01/30/17 12:54pm

gotham market

Fort Greene has hit peak gentrification–there’s a food hall on the ground floor of one of those fancy new apartment buildings clustered near BAM.

Despite how you may feel about the numerous luxury towers dotting the landscape of Downtown Brooklyn (and there are more on the way, along with more food halls), there is little doubt Gotham Market at the Ashland will be a boon to eaters and drinkers.

Local outfit UrbanGlass designed fixtures for the space. Photo: Georgia Kral

Local outfit UrbanGlass designed fixtures for the space. Photo: Georgia Kral

The 16,000 square-foot space is impressively laid out, with different rooms that flow naturally into one another and consistent design elements throughout. It’s modern industrial chic, complemented by warm lighting and pretty glass light fixtures designed locally by UrbanGlass.

“We wanted to honor the neighborhood,” said Chris Jaskiewicz, President of Gotham Properties and Hospitality.

It wouldn't be a Brooklyn food hall without pizza. Photo: Georgia Kral

It wouldn’t be a Brooklyn food hall without brick oven pizza, like these slices from Apizza Regionale. Photo: Georgia Kral

And then there’s the food and drink.

The space is anchored by a central bar called Bar Granger, named for a group of local tradesmen from 1850s-era Fort Greene. It is the first of four concepts at the Ashland from John Stage, the founder of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The others are Flip Bird, Apizza Regionale, which slings very good brick-oven pizza and charcuterie, and Egg at the Bird, a breakfast counter that will open in early spring. (more…)

10/22/15 1:00pm
Kristen Wiig and Sebastian Silva star in "Nasty Baby."

Kristen Wiig and Sebastian Silva star in “Nasty Baby.”

Going into Nasty Baby, the new sort-of-comedy from Sebastián Silva, I was under the assumption, based on a short press release I had read, that I was about to watch Baby Mama crossed with Modern Family, with maybe a splash of faux seriousness, a la Silver Linings Playbook, but starring Kristen Wiig. Nope. Not at all, not even close. And while the movie I just described would be a lot easier to watch, and would probably do well at the box office, Nasty Baby, which many viewers may well hate, accomplishes what films do so infrequently–it left me uncomfortable and puzzled in a productive way.

The basic plot here is simple. Polly (Wiig), and her gay BFF Freddy (Silva) are trying to have a baby. Turns out, his sperm count is low, so they convince his boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) to be the donor. They all stroll around Fort Greene, gawking at multi-racial babies and imagining themselves as the perfect post-racial, all-inclusive, multi-culti, perfectly modern messy family. 

Played straight, this is a saccharine plot at best, the kind of depiction of Brooklyn that makes half the country view the borough as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, the other half long to move here (until they discover that Freddy and Mo’s one-bedroom apartment in a brownstone would likely run them upwards of $3,500 a month). (more…)

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12/04/14 9:18am

Earlier this year we partnered with UncommonGoods to launch the Brooklyn Flag Project. We challenged design-minded folks from all over the borough to create a flag reflecting their neighborhood, with the promise that the top three would be produced for sale by UncommonGoods. Along with former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Tina Roth Eisenberg–the graphic designer known as @SwissMiss, and UncommonGoods founder David Bolotsky, we helped winnow down a fantastic field of entries to eight finalists.

UncommonGoods awarded cash prizes to the top three winners, but decided not to produce the flags for sale after all–they told us that they had hoped to see flags from a wider variety of neighborhoods, though we thought the entries from East New York, Bay Ridge, Flatbush, Coney Island and Ditmas Park nicely rounded out the multiple flags designed for Greenpoint and Fort Greene–locales that lots of graphic designers call home. Even if you can’t buy one of these to hang from your fire escape, we think it’s worth taking a peek at the winners. And, as a bonus, we’ve added in our favorite entry that didn’t win (we’re suckers for a squirrel).



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09/09/14 9:00am
Mashed avocado on multi-grain toast--avocado toast--is more than the sum of its parts. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Mashed avocado on multi-grain toast–avocado toast–is more than the sum of its parts. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Blame it on the Aussies. Thanks to a special E3 visa, Australian professionals have been arriving in droves, and bringing with them a demand for Down Under café cultureThe hallmarks of these cafés? Top-notch coffee and a small-yet-satisfying “brekkie” menu, including an Aussie staple: avocado toast.

A subset of the general NYC toast renaissance (no, we’re not kidding), avocado toast in its purest form involves smashed (not sliced) avocado seasoned with citrus and salt, spread atop a thick slice of toasted multigrain bread. This simple combination of crunch, creaminess and tang has launched a thousand copycats with additions from runny eggs to dukkah–an Egyptian spice blend.

Here we bring you the roadmap to crispy, crunchy avocado toast perfection: the seven best slices in all of Brooklyn. (more…)

02/03/14 6:44am
The new-look menu offerings at Martha in Fort Greene (Photo courtesy Martha)

The new-look menu offerings at Martha in Fort Greene. Photo: Martha

When we last discussed 184 DeKalb Avenue, I was a little short on nice things to say. As a devotee of all bread-based meals, I had anxiously awaited Fort Greene’s promising Brooklyn Sandwich Society. Once the eatery finally opened its doors last spring, it revealed a beautiful interior, some tasty small plates, and a lineup of overpriced, underwhelming sandwiches that made up just a small part of their dinner-only menu. “Focus your sandwich game or change the name,” I advised the so-called society in my review.

Well, I had no idea that all I had to do to make that happen was ask. In August, Brooklyn Sandwich Society officially dropped the sandwiches, renamed the restaurant Martha, after the patron saint of hospitality, and refocused the menu on locally sourced, internationally influenced, non-sandwich cuisine. On Martha’s original re-opening menu those influences ranged from Italian (smoked ricotta gnocchi) to Argentine (chimichurri hangar steak), although within a few months, Venezuelan-born chef Andres Valbuena reset his course once again, shifting toward East Asian-tinged dishes. While I’d normally be skeptical of a restaurant that jumps around this much, the new concept seems to have drawn crowds, and a few months later I’m pleased to report that Martha has indeed found its groove.

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01/13/14 8:47am

Considering it’s home to 17% of the world’s population and more ethnic groups than practically anywhere on earth, the diversity of India’s food scene gets short shrift in New York. We’ve got hundreds of restaurants serving chicken tikka masala (an only kind-of Indian dish that was actually invented in the U.K.,) but few that branch out into the many lesser-known genres of sub-continental cuisine. Dosa Royale, which just opened its doors in Carroll Gardens, is one of only a handful of Brooklyn restaurants specializing in the spicy flavors of South India, good news for fans who previously had to travel to New Jersey, Queens, or one of a scattering of local South Indian hole-in-the-walls like Ghandi in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

Dosa Royale, an offshoot of a successful Smorgasborg stand, is run by the same husband-and-wife team behind Fort Greene’s excellent Italian restaurant Dino, and unlike most no-frills Indian spots, it features a very New Brooklyn-y design scheme complete with exposed brick, blond woods and an open kitchen. However, it’s the strictly South Indian menu that makes Dosa Royale notable. The namesake dosas–giant, super-thin pancakes made from a batter of rice and black lentils–are filled with a variety of spicy-savory veggie options such as red onion with curry leaves, roasted cumin, fresh coriander and curried potatoes. At brunch, they come stuffed with South Indian-style scrambled eggs (with chilis, tomatoes and onions). There is also uttapam–a thicker, flatter variety of pancake with green chilis, onions and tomatoes cooked right into the batter. All are served with a delicious assortment of chutneys and spicy sambar dipping sauces, and can be amped up by adding mysore, a spice blend with a lot of heat, or gunpowder–a thick, slightly-sweet lentil-and-sesame based concoction.

Dosa Royale's egg-filled brunch dosa

Dosa Royale’s egg-filled brunch dosa is somewhere between a crepe and a South Indian breakfast burrito. Photo: Brendan Spiegel


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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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09/25/13 10:00am

BKPour2012-9286How many craft beers can you sample in three hours? That’s the question that the Village Voice’s third annual Brooklyn Pour  this Saturday, Oct. 12 will give you ample opportunity to answer.  Featuring close to 70 brewers serving more than 100 beers, the event has become the best way to find out what’s new and notable in the wide world of beer. Mark your calendar and get your tickets for the Brooklyn Pour now. Although Skylight One Hanson in the Williamsburgh Bank Tower is a huge, not to mention beautiful, space, the Pour is such a must-attend for beer fiends that it’s sure to sell out.

08/20/13 12:00pm
Sat August 24, 2013 - Sun August 25, 2013
Photo: Ed Marshall

The annual Afropunk Fest is expanding in its ninth year to include a wider range of music and a slew of after-hours events at surrounding bars and restaurants. Photo: Ed Marshall

This weekend the Afropunk Fest returns to Commodore Berry Park for its ninth year, and it’s clear that the much-lauded musical showcase has expanded its focus to include genres outside of its punk roots. The lineup is stellar, as always, and includes a wide range of acts, including Chuck D, ?uestlove, Living Color, Big Freedia, Death, Jean Grae, Saul Williams and Wicked Wisdom, which, for the uninitiated, is Jada Pinkett-Smith’s metal band. The two-day event also features a brigade of 26 food trucks, a skate park, a bike show, an art wall and a market selling crafts and clothing made by local independent artists. This year the party will continue after the park closes at nearby bars and restaurants that will host comedy shows, celebrity DJ sets,  art installations and more as part of the newly-added Afropunk After Dark series. Admission to all of it is free if you RSVP, but donating just $25 to get a fast pass that lets you cut the lines seems like a smart move. Donate via paypal, then bring your receipt to the festival to collect your fast pass at the merch tent.

07/31/13 1:40pm

It’s a happy accident that this week’s show recommendations begin with a mellow evening at one of my favorite more intimate venues and grow in literal and auditory dimensions, culminating with three big, stadium-sized, stiletto-heeled kicks in the pants (if you can swing Beyoncé’s steep ticket prices), with boisterous pop rock, legendary soul swagger and dance-ready arrangements along the way.

Beth Orton
Wednesday, July 31
Tickets $30
The Bell House (149 7th St.)

Folk music mingles with electronica in the hands of English singer-songwriter and 1990s mainstay Beth Orton. The often moody electronic elements combined with Orton’s haunting, signature vocal lilt made her tunes ideal for early aughts film and television soundtracks like Vanilla Sky and Roswell. Orton’s recent releases rest more heavily on her folk inclinations, which we hear with rich and poignant precision on her latest album, 2012′s Sugaring Season. Her voice still bears the influences of Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, but with a maturity and plainspoken honesty earned after almost 20 years in the biz.