Brooklyn has long been home to incredible eateries but it’s only been in the last decade or so that its restaurant scene has started to rival Manhattan’s. Today, the Borough of Kings offers everything from old-school classics to inventive new dishes chefs the world over are copying.
New Nordic cuisine hasn’t really swept through New York but there’s at least one excellent spot to dine on uber-seasonal Scandinavian fare: Michelin-star-rated Aska (Swedish for “ashes.”) Incorporating local ingredients, chef Fredrik Berselius’ 12-course tasting menu takes diners on an elegant, flavorful journey through Northern Europe.
Make your reservations early, as only ten tables in the converted 1860s warehouse are available each night. (A limited menu of shared plates is available in both the courtyard garden and cellar bar.) 47 S 5th Street, Williamsburg
Bunker (99 Scott Ave). Bunker
There was a time when New York’s Vietnamese offerings were mediocre at best. But now there are inspired Vietnamese eateries sprinkled around New York City (Hanoi House, Van Da, Pho Bar Di En Di, and Sai Gon Dep, to name a few). You can thank Bushwick’s Bunker for kicking off the phenomenon, with superior takes on pho and bánh mi sandwiches, as well as lesser-seen dishes like bánh xéo, a crispy folded pancake stuffed with bacon, sprouts and prawns.99 Scott Avenue, Bushwick
Adjaruli khachapuri at Georgia Dream Cafe Georgia Dream Cafe
This Bay Ridge eatery is dedicated to the food of the Republic of Georgia, an off-the-radar cuisine slowly finding its way onto the American palate. You might have heard of Adjaruli khachapuri, the canoe-shaped bread filled with gooey cheese, but there’s so much more to try here—like khinkali, pork dumplings that are like bigger version of Shanghai soup dumplings; shkmeruli, chicken in a creamy garlic sauce from the Racha region; and lobio, a red bean stew served in a clay pot.8309 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge
Hometown Bar-B-Que (454 Van Brunt Street) Instagram: @hometownbarbque
Barbecue in New York was always a ho-hum affair. But after Brooklyn boy Bill Durney returned from training with legendary pitmasters in Texas, he kicked things up a notch with his spacious BBQ joint in Red Hook. Enjoy brisket, pulled pork, lamb belly and turkey, all smoked on oak wood, or opt for inspired variations like Vietnamese hot wings, brisket tacos and Korean sticky ribs.454 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
Olmsted (659 Vanderbilt Ave). Olmsted
It’s clear chef Greg Baxtrom spent time in the kitchens at Alinea, Per Se, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns—and not just because of the impressive elevated American cuisine that comes out of his kitchen. Olmsted’s back garden is crammed with fresh herbs, a quail coop and a tub full of crawfish, all of which end up on the nightly menu. It’s a neighborhood spot that’s achieved destination restaurant status for good reason.659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
Named for the Roman goddess of the harvest, his Bushwick eatery is tops when it comes to Neapolitan-style pizza. Made with naturally leavened dough, its not just the best in Brooklyn, but possibly in all five boroughs.
In addition to wood-fired pies with a sourdough crust, and a selection of tasty antipasti, Ops offers an excellent wine list heavy on natural wines.346 Himrod Street, Bushwick
7. Peter Luger
Peter Luger (178 Broadway). Peter Luger
Dating back to 1887, this sanctuary of steak with Germanic decor is in the pantheon of American chophouses. It’s all about the steak here, particularly the rib steak and porterhouse (suitable for two), served by old-school waiters who then dollop juices from your steak and melted butter on top. But bring cash—they famously don’t accept credit cards.178 Broadway, Williamsburg
Roberta’s (261 Moore St). Roberta’s
This Italian eatery is the spirit animal of hipster cuisine, turning Bushwich into a cool neighborhood almost singlehandedly. The pizza is always a solid choice, though they also have a selection of salumi, pasta and proteins.
Attached to the restaurant is Blanca, a seriously upscale joint serving a 19-course tasting menu to a just 12 guests a night. At $198 per person it’s a splurge, but worth it for a taste of Brooklyn haute cuisine.261 Moore Street, Bushwick
Brussels sprouts with garlic, tahini and pomegranate at Tanoreen (7523 3rd Ave). Tanoreen
At this Bay Ridge mainstay, chef Rawia Bishara blends the cuisine of her native Palestine with a healthy dose of Lebanese. One of the best Middle Eastern eateries in all of New York, Tanoreen serves up excellent creamy hummus; Brussels sprouts sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, garlic and tahini; and tender grilled meats, among many other delights.
7523 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge.
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