Park Slope faves
- Susan Marme Jun 13, 1999 08:15 PM
Having just moved here from the Heights, have been
very pleased to find that there are several swell
places that are cheap and good -
Coco Rocco on 5th Ave. at 6th St. - Peruvian, fabulous
chicken, lomo saltado much better than that at the
place on 9th Ave. in Manhattan
Java on 7th Ave at 16th St. - Indonesian, masterful
spicing and a huge set lunch - soto ayam (chicken
soup) and gado-gado, plus main course and rice, for
$7.50. Beef rendang transcendent.
Any suggestions from Slope residents or other Brooklyn
While there are plenty of good reasons to live in Park
Slope, great chow isn't one of them. I've lived in the
nabe off and on since the early '80s...and have found
myself almost always happier eating in another
neighborhood -- or cooking at home. That said, you do
have a few choices for a serious meal: Along Seventh
Ave, there's Max & Moritz to the south and Lemongrass
Grill to the north (but expect crowds at the latter,
and note that they've sprouted branches all over
Manhattan). Two Boots is fun with kids, but each time I
return, the food and service seem to get a little bit
worse. All the other restaurants along Seventh
basically offer something that you can get MUCH better
somewhere else. And ALL the Chinese restos are
phoney baloney. Ditto for the new Indian and Southern
joints. Avoid them unless desperate.
To be sure, Fifth Ave. has its pleasures (Cucina, Aunt
Susie, Coco Roco, Viejo Yayo, etc.), but unless you're
a realtor, I think that's stretching the definition of
Park Slope's boundaries.
re: Peter Krass
Are you kidding, Park Slope in the realtors terms
(and actually on the map) goes all the way to the canal
at 2nd Ave! But in stretching the boundaries the other
directior, Elora's at 17th St and Prospect Park West,
just over the Windsor Terrce border and near the movie
theater, is pretty darn good mexican food, great salsa
and chips. And Laura's Gourmet Italian Kitchen,
resplendent with Bensonhurst-type Italians that are
actually from Windsor Terrace, is at Prospect Ave, and
Vanderbilt St., and is as anti-yuppie Italian as they
come. REALLY good Italian-American food. And the new
Olive Vine, at 15th St and 7th Ave., is owned by the
same people that own Moustache on Atlantic Ave., which
re: Lisa R.
Thanks, we had brunch today at Eloras (prior to
reading your post). It is very enjoyable even if as
neophytes we didnt realize that there is an
airconditioned back room! It is one of those
restaurants that makes you happy for some inexplicable
reason (maybe that the staff is so nice, for one).
Made the long walk in the heat worthwhile.
Italian places noted and will try.
Thanks to all.
re: Susan Marme
I have to disagree on Elora's. I think it's a pretty
poor excuse for Mexican food.
However, I did venture out to Los Pollitos on 4th Ave.
in Sunset Park on Friday, and it was well worth the
trek. Nice atmosphere, and great guacamole, the sourest
lemonade ever (made in a blender). The gorditos were
wonderful (sort of a thick handmade tortilla topped
with the thinnest layers of beans, crema, tomatillo
salsa, and cilantro. Also, good rottisserie chicken.
Oh, and fried plantains (absolutely greaseless) with
From a 15-year PS vet: GO TO SMITH STREET FOR GOOD
Or, I give another vote to Al Di La on 5th ave or Mike
& Tony's albeit more $$$. Otherwise it's slim pickin's.
Might be the byproduct of the number of families with
young children in the Slope. They tend to be less picky
or don't eat out as much. Enjoy!
I tried Rice the Thai place on 7th Ave and 9th? and I
liked it much more than Lemongrass. It has similar
atmosphere and menu, but I found the food much
tastier. For some reason I find the food rather balnd
at Lemongrass. Also Red Hot Szechuan also on 7th Ave
is pretty good. They also have a vegetarian menu.
Mara, do you have the cross streets for Kar Luk on 5th?
Kar Luk is mostly take out, I believe, but I think they
are located betwen 7th and 8th streets on 5th Avenue.
I absolutely agree with you about Red Hot Szechuan on
7th Ave. and 10th St., but I prefer Lemongrass to Rice.
Lemongrass has nights when they are very good, others
when they are mediocre, and I invariably find eating
there to be better than ordering in. But the last 3 or
4 times I have been there, I have consistently had
excellent, satisfying meals. I'll try Rice again,
though, when I'm up there - thanks.
Gotta agree with Josh. When I read posts on this site
about "terrific" food in Park Slope, it makes me
wonder which PS we're talking about!
To all those who adore PS food, I propose a modest
challenge: Name one Park Slope restaurant that is
absolutely the best of its kind in the city. (And no,
"mediocre neighborhood eats run by amateurs" is not a
The winner will get an all-expenses-paid, "terrific"
cup of coffee at the Purity!
Your taste is admirable, but you may want to work on
your reading skills.
The challenge specifically stated that the winner will
have identified a Park Slope RESTAURANT that is
absolutely the best of its kind in New York City.
I agree that Two Little Red Hens Bakery creates some
delicious concoctions. But as its name plainly states,
it is a bakery, not a restaurant. Yes, they have a few
chairs and tables, but as you know...one swallow (ha!)
does not make a restaurant.
So the Park Slope Challenge -- and its indigestible
grand prize -- are still very much in play.
re: Peter Krass
I think your cup of coffee is safe.
To me, Park Slope gets the restaurants it (like any
other bedroom suburb) deserves. Did anyone go to the
outlet of Le Petite Crevette that opened briefly on
7th ave in the (now) Sweet Mama space? Why did we let
the quite estimable french bistro that preceded
Blockbuster on Flatbush Avenue fail? If Park Slope
doesn't recognize and support quality and heads for
manhattan for special meals, then we shouldn't be
surprised when mediocrity rules.
Finally, I am glad that some quality has recently been
added to Smith Street. Hopefully, we will see and
support some additions of a similar sort in the Slope
area to supplement Cucina, Al Di La, Coco roco et al.
But I for one am happy to be 15 minutes from
Chinatown, a short drive from Jackson Heights,
Atlantic Avenue, Coney Island Avenue and Brighton
Beach, and a short walk to many other chowhoundy
destinations. No one in the burbs can say the same.
re: Peter Krass
Certainly not "the best" but near the top in its
category is the patties shop on flatbush between 7th
and 8th Aves.
Caveat: I have not been there for several years; I
don't even know if it's still there let alone if it's
still as good as it was in, say, '95 or '96.
Thanks but I'll skip the New Purity. (Did you happen to
know, the "New Purity" on 7th Ave. is a branch of the
"Purity", I can't remember just where it is right now,
either in Elmhurst or Astoria; I happened on it about 3
years ago and did a bit of a double-take. Sadly it is
just as bad as its PS cousin.)
re: jen kalb
I agree Jen...am not sure why that place's patties have made such a stir among locals (though I adore the coconut turnovers they make there).
there's a similarly over-rated restaurant right across the street, the extremely mediocre "El Gran Castillo de Jagua" which
is one of the most beloved restaurants in NYC.
The dominican rest. Jim refers to I think is at
Carlton and Flatbush (there is another at Flatbush &
7th)is one of a whole group of restaurants under the
Grand Castillo de Jagua name which are or were at one
time under control of a family group. Those two on
Flatbush have been open continually since opening and
Ive never heard of any drug link to those places.
Unfortunately, even tho legit, the food isn't very
good, as Jim says, tho the roast pork smells so good I
have to restrain myself as I walk by. At this point,
there really isn't a good dominican/cuban eatery in
that area, which may be why people like these; they
havent had exposure to any better.
re: Jen Kalb
There IS good Caribbean Spanish food in the nabe...Eva's at 4th and
16th, is good puerto rican (though their quality wavers pretty
widely), and there is some good Dominican stuff around there on 4 and 5 Avenues--I had to try all of them once for an article...best was La FeÕs (941 Fourth Avenue, 788Ð0139) though I haven't been in years. But even up by Flatbush, there are decent choices...Castillo at the top of Sixth Avenue sucks a bit less than the others, El Viejo Yayo (622Ð8922) at 36 Fifth Avenue isn't bad, nor is Los Chorros, (46 Fifth Avenue, 230Ð5365), the Salvadorian next door.
re: Jim Leff
"va's at 4th and 16th, is good puerto rican (though
their quality wavers pretty widely), and there is some
good Dominican stuff around there on 4 and 5 Avenues"
woops! Eva's is not Dominican, it's Ecuadorian...and
it's not the place I meant to mention anyway. I was
thinking of TINA'S 234 4 Ave just south of Union, 718-
624-3361. the other "good Dominican stuff" I referred
to IS down near 16th street on 4 and 5, however.
re: Peter Krass
was about to respond to this, as being a bizarre and inequal challenge, as "the best" is subjective, PS is not the ethnic center to establish it in one way, nor the financial center to merit it another. HOwever PS certainly has a strong showing in many areas -- including, but not limited to tempo, aldila, convivium osteria, blue ribbon, then i realized the post was writen in 1999. However, I still object to his "the best" catorization.
re: Lisa R.
Both Russo's on 7th avenue bet. 10th & 11th and A&S
Pork Store on 5th Avenue bet. Carroll and Garfield have
PHENOMENAL fresh mozzarella cheese, and Russo's also
has a pretty wide variety of other take-out italian
fare, all very high quality.
In terms of restaurants, I would go with the
suggestions of Max & Moritz (for a more special meal as
it's a little pricey) and Lemongrass Grill (better,
I've found, than its Manhattan counterparts). Also,
12th Street Bar & Grill on 8th Avenue has a great early
bird special and quite good bistro-type food. Finally,
I've found Kar Luk on 5th Avenue to have the best
chinese, and Big Pizza Cafe on 7th Avenue has pretty
terrific thin-crust pizza. Happy eating and welcome to
I'm sorry you did not suggest Sotto Voce on the corner
of 7th Ave & 4th Str. Being a partner, you may find my
opinion "slightly" biased, but we do tend be busy ever
night of the week. That must say something. Try us and
let me know what you think.
Quite beyond the ordinary, and within the "stretch zone" ( gateway to South Brooklyn ), may I suggest Al De La on 5th Ave. at Carroll St.
Its been a long time since the body count at Russo's
funeral parlor exceeded the number recorded !
You absolutely must try Tutta Pasta on 7th Avenue
between Garfield and 1st Street. My husband took me
there when we first met and it still is our "favorite
restaurant". We also like La Cucina on 5th Avenue.
But there is nothing that can compare to the food at
Tutta Pasta. Try it and let me know what you think!
I am sure you will love it....
re: Annie Rodriguez
This sounds a little like the "where to eat in NYC"
thread, but IMHO, Cucina is a dependable,
quality-conscious, really nice place to eat (I take my
parents there when they visit me), and is two or three
light-years better than Tutta Pasta, a pallid,
mediocre, semi-chain joint. Although it's been at least
mediocre in my experience (been there twice), I have
friends in the neighborhood who have given it more
chances, and they say it's been consistently,
absolutely awful -- pasta either mushy or
crunchy/undercooked, unwashed greens, indifferent
Just my 2 cents.
I ment TUTTI SCHIVO.....I mean PASTA. Can any one in
their right mind say they are good, let alone ok.
Their sauce is a perfect excuse to chew on a rolaids.
The pasta would make better use a repair for that
errant peice of lose wallpaper. I've seen better
service from an ex-wife. Spinach salad - I've found
less sand in my thong saddles after a walk on Montauk
Now Cucina that's food.
re: Annie Rodriguez
I don't understand the raves about Tutta Pasta. It's a chain with not the greatest food. I used to go to the one in Hoboken when I lived there, because it was about as good as the rest of the bland places, but it's nothing special. For Italian, Sotto Voce is much better, and if you feel like walking down to 5th, Cucina is pretty good too. Another good place (for American food) is Max & Moritz on 7th between 14th & 15th.
re: Peter Cuce
Boy do I ever agree about Tutta Pasta. When I lived in the Village, too many years ago, I very happily bought their fresh pasta products and they were wonderful. To have quick fresh pasta in my home easily was, in those days, a novelty. I was really happy when they started serving meals-- until I ate one. I gave them several chances over years in several locations, but wouldn't bother ever ever again. Just ordinary, lackluster food cooked without much thought. What a waste!
For tasty Italian, what about Al di La on 5th Ave?
re: Annie Rodriguez
Well guys I must take everything that I wrote about Tutta Pasta back. It's been approx 5 years since my husband and I last had dinner there and it was an absolute disaster. We waited for about 20 minutes for the waiter to take our order (and there was only one other couple in the restaurant) and then there was an additional delay and they bought out the wrong order. The waiter actually followed my husband and I outside of the restaurant asking "Why we left such a small tip?" Can you believe that? I was appalled. Needless to say, we never returned. I was in denial for a long time, but have finally come to terms with the fact that it sucks!
Tutta Pasta cannot compare with Cucina. Having just
tried a wonderful new dish there this week (Basil
Pesto Risotto & Shrimp), I will be hitting my speed
dial and ordering again real soon.
And there's another plus: Cucina (unlike Aunt Suzie's
right across the street and other closer restaurants)
DO deliver to those of us in Prospect Heights.
Three all time favorites in no particular order, cause i love em all!!!!
Red Hot Szechuan- scrumtious sauces with spicy hints,consistantly delicious. interesting seasonal specials (though they don't change them more than seasonally) and cheap lunch specials. check it. (7th ave and 10th st)
Uncle Moes- Fabulous Cali style Taqueria Action!!! just an all-around friendly, good quality burrito spot. the horchata water is oh so refreshing, and the rice empanada dessert can be habit forming. i recommend it over the Taqueria spot on berkeley and 7th, which has the same menu served with less TLC.
(at 7th ave bet 9th and 10th)
Olive Vine- for me, it all comes down to one word
M-E-Z-Z-E. the baba ganoush is the best!!! and they make their own pitas fresh to order. the salads are superior, lentil soup is spicy yet lemony and not too heavy, and they make these really interesting pita-pizzas....try a loomi while it's still hot out (spicy orangey drink, somewhat bitter but suprisingly refreshing).
hope you can check these spots!!!! enjoy
My husband and I LOVE Kiku Sushi on 5th Ave!
Absolutely our fave in PS.
IF you care to venture out, Taci Beyti on Coney Island Ave + Ave P has the BEST Turkish in Brooklyn! And of course, our absolute fave, Di Fara Pizza on Ave J and East 15 street in Midwood is ALWAYS worth the 5 minutes train ride!
Wow this post is almost 10 years old. I live in the PS/Prospect Heights border and I have a booming restaurant row on 5th Avenue. I would say the best are still Al DI La, Applewood and Franny's. And of course the Caribbean trio of Christie's, Sugacane and Little Miss Muffin'. Great Patties!
Aunt Suzie's Sunday brunch with unlimited food and bellinis or mimosas for $15.95 is a steal.
Made to order crepes, omelets, pancakes, and Belgian waffles and already made Italian bread french toast, salads and pastas are good. Service is great with their constant refilling of your alcohol and coffee cups. This is as close to the traditional Sunday early family dinner that you are going to get without having to prepare the food yourself. Get there at 12 noon and you have a pick of the tables. For those who don't drink booze, you get a cheaper brunch alternative with unlimited coffee. Guarranteed to leave you stuffed with food or swimming in drinks or both. 10/08
re: park slope guy
There has to be new restaurants better than all those named above. Has anyone tried CONVIVIUM OSTERIA on 5th Ave? I heard it is delicious and so is MELT on Bergen Street. The last time I was at Melt I ordered the QUINCE GLAZED FREE-RANGE CHICKEN BREAST with vegetables and hearty real potato hand cut Fries. The chicken was so fresh and tender. Yum! BOGOTA on 5th ave is also pretty good. Any new posts of what else is good in the slope?
I suggest staying away from Aunt Suzie's, but just my opinion. I love Al Di La for Italian; Stone Park for brunch; Bark Hot Dogs for dogs, beers and fries; Alchemy for good bar food and happy hour; Applewood for a great, but pricey meal; Taqueria for suitable and cheap Mexican; Song for cheap and filling Thai; La Villa for pizza; Blue Ribbon for expensive comfort food; Sheep Station for fish and chips; Pacific Standard and The Gate for beers; Dram Shop for their burger...
Melt has a new chef, but I was never impressed with their food. Bussaco has a new chef worth visiting and I've always heard good things about Convivium, although it is pricey.
The new chef (de cuisine) at Bussaco is Katy Sparks. Chef Adey is also still there. We actually ate at Quilty's when she was there. We have enjoyed Bussaco a lot lately (especially since Chef Sparks arrived) except for last weekend, when the food did not seem to be of the same quality it has been. Our guess is that Sparks was on Thanksgiving weekend vacation, because the food seemed so different, not really good. We were quite disappointed.
For example, two weeks ago we loved their 30 second squid salad. Squid, chick peas, greens. I did not make notes of all the greens in it, but the squid was just perfect and a nice touch was brought by celery leaves. There was a really nice, delicate balance and freshness in the dish. We also loved their market fish, cooked on a bed of salt, served with nicely spiced and cooked carrots. So fresh, so tasty. We felt it was all very inspired, in a nicely subtle way. This was all Sparks.
But the following weekend, as one of us ordered the same dish, it was nothing like the week before. The salad was too oily. There was nothing of the delicate play of the ingredients and their freshness in it. Same goes for the fish dish. (When will we learn not to eat in restaurants on holiday weekends?)
But based on all of our other dinner experiences there, we will definitely go back, hoping that this one weekend was just a fluke.
I think I had misunderstood a very ambiguous sentence in the restaurant's own news letter. Sorry about that.
I think it is actually Kevin Adey who is Chef de Cuisine and Sparks is the consulting chef in the kitchen. I know she HAS been in the kitchen and that she has created a new menu.
Now it just remains to be seen how much Sparks really will be there, in the restaurant, in the future.
re: jen kalb
You are right.
We wanted to test Bussaco again and dined there last weekend. Chef Sparks was definitely there and even came to the dining room for a while. The info we have now is that she definitely will be in the kitchen in the future, too.
There still is some unevenness as it comes to the food, but we will go back in a few weeks. So far we still prefer the cooking at James, they have served some pretty sublime dishes lately.
Ive lived here 40 years and I have occasionally had something wonderful to eat, but most of the time it is very hit or miss. 1) All of the Japanese restaurants need a lot of improvement. 2) All of the Chinese restaurants are mens a mens. Red Hot has declined terribly in quality over the past ten years and several owners. Viejo Yayo -- if you grew up eating this type of food you would see right away how many shortcuts they take with it. The falafel place on 7th ave betn 2nd and 3rd is okay, I love the Chip Shop on 5th and 7th, Also like very much for a light meal Sweet Melissa, which is a coffee shop but they have beautiful food.The Thai restaurant on 15th St. and 7th Ave is very nice. Otherwise I can take or leave all of these places. There are a lot of very good coffee shops in the Slope, but not serious food. A pity.
"Rather amusing - or sad - that the situation hasn't changed in 10 years (OP date 1999!)."
Sure, if you overlook places like Al Di La and the recently closed Tempo. And Bonnies. And Convivium. And Moutarde. And Palo Santo. And Applewood. And Bar Toto. And Blue Ribbon. And Stone Park Cafe.
I could go on but I think the point is made. The restaurant scene is *far* better than it was 10 years ago.
re: Bob Martinez
On reflection I actually agree with you, the tenor of the post I was responding to was that things were much as they were in 1999. There are definitely good things to be had now - and there were also some in 1999. Dearly wish however there were a decent Chinese restaurant - my fantasy is to be able to order in from somewhere along the lines of the Sichuan place in Bay Ridge...I suppose it's a function of the rents being higher in this area keeping Chinese restaurateurs from starting up here?
Sorry I sort of unloaded on you. I was really aiming at bklyn_babe who inexplicably overlooked 10 to 15 solid to very good restaurants. I've lived in the Slope for the last 19 years. There was a time where the only restaurants on Fifth Ave. were Aunt Suzie's and 200 Fifth. By 1999 Cucina joined the group but the pickings were still mighty slim. It's gotten enormously better. (Let me add Korzo to my list. I like them a lot.)
I am absolutely with you on the absence of good Chinese food. I make regular visits to Grand Sichuan House in Bay Ridge. They're lovely people and the food is great.
What I don't understand is how the dismal Chinese restaurants in the Slope manage to afford their rent. They do middling business but they really don't pack them in.
re: Bob Martinez
The was more than Aunt Suzie's and Java: Did you ever try Adele's (in what now is Applewood)? We have fond memories of that place. Also there was Lisanne on Atlantic & 3rd (just outside of PS where Betty's bakery is now). Both were pretty upscale when the neighborhoods were not.
I never made it to Adele's although I walked by more than once and tried to figure out what it was like.
Lisanne on Atlantic & 3rd Ave.? Wow. That must have been during the heyday of the nearby old Doray Tavern. I always loved their motto - "Where good friends meet." Yeah ... as long as your friends were the type who drink a quart of cheap vodka every day.
Hank's, it's successor, has plenty of rough edges but compared to the Doray it's like the Oak Room at the Plaza.
I was about to point out a few other places as well, but your reply to Bob beat me to it.
I agree wholeheartedly about the Chinese food. I have often wondered why some enterprising and talented Chinese chef does not take a shot in Park Slope. If the mediocre Chinese restaurants that are here now can prosper, it seems a given that a really good Chinese restaurant would do as well or better.
One restaurant that seems to be consistenly overlooked in Park Slope is Moim, a nifty Korean restaurant on Garfield Place, a few steps east of Seventh Avenue. Perhaps it is the location (not on Seventh and not all that noticeable unless you are looking for it), but they don't get as much business as they should, at least in my opinion. It's definitely worth a shot...
Respectfully - and having lived in the neighborhood only a few years - I think things _have_ changed, particularly in South Slope. Red Hot, Kiku Sushi and Uncle Moe's may be no great shakes, but Taro Sushi (Flatbush near 4th) is better than anywhere I've tried in Manhattan in the same price range, Watana (14th/7th) is in fact very decent Thai, Fonda (7th btw. 14/15) is really, really good Mexican, Beer Table (ditto) has stuff that you simply can't find anywhere else, Lot 2 (19th/6th) has great charcuterie and a surprisingly excellent burger - plus there's still Applewood, Al di La and Convivium, and solid neighborhood places like 12th St. bar and grill, Sidecar, Athena...
If you confine yourself to the "usual suspects" in North Slope, I can see getting depressed or bored very easily, but the neighborhood is now bigger, and better, than that.