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.

05/25/17 10:50am

It’s that time of year again, when you want to drink your favorite cocktail, spritzer or beer outside. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite places in Brooklyn (and a couple in Queens) for sips in the sunshine.

Coming Soon

Parklife in progress: the brand-new bar and restaurant will be open year-round with indoor seating for 20 and a 4,000-square-foot lot for outdoor eating and drinking. Photo: Parklife

Parklife
Coming soon to 636 Degraw St.
Gowanus
When Julie Kim and Scott Koshnoodi were forced to relocate their beloved Gowanus venue Littlefield because the landlord wouldn’t renew its lease, they not only found a great warehouse around the corner, they got a lot of open space to work with—4,000 square feet to be precise, directly in back of the new Littlefield. When it opens in June, Parklife will become a year-round bar and restaurant featuring Mexican food from the geniuses working the kitchen at El Atoradero in Prospect Heights. Parklife will be most pleasant, of course, in summer, seated at one of the 12 communal tables outside or on a lawn chair, sipping one of their new signature cocktails like a mezcal, jalapeno syrup and citrus blend called Summer Friends or the Fake It Till Ya Make it—a frozen spin on the classic Penicillin cocktail with blended scotch whiskey, lemon ginger honey syrup and a single-malt scotch. The anticipated opening of the new Littlefield is next week, Parklife should follow the second week of June. –Nicole Davis


Rooftops

Rooftop Reds
Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building #275
Open Wednesday through Sunday

Take a friend, or a date, to Rooftop Reds in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and your cred for knowing the most interesting places for a drink will go through the roof–pretty literally. This rooftop spot is a little walk into the Navy Yard, up a few flights of stairs, to a heavenly roof topped with grape vines, hammocks and tables for drinking wine. (That is one caveat to this experience, if you don’t like wine, there’s not a lot here for you, other than the spectacular view of the river and Manhattan.) Order a flight of rosé and then continue with a bottle of whichever one you liked the most. New this year they’ve started a reservation service–you can do it online, even just minutes before you show up, so that when you go through the security booth at the Sand and Navy St. entrance, your name will pop right up and you can enter with zero hassle. –Annaliese Griffin

The view from the Westlight. Photo: @thewilliamvale

Westlight at William Vale
111 N. 12th St. 
Williamsburg

Yes, Westlight was featured in the new season of Master of None, so you know it’s hip. But beyond that, the cocktails are large and stiff, the small plates (under the auspices of Chef Andrew Carmellini) yummy and the views incomparable. Located on top of the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, this spot is the tallest in the area. –Georgia Kral


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05/15/17 9:15pm

Photo: Georgia Kral

We sat closely together at a round table, tucked into the corner of the restaurant on a blustery fall evening. I don’t recall what we talked about, but I know what we ate: burrata, all luscious, creamy and oozing out onto the accompanying pane carasau–Sardinian flatbread–basil and tomato; pappardelle intermingling with mushrooms, garlic and Parmigiano; thick-cut lasagna, its shape more rectangular than square.

I do remember when he pulled out a small box. It contained the ring we’d designed together some months earlier; my sapphire engagement ring, a symbol of our commitment, as delightful and unique as the plates we were devouring.

Yes, this is a story about love and pasta, and a romance oft rekindled at this special restaurant. It’s called River Deli.

Located on one of the most idyllic corners in New York City, the Sardinian restaurant isn’t a deli at all. It’s a trattoria styled for families and lovers, friends and acquaintances. The food is better than good and it’s extremely affordable. You won’t find anything like it in Brooklyn Heights or anywhere else in the city for that matter. (more…)

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05/01/17 9:43am

Photo: Georgia Kral

The roar of the J/M train created a cacophonous riot overhead as I approached the unassuming spot on Broadway near the BQE. But inside the train felt very far away, or maybe I just instantly forgot about everything that came before once I saw the plates being delivered to tables.

There were sopes piled high with meat, shredded lettuce and crema; burritos painted with salsa and more crema; fajitas sizzling from direct cast-iron heat. And there was tequila.

It may be easy to categorize Mexico 2000 as just another Mexican restaurant, but the spot should actually be your new favorite in Brooklyn. Here’s why:

  • There’s a big backyard with comfortable wooden tables, umbrellas and bulb lights strung overhead at night.
  • Delicious and affordable pan-Mexican food.
  • Affordable prices.
  • Free tequila on your birthday (and Cinco de Mayo! This week!)

Sergio Romero, a former server at Delmonico’s Restaurant in Lower Manhattan, opened Mexico 2000 two years ago with Adrian Mejia, the owner of the Mexico 2000 Grocery, located just two doors up the block. The Puebla, Mexico native worked both front and back of the house in the early days. (more…)

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04/17/17 10:54am
Photo: Georgia Kral

Photo: Faun

If you’re a wine drinker then you’ve probably heard some bottles described as “natural wines.” On menus around town from casual pizza spots to special occasion restaurants, natural wines have become wine directors’ darlings, as well as favorites with diners. Here’s what you need to know.

But what is natural wine?

It’s debatable, really. In the past 10 years, just what is natural wine has been a heated topic in certain circles. We like what Eric Asimov, The New York Times wine writer, has to say about it: “I have always considered the lack of a definition of natural wine to be a great strength … It’s an ideal, rather than a set of rules.”

Those underlying ideals include making wine with as little intervention from the winemakers as possible. That means limiting the addition of preservatives (sulfur) and flavors, and allowing each harvest–which, as with all crops, changes from year to year based on any number of factors–to sing its own tune. Many big name wines, whether you’re talking Yellow Tail or Veuve Clicquot, are made to be consistent year to year. Each bottle tastes the same. Natural wine vintages can vary wildly, and that is considered a desirable reflection of the growing season.

Natural winemakers also let the naturally-occurring yeasts act as the agents of fermentation, rather than adding other yeasts.

“You can’t be a natural winemaker if you’re using cultivated yeasts,” said Mike Fadem, co-owner of Ops in Bushwick, which pours from a constantly rotating list of natural wines. “If you’re letting it happen on its own naturally people are afraid it’s less control, or you’re less likely to get the exact same thing every year.”

But not knowing exactly what you’re going to get is part of the excitement, he added.

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04/10/17 10:24am
Elsens Photo: Georgia Kral

Melissa and Emily Elsen grew up in a family food business. Photo: Georgia Kral

In the restaurant industry, partners are essential. One person can’t go it alone for reasons financial, emotional, practical and logistical. But like in any business, having a partner you can trust–and see eye-to-eye with–is crucial to success and often difficult to find. So what happens when you start a business with someone who knows you better than pretty much anyone, who you probably got sent to your room for smacking at some point, and who remembers every moment of every awkward phase you’ve even gone through?

Food businesses owned by sibling partners have a particular style. They choose to run their projects with a family-first ethos where respect for each other, collective decision-making, brutal honesty and reasonable expectations are the guiding principles. In addition to great food, of course. (more…)

03/13/17 9:29am
The beet burger at 61 Local is the work of veggie mastermind, Lukas Volger. Photo: Local 61

The beet burger at 61 Local is the work of veggie mastermind, Lukas Volger. Photo: Local 61

If you eat animal protein, there’s generally little reason (if any) to opt for a veggie burger instead of a luscious patty of ground beef. That said, veggie burgers can be delicious in their own right, if you know where to go, and from David Chang’s so-meaty-it-bleeds veggie burger, to Superiority Burger in the East Village which New York Times food critic Pete Wells referred to as “Shake Shack for vegetarians,” they’re really having a moment. (Cara Nicoletti, a butcher at Foster Sundry in Bushwick just did a video for Vice Munchies on how to make them at home, if you’d prefer to stay in for your veggie fix.)

For the most part, these burgers are best considered as unique food items. A chicken sandwich or a falafel are not the same as a burger, and you wouldn’t hold their lack of beefy heft against them. Same here. We picked six of our favorite veggie burgers in Brooklyn–these sandwiches can stand their own, we promise!

For the beet lover: 61 Local

In Cobble Hill, 61 Local serves up local foods and good vibes. The restaurant’s menu features a delicious and earthy beet burger made with chef Lukas Volger’s special blend. (Volger, a former employee and now the owner of the brand Made by Lukas, developed the recipe while working at 61 Local.) The patty is topped with pickled red onions, miso “mayo,” baby greens and ketchup and served on a ciabatta roll.

61 Bergen St., Cobble Hill


For the milkshake drinker: Dutch Boy

Burgers and milkshakes go together like…fries and ketchup, peanut butter and jelly, pickle juice and whiskey shots. Dutch Boy in Crown Heights is as well known for its spiked milkshakes as it is its burgers and so we had to include them on this list. The veggie burger here is house-made and distinctly simple, but for two reasons we love it. One, it’s served with chipotle aioli, which delivers a heat-packed punch and two, you can (and should) wash it down with a root beer schnapps-spiked milkshake.

766 Franklin Ave., Crown Heights (more…)

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03/06/17 2:18pm
Photo: Georgia Kral

Marie Tribouilloy and Mike Fadem | Photo: Georgia Kral

Good. Simple. Made by thoughtful people. These are the criteria that come into play in nearly every facet of the operation at Ops, from the local, farm-fresh ingredients, to the rotating natural wine list, to the ethos of the place.

Marie Tribouilloy and Mike Fadem opened this petite and homey spot next to Variety Coffee in Bushwick, in October of 2016. It’s quickly become a neighborhood restaurant where locals converge for pizza, salads and meat and cheese plates. The centerpiece is the wood-burning oven, sparkling with colorful blue tiles behind the rustic bar.

The pizza is different at Ops, too. Fadem makes it with sourdough, which he lovingly tends to and feeds twice a day.

“We wanted it to be like a classic pizzeria,” Fadem said. “People can’t get enough of pizza.”

The pair wanted a restaurant that was both welcoming and inviting.

“That’s why we do everything ourselves,” Tribouilloy said. “We have a relationship with the customers. We’re both here and on the floor.” (more…)

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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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