Williamsburg cuisine is all over the map. There’s no shortage of trendy, overpriced joints utilizing buzzwords like “locally sourced” and “micro-organic.” Sometimes, you just want something simple. Three of the nabe’s newest players provide a counterbalance to pretense. At Kent Ale House, Lake Trout, and Blue Collar you can find tried-and-true essentials that won’t make a dent in your finances.
Pizza. It’s no secret what it means to New Yorkers. To say we take pride in it is to restate a cliché that stretches back generations. Brooklyn’s newest pie palaces all nod to tradition, updating a classic form with the fresh ingredients of today. From Prospect Heights (Rosco’s) to East Williamsburg (Dieci Pizzeria & Osteria) to Coney Island (Grimaldi’s), the city’s pie horizon is only getting broader.
Few things are more disappointing than a bad seafood experience, especially when you’ve been primed by a waterfront location. We’ve all had the oily, overpriced, over-fried platters that mask questionable product and put a strain on the digestive system. Newcomers La Marina (pictured), Crave Fishbar, and Pier NYC make it easy to get fresh, great seafood without a haul to Long Island.
Plenty of ink has been spilled over the gentrification of New York’s most populous borough, but Brooklyn’s DIY spirit has essentially remained the same. Instead of building from the ground up, newcomers are respecting local heritage by converting old industrial spaces into hangouts suitable for new crowds. Bia Bar & Grill, Lavender Lake, and siblings The Wick and The Well are on the vanguard of creative repurposing in the county of Kings.
There are few pleasures in life more enjoyable than outdoor drinking. Summer has officially begun, and in the hot, humid evenings the best place to be is an outdoor patio, cold libation in hand. NYC bars have caught on; an outdoor space is almost a necessity these days. It’s also the perfect setting for bringing that significant other. New York newcomers Brighton, Birreria Roma, and HAVEN (pictured) will ensure your hot date catches a cool breeze.
The craft beer craze has hit New York hard. Recent legislation in Albany encouraging microbrews is only upping the beer renaissance. Downtown newcomers Alphabet City Beer Co. (pictured) and Malt & Mold are showcasing fine Empire State suds, along with some other craft finds. Bring along your state-sanctioned growler.
Alphabet City Beer Co. is two doors down from its wine sibling. The space has a coffee shop feel with leather seats, a chandelier from the Puck Building, and a huge raw-wood communal table. Huge does not even begin to describe the bottled beer selection, with 350 on hand for your horizon-broadening pleasure. A dozen more come off the tap lines. Free WiFi helps settle pesky barguments. Petite take-out shop Malt & Mold sells fifty craft beers, with eight tap lines handling growler duty. A smart cheese selection steers mostly domestic, with a few rare imports. Complete your gourmet spread with chocolates, yogurts, vinegars, and cured meats. With the way New York is going after craft beer, there should be plenty of room for coexistence with Top Hops, which joined the neighborhood brew party in earlier this year.
Want to know about it first? Sign up for BlackBook Happenings now and get the latest openings and events in the city of your choice, delivered to your inbox every Monday.
Options for casual Asian cuisine should not be limited to sketchy holes in the wall. New NYC additions Silk Rd Tavern, Chop Shop, and Biang! are plating elegant dishes that go light years beyond takeout hit or miss.
Flatiron newcomer Silk Rd Tavern puts pan-Asian twists on classic American comfort foods. Look for mash-ups like Everything Egg Rolls, with duck and foie gras, or a house mac ‘n’ cheese with Korean rice cakes and Vermont cheddar. Potpies upgrade pub grub, combining blue crab, black bean, and Singapore chili.
Chop Shop is the brainchild of Danny Emerman and Mah Chan of Bottino, which is just three doors down. The space is casual (no reservations), but the food is refined. The kitchen works Southeast Asian and Chinese angles, with black beans, chiles, and cumin putting some pop in your dining.
Golden Mall staple Xi’an Famous Foods finally has a more upscale outpost, deep in Queens, with the opening of Biang!. All the classics are here, as seen on TV. There are also skewers of beef stomach and cubes of pig’s blood in a garlic-chile-vinegar sauce. If you’re adventurous enough for the haul to Flushing, you’re probably bold enough to give these delicacies a shot.
The pizzeria. The trattoria. The ristorante. In New York, there’s no shortage of Italian cuisine, which forces these restaurants to do something different to stand out from the pack. Newcomers Pranzo, Fratelli La Bufala, and Rafele are out to one-up the competition with authentic Italian recipes and original cooking methods.
Everything’s been done, they say. Just look at Hollywood. While some decry reinventing the wheel, others embrace it and end up stumbling onto something new. Just-opened NYC bars Proletariat, Max Bratwurst, and Skylark bump up classic ideas with their own contemporary twist.
Proletariat updates the speakeasy aesthetic with a rare-brew bar in the back of Jane’s Sweet Buns. Emphasis is on the rotating list of seasonal brews, augmented by a draft cocktail or two. Max Bratwurst und Bier in Astoria puts a unique spin on traditional German dishes. All the tried and true classics are here, as well as some innovative wurst choices, including rabbit, alligator, and rattlesnake. Inspired by grandma’s basement, Skylark brings classic ’70s vibes to Park Slope. The retro menu features roast beef, cheddar, and mashed potatoes on white bread, among other classics. A smart tap selection is on-hand to satisfy the modern Brooklyn crowd.