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DUMBO

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Any great restaurants in DUMBO?
Going to theatre tonight.

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  1. what the heck is DUMBO?

    20 Replies
    1. re: eyree

      DUMBO stands for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass".

      1. re: Xuan Mai

        Can someone post a brief explanation of DUMBO for the uninitiated? Subway stop, sociology, chow highlights, etc. Would be much appreciated.

        1. re: Buford

          The closest subway stop to Dumbo is High Street on the A & C lines which are just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. A short walk under the bridge and, I believe, you are in Dumbo ... if you aren't you are only a few blocks south of it. Geographically, I guess the best description would be that it's the neighborhood immediately north of Brooklyn Heights.

          As far as I know, which isn't very far, the main attraction for chowhounds is the Jacques Torres chocolate shop (www.mrchocolate.com, which has excellent directions from the High Street station to his shop and therefore, to Dumbo). It's an industrial and waterfront neighborhood that is gentrifying. I think the gentrification started with artists moving in. Culturally, it's on the map through the end of the month because the Wooster Group's production (with, among others, Willem Dafoe and Frances McDormand) of To You, the Birdie! (Phedre), based on Racine's tragedy, is being staged at St. Ann's Warehouse on Water Street in Dumbo.

          1. re: Timowitz

            Actually, the York St. stop on the F line is a bit closer to DUMBO than the A/C High St. stop. Although, if you're heading for Jacque Torres, they are roughly equidistant.

            1. re: Nomi Lubin

              Superfine used to be good when it was a part of Between the Bridges pub but I haven't tried it in it's new location. It's on Front Street now. I've been meaning to check it out.

              I had very bad food and service at the DUMBO-version of RICE. Seems like all the work went into the design and they forgot about the food and customers.

              Try Superfine.

              Jon

              1. re: packjev

                I actually think the food at Rice (on Washington St.) is not bad considering the low prices, but I totally agree about the service. Annoyingly amateurish and borderline indifferent. But the bathroom is stellar.

                1. re: packjev

                  Just ate at Superfine on Friday night. I don't know how it compares to its former incarnation at Between the Bridges b/c I never ate there, but it was good on Friday, though a little inconsistent. Some things were really delicious (spaghetti with chorizo), some things were above average tasty (stuffed cabbage), some things were just adequate (mixed salad), but nothing was bad. Certainly if you're going to DUMBO anyway, it's worth a visit.

            2. re: Buford

              DUMBO is an old industrial neighborhood bordered by the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Farragut Housing Projects, the BQE and Old Fulton Street, which is the border with Brooklyn Heights. When I graduated from art school in 1979, young artists who were priced out of SoHo and Tribeca were moving there. It was desolate and dangerous, had (and still has) poor air quality owing to the incinerator to the north, diesel traffic overhead and the BQE. However it offered large, affordable work space for artists (I had studios in three building over 12 years). Then a real estate developer who had developed in Tribeca discovered that artists were living there, and bought up as much property as he could with the idea of getting richer than he is by creating a synthetic SoHo in Brooklyn. With respect to his ambition as a developer he stated "I believe in following the artists". Needless to say, I can no longer afford a studio there. At the moment he is providing rent breaks to businesses to try and establish a neighborhood, and to not-for-profit groups such as Arts at Saint Ann's which presumably gets him tax breaks. This is temporary, though. What will happen when his calculated largesse gives way to market rate rents remains to be seen.
              What does this mean for Chowhounds? Well, the restaurant Kino on the corner of Main and Plymouth (formerly Parker's Lighthouse) has a $15 all-you-can-eat brunch which is pretty good. They serve fresh and smoked salmon, cured meats, cheeses, salads, fruit, and some hot entrees. There are rarely more than a few tables occupied and it's a pleasant room, so you can sit and chow and hang out for a long time. I question whether this place will survive, so go for it sooner than later. Also, there was a Cuban diner that I really liked on Jay & Front Streets, but I don't know if it's still there. And of course there's always the River Cafe if you're really flush and Pete's Downtown (Water St. & Old Fulton) if you're not.

              1. re: Dancin' Cook

                Everything you've said is true, but I'd like to add a bit.

                DUMBO has strikingly beautiful views of the bridges (Brooklyn and Manhattan) and the city across the river. If you stand in the middle of Washington Street near the corner of Front you can see the Empire State building framed like a pendant through one of the Manhattan bridge arches. It's heart stopping. And, because it is much less deserted than it once was, you can enjoy walking the streets, (many of which are still cobblestone), and the closer up desolate beauty of a formally industrial neighborhood. The studios are still one third to one half what you'd pay in SoHo.

                The Cuban diner is still there. And Between the Bridges Pub at 63 York St. is friendly and serves nice inexpensive food. As has been discussed kind of a lot lately, DUMBO is worth a special trip for Jacques Torres Chocolate at 66 Water St. Also, if you love simple pure ice cream, you might even want to make a special trip for The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on the Fulton Ferry Landing at the end of Old Fulton Street, immediately south of the Brooklyn Bridge and The River Cafe. More unbelievable views and very high quality ice cream.

                1. re: Nomi Lubin

                  What about Superfine? Didn't it reopen at another location in DUMBO? (It was adjacent to Between the Bridges for a while, but then closed. I had a very nice meal there a couple of years ago).

                  1. re: Dan

                    Any of these recs still good? have tickets at St. Anne's on Saturday and need a place for dinner - would prefer a place w/o reservations, because I'm not sure when we can get there...

                    1. re: Scribbler

                      Superfine is still there and good. Service can be pretty slow at times. Never been a huge fan of Rice but it seems to do quite well. There's a Japanese place called Miso which is fine that you won't need a reservation at.

                      If you'd like to take a chance on a resy, I'd go with Five Front which is right by St. Anne's.

                      1. re: Scribbler

                        I worked in DUMBO for the past 6 months and ate in every restaurant, cafe and deli the neighborhood has to offer, with the exception of River Cafe. From that experience, I can say that I found no truly satisfying combination of good tasting food and competent service. In most cases, both were lacking. I suggest taking a short walk up to Brooklyn Heights and Hitting Henry's End or Iron Chef. Neither are amazing, but both far exceed what you can get right around St.Anns.
                        If you really want to stay close by, I'd say Five Front is your best bet, though its def. hit or miss.

                        1. re: rax

                          I live nearby, but never visited Bubby's (One Main Street).
                          Would appreciate any opinions...

                          1. re: MichaelN

                            ixnay on the ubbybay! Unlike the Tribeca original, this one serves mediocre food with scattershot service in a cavernous barn of a room. Unless you want a burger with (marginal) fries, you can and should do better elsewhere. FiveFront is probably the toniest spot, though it's pretty casual. We've had good meals there, though the board suggests it's started down the long decline. Despite the negatives, Rice has also been a standby for St Ann's (and GAle GAtes before that), because it is edible, quick and cheap. Tonight we're going to Superfine, which we haven't frequented in a couple of years. I'll report back if it's warranted. But the listing that caught my eye was Hecho in Dumbo, which appears to be an antojitos spot in the bar of the Dumbo General Store. Reviewed in NY Mag last month. Sounds interesting (if not necessarily a wise choice if you're trying to make an 8:00 curtain, or foregoing the cerveza on account of the waistline).

                            1. re: jmj

                              i like superfine as a bar but not as a restaurant. the steak they served me last time was a terrible cut of meat...very gristly.

                              not enough good choices and high prices, ive decided that its just a place for drinks.

                              id rather walk to noodle pudding or henry's end than eat in dumbo...its not terrible but bubbys sucks, rice is meh (i sometimes crave it though), and five front is declining.

                              1. re: sam1

                                My husband suggested Pete's Downtown - any reactions??

                                  1. re: Scribbler

                                    I ate at Pete's for the first time this past weekend (after realizing Hecho en Dumbo was closed on Sundays). It's standard, non-fussy Italian fare. Everything was good, but nothing remarkable. A good place for a plate of pasta and some cheap red wine.

                              2. re: MichaelN

                                I went to the Bubby's on Hudson street with some friends a few months ago. The food was quite good. The service was NOT. I sure hope that they cleaned up their act at both their locations. As far as the food is concerned, you will enjoy their cakes, pies and other good desserts.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. Hecho en Dumbo is brilliant. I've been twice since they started up. It's basically small plates, but all of the food is fantastic. The live music on the weekends starts late, but is worth sticking around.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: egable

                    I agree. We've only been there once with a group of 10 from CH and other boards. We ate everything on the menu and some stuff they just made up on the spot. Nothing was badly done, some was average and much was quite good. I'm anxious to return. It's an easy going place with little service, but it shouldnt be hard to get enough food quickly so that you can make the performance.