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NO RESERVATIONS::WHERE TO GO IN BROOKLYN WHEN LINES ARE TOO LONG

f
Fleur Oct 4, 2006 06:27 AM

The wait at the restaurants in Brooklyn that are really good is sometimes too much to bear. One night we drove by AL DI LA and the wait was almost an hour. We tried to get into NOODLE PUDDING and HENRY'S END... 45 min wait.

It seems that many of the restaurants that are really good do not take reservations and always have long line. The restaurants you can get into are almost empty, and not very good.

Where would you all suggest going in that situation?

We got totally fed up and just went over and had dinner at the HEIGHT'S CASINO .

  1. Bob Martinez Oct 4, 2006 11:30 AM

    Downtown Atlantic.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob Martinez
      m
      Marion Morgenthal Oct 5, 2006 01:06 AM

      We've encountered a wait at Downtown Atlantic at prime time on weekends as well. You might try Tempo--good food, but doesn't seem to be as crowded as some others of the same quality.

      1. re: Marion Morgenthal
        Bob Martinez Oct 6, 2006 08:42 PM

        Actually, it's good the hear that Downtown Atlantic is full up at prime times on the weekends. Any restaurant that's not full at those times is either brand new or awful or a place that's going to close due to lack of business.

        One other point for those not familiar with Downtown Atlantic and Tempo. Aside from being 2 miles apart (important for those without cars) they are different types of restaurants. Downtown Atlantic serves well made standard and New American fare at reasonable prices. Tempo serves Italian/Mediterranean cuisine in a more upscale atmosphere and your meal will likely cost at least 50% more.

        Both are good choices.

    2. n
      Nehna Oct 4, 2006 02:37 PM

      I've never had trouble walking in at chestnut, god knows why...the food being as tasty as it is, they should have a que.

      1. famdoc Oct 4, 2006 03:37 PM

        Al di La's wine bar serves the same menu as the main restaurant and frequently can seat you as a walk-in, when tables are unavailable in the main restaurant.

        Stone Park: sit at the bar if tables/reservations are unavailable.
        Applewood: ditto, as Stone Park, above.

        1. f
          Fleur Oct 4, 2006 07:51 PM

          We don't like to have dinner at the bar of a restaurant. The experience is never the same.

          Agree about CHESTNUT, but the Prix Fixe is only on Tuesday and Wednesday. APPLEWOOD is not my cup of tea.

          I was hoping for some strategy for getting into the really good places that don't take reservations.

          I guess we can always fall back on the CASINO.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fleur
            n
            Nehna Oct 5, 2006 04:48 PM

            "Agree about CHESTNUT, but the Prix Fixe is only on Tuesday and Wednesday. "

            You didnt specify you were after Prix Fixe. I've actually never even had the Prix Fixe at chestnut....we typically have had an app or two between us and then entrees. Rarely hungry enough for 3 courses when I've gone. The prices are quite reasonable without the set meal deal.

          2. m
            MShapiro Oct 4, 2006 08:53 PM

            We like Quercy on Court bet. Kane & Baltic. A while back there was some discussion on why this restaurant seems so empty most (but not all) of the time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MShapiro
              f
              Fleur Oct 4, 2006 09:12 PM

              Good suggestion. We got a good recommendation from friends and have been meaning to try QUERCY.

            2. j
              jimmyjazz Oct 5, 2006 01:33 AM

              I'll second the Quercy rec. The best classic French bistro fare in Brooklyn, IMO. Great steak au poive.

              1. f
                Fleur Oct 5, 2006 08:59 PM

                The price of the a la Carte Menu at Chestnut is at least double the price of the $25 Prix Fixe .

                We are going to try QUERCY, but always use the CASINO as a fall back.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fleur
                  c
                  chow_gal Oct 5, 2006 09:17 PM

                  "Prix Fixe at Chestnut is at least double the price a la Carte"

                  That doesn't make sense. The PF gives you app, entree and dessert for - what is it? - $25? So if i decide not to do the PF and instead choose to order an app, entree, and dessert a la carte it will be $12.50?

                  That is incorrect. Do you mean HALF?

                  Do you mean HALF?

                  1. re: chow_gal
                    f
                    Fleur Oct 5, 2006 09:28 PM

                    Sorry, my error. Please see amended post.

                    View their menu here:

                    http://www.chestnutonsmith.com/

                2. l
                  like2spoon Oct 5, 2006 09:29 PM

                  Flatbush Farm just opened up on St. Marks and Flatbush. No lines, Huge space, Great food and atmosphere.

                  1. d
                    DeeDee Oct 6, 2006 06:07 PM

                    Well the food at the Heights Casino is mediocre (and that's on a good day) so I would recommend trying the following

                    Downtown Atlantic is one of my "go to" places because I find that the lines are not quite as bad and also eating at the bar there in my opinion is a better experience than at the tables because it's more lively and fun.

                    Park Slope

                    Stone Park Cafe
                    Tempo

                    Prospect Heights

                    Beast
                    Flatbush Farm
                    Sushi Gen

                    Williamsburg

                    Dumont

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DeeDee
                      f
                      Fleur Oct 6, 2006 10:06 PM

                      The food at the HEIGHTS CASINO is just fine. Besides, it is a great chance to use up your allotment and see your friends.

                    2. a
                      alisonford Oct 6, 2006 06:11 PM

                      Well, Dressler from Willamsburg is great and well worth the wait.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: alisonford
                        Bob Martinez Oct 6, 2006 06:58 PM

                        "Well, Dressler from Willamsburg is great and well worth the wait."

                        Which is exactly what the OP *didn't* want to do - wait.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez
                          f
                          Fleur Oct 6, 2006 10:09 PM

                          Exactly. The wait is the problem. IMO there is no restaurant worth a 30-60 minute wait.

                      2. jen kalb Oct 6, 2006 07:28 PM

                        I dont think there are very many Brooklyn restaurants that are crowded every weeknight - weekends, its another story. You really have to strategize, and I would always call ahead. Sorrel, Aliseo, Ici, Luz, LouLou and Convivium are EXAMPLES of restaurants you ought to be able to get into on a weekday evening.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jen kalb
                          f
                          Fleur Oct 6, 2006 10:07 PM

                          Thanks, Jen. We love CONVIVIUM. I was thinking more about those really good places like AL DI LA and NOODLE PUDDING and HENRY'S END that don't take reservations.

                        2. r
                          raybird Oct 6, 2006 09:15 PM

                          yes, i have often experienced the exorbitantly long lines at the most desirable restaurants in bklyn. it is a drag. my solution lately has been to make early-evening (like six or six-thirty) dinner plans at the high-volume restaurants like al di la, frankie's 457, and noodle pudding. i am also happy to sit at the bar to eat when it's just two of us, which makes it easier. aside from that, i don't know of any other strategies for dealing with it except to avoid the weekend rush, select a lesser restaurant in brooklyn, or go into manhattan.

                          1. r
                            raybird Oct 6, 2006 09:18 PM

                            you could also try little dishes in the south slope - it's pretty good and i don't think it's crazy popular yet.

                            1. t
                              tamara Oct 7, 2006 06:16 PM

                              We went to 360 last night--they take reservations, in fact you're supposed to reserve. We got a table at 8 as we were supposed to, dinner came along with no delays and was awesome--they had a special of duck with quince that was just fab, lovely pink slices and tart fruit.

                              1. j
                                J.T. Jan 13, 2007 01:03 PM

                                If you like private clubs and believe the Heights Casino is your only option in Brooklyn, think again. The Montauk Club in Park Slope is older than the Casino and -- dare I say? --classier. In any case, the club hired a new chef in the Fall and the food is fabulous these days. Last night I had artichoke fritters, fettuccine alfredo with bay scallops, and a French bread toast/vanilla ice cream/caramel concoction. My dining companions had a chicken cordon bleu and a Dover sole with salsa. The dining room at the club has good-sized portions, reasonable prices, no lines, and accessible membership rules. On top of that, they know your name.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: J.T.
                                  Steve R Jan 13, 2007 02:22 PM

                                  Yeah but they dont have squash or tennis courts :-)

                                  Honestly, I thought the Montauk Club had been converted to condos. They maintained the "club" within the building and have a dining room? I assume that you can only eat there with a member? Interesting.

                                2. j
                                  J.T. Mar 16, 2007 11:43 AM

                                  The top two floors are apartments with the first and second floors used as club space. There's a bar, restaurant, meeting rooms, and catering facilities. Yes, it's for members only but anyone can join the Montauk Club. See http://www.montaukclub.com/home.cfm

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