Besides stocking my own fridge, I’m looking forward to gifting some frozen food to friends going through rough times.
Pan De Muertos and more Brooklyn sweets I wish to eat
The sweets menu seems to be ever-changing at LoHi, a rooftop bar in Bushwick/East Williamsburg, and I’ve been wanting to check it out since I got wind of their Bee Sting Cake (pictured above) made with honey-roasted almonds, pastry creme, and fresh honeycomb. Their heated outdoor space seems perfect this time of year, and I’m also curious about their Surf & Turf Satay (prosciutto wrapped tiger shrimp, honey-Mezcal glaze, aioli; yes, please).
My fall dessert must-try roster also includes New Yorkina’s Pan De Muertos, an orange-blossom-scented, sugar-topped Dia De Los Muertos tradition. A chocolate version with Mexican chocolate chunks and cinnamon-sugar topping is also available. Pre-order it now for delivery or pick-up at their Red Hook shop.
Also, I’ve been meaning to get back to Victor to check out their new drinkable dessert, a Banana Russian made with banana-infused dark rum, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, Pinhook Rye, and banana milk. Sounds like a boozy take on the incredible banana milk coffee served at Mirror Tea House around the corner.
Food news: Sunday roasts at Gus’s, Diwali with Malai + more
You can brunch anywhere, but where can you get a Sunday roast in Brooklyn? Gus’s Chop House in Carroll Gardens is now serving their take on the hearty British midday feast (pictured above). Their Sunday lunch-through-supper menu features rotating roasts (think lamp rump with mint salsa verde or beef prime rib with horseradish) plus a spread of sides including market vegetables and a skillet popover.
In other Brooklyn food news, Malai is gearing up for a Diwali party at their Smith Street ice cream shop. If you’re throwing your own shindig, they’ve also got a Diwali Celebration Box available for in-store pick-up or for nationwide shipping through Goldbelly.
A few blocks up Smith Street, Ruthie’s started serving their rotating weekly entrees, and the Wednesday night fried chicken was crisp, juicy, and crazy delicious! Thursday pasta night is looking pretty good, too.
October Brooklyn restaurant openings
I’m so glad to see new Korean spots popping up all over. Atti is serving Korean barbecue in Downtown Brooklyn, a friend just told me about a location of the Korean hot pot chain KPOT near City Point, and I spotted signage for Big Norm (pictured above, on a narrow storefront with a mail tag for Mill Korean) at 251 Smith Street.
A new karaoke bar and Thai restaurant called Act One has opened in the old Pok Pok space on Columbia Street.
Seafood and soul spot Black Nile has moved from Crown Heights to Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
And finally, Mazzola Bakery in Carroll Gardens, home to the city’s best lard bread and the finest corner to eavesdrop on the neighborhood’s Italian-American elders (pictured below), has reopened its location on the corner of Union and Henry after a long period of construction.