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Best restaurant in Brooklyn?

dogooder Nov 27, 2006 11:40 PM

Still Al di La or Tempo or Grocery? Any others?

  1. bobjbkln Nov 29, 2006 07:48 PM

    The Garden Café has to be somewhere in this mix.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobjbkln
      Fleur Nov 30, 2006 08:24 AM

      GARDEN CAFE is wonderful, if teeny tiny. An experience that leaves you feeling you are dining at a friend's home, albeit where the friend was a great chef.

      My only problem with GC is the very small limited menu.

    2. f
      Fleur Nov 28, 2006 11:50 PM

      The " best restaurant " means to me a real sit down restaurant, not takeout, where excellent food, good service in a nice setting combine to make a restaurant dining experience .

      Within those parameters, as good restaurants, I would place CONVIVIUM, PETER LUGER (which, as OP stated is as wonderful as ever for steaklovers), HENRY'S END , especially during Wild Game Festival, Al Di La, TEMPO, NOODLE PUDDING ( although we have found that consistently the food is better at HE.

      The best, RIVER CAFE .

      For many of us, dining in an excellent restaurant is a total experience. The food, service. ambiance, in a place where people make an effort to look presentable, the staff is helpful and courteous, and conversation can flow.

      For just great food, we eat home.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fleur
        josh L Nov 29, 2006 01:45 PM

        noodle pudding would be the best restaurant if it opened in dayton, ohio but in brooklyn- that's a stretch.

        1. re: josh L
          Fleur Nov 29, 2006 06:29 PM

          I listed NOODLE POODING as one of the very good restaurants, not the best. That place goes to RIVER CAFE.

      2. frenetica Nov 28, 2006 05:56 PM

        This thread pops up all the time in slightly different guises. It's impossible to settle anyway, given the massive size of Brooklyn and the physical and financial impossibility of eating at all the contenders. Throw in subjectivity and varying palates and you've got an undying thread that always contains too many references to Al di La & Luger's :(

        Whatever happened to desiring different foods at different times, and wanting different experiences according to mood? This thread always seems to me kind of anti-Chowhoundish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: frenetica
          livetotravel Nov 29, 2006 01:51 AM

          and anti-the-other-90% of Brooklyn not mentioned . . . how about Areo and The Pearl Room? How about Elia and the Tuscany Grill? Anyone been to Bay Ridge?

        2. f
          frankbooth Nov 28, 2006 05:21 PM

          Peter Lugers is not on the decline- we had a perfect meal there last week - table for 15! every different doneness of steak on the table from rare (raw) to medium well (pregnant ladies) and the steak was spectacular! great service, apps and sides delicious, kid friendly, it was superb! still reigning champ in my book- after that Blue Ribbon (consistancy, service), Applewood (quality, friendliness), and Difara (mastery, best pies in town, old school genius!). Special mention to Little Dishes (now Little D Eatery I think)- nice people, great food, reasonable.

          1. g
            gangly handful Nov 28, 2006 12:21 PM

            A strictly personal list:

            Applewood, Saul, Convivium, Al Di La, Tempo, Noodle Pudding, Frankies, Queen, Henry's End

            Still lamenting the loss of Taku.

            1. f
              Fleur Nov 28, 2006 08:30 AM

              Best real restaurant :: RIVER CAFE, PETER LUGER, CONVIVIUM

              1. d
                dogooder Nov 28, 2006 03:11 AM

                Thanks everyone.

                1. bigmackdaddy Nov 28, 2006 03:10 AM

                  Tommaso on 86th Street in Dyker Heights, Taro Sushi on Dean St. and Mr. Falafel on 7th Ave.

                  1. j
                    jimmyjazz Nov 28, 2006 02:02 AM

                    Saul, Applewood, 360; in that order.

                    1. amyleechen Nov 28, 2006 01:40 AM

                      Just made reservations at Saul for Christmas Eve (post Barge Music performance). They're doing a Feast of the Seven Fishes. Has anyone partaken in this at Saul? Sounds most intriguing!

                      1. JenMarie66 Nov 28, 2006 01:35 AM

                        My vote, w/out question, goes to Applewood.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JenMarie66
                          Peter Nov 28, 2006 09:22 PM

                          As made clear by many of my past posts, my vote goes to Applewood -- hands down.

                        2. m
                          MichaelZ Nov 28, 2006 01:02 AM

                          Agree, definitely not Grocery.
                          Beyond that, it depends. I like River Cafe, but it is a special occasion place. On Smith St., I think that Saul is the best. On Fifth Avenue, Tempo is my choice over Al Di La, mainly because being able to make reservations enhances the dining experience. And, don't forget the Queen on Court St - excellent food in a less-special room.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: MichaelZ
                            orleanslaura Nov 28, 2006 01:08 AM

                            Tell me more about Queen-- I've always been curious.


                            1. re: MichaelZ
                              oolah Nov 29, 2006 01:47 AM

                              I am also curious about Queen. I've heard people on this board say it's wonderful, but I've walked by it many times and never once been tempted to go in. I think it's a combination of the cheesy dining room, the classic (boring) menu and the location.

                              Queen-defenders -- what specifically do you like about this place?

                              1. re: oolah
                                gangly handful Nov 29, 2006 02:00 AM

                                For starters, the fresh mozzerella is out of this world. And I'd stick to the pastas. They're not like the Al Di La pastas somehow. Maybe the ingredients aren't as farmstand fresh. But they are perfect in their own way. Simple and familiar and executed really well. Just had the carbonara last weekend and it was stellar as usual. From my experience, they are also willing to prepare just about any pasta dish. They catered to my wife's infatuation with penne a la vodka, even though it's not on the menu.

                                FYI, if you ever call for takeout, which they do really well, make sure to ask for the specials.

                                1. re: gangly handful
                                  Greg Nov 29, 2006 02:20 AM

                                  The trick for eating at Queen is to stick to the specials menu. Their standard "red sauce" Italian is less than impressive.

                                2. re: oolah
                                  Steve R Nov 29, 2006 12:16 PM

                                  Since you asked:

                                  Went 11/18. The bread basket was fresh and varied. Breaded and fried homemade mozz. w/anchovy and wine sauce still amazes me, very nice chicken livers, gnocchi w/wild boar sauce that was light but with lots of cubes of tasty boar meat and a fried calamari/ zucchini/mushroom mix that had no extra grease and lots of flavor (& salt) made for a great start w/our first bottle of barbera d'asti(?...you know me and wines...not a clue). The entrees we all ordered were simple but very nice... 2 chicken parms w/pasta sides, my lasagna (this is the standard I use to compare other places' product), and one veal scallopini w/some green or other and some very hot looking red peppers all went well with the 2nd bottle of wine. One dessert of a whole poached orange, with candied orange rinds, homemade vanilla bean gelato was enough for the 4 of us. A couple of espressos and a cappucino. Approx. $135/couple and well worth it.

                                  Need to go back soon. I like the place.

                                  1. re: oolah
                                    Fleur Nov 29, 2006 06:28 PM

                                    The Daily Menu, printed on a separate page is unusual, and offers many classic Italian dishes not found in your local "red sauce" Italian restaurants.

                                    Sort of like Babbo, with no atmosphere and not hip.

                                    Try it, the food is wonderful.

                                    1. re: Fleur
                                      oolah Nov 29, 2006 09:26 PM

                                      Wow, thanks everyone. I'll pay them a visit in the next few weeks. As a big fan of DiFara's, I know appearances can be deceiving, so I had to ask :)

                                      1. re: oolah
                                        Steve R Nov 30, 2006 01:32 AM

                                        And there's even a connection. Queen is a very old place in a new location. It used to be a block away and had it's own pizza place next door to the restaurant (movie theater/Barnes and Noble block). When you're in DiFara's, ask Dom where he worked before he opened his own place 40something years ago.

                                        1. re: Steve R
                                          Bob Martinez Nov 30, 2006 02:04 AM

                                          Show off. :-)

                                3. n
                                  Nehna Nov 28, 2006 12:12 AM

                                  Definitely not Grocery.

                                  My votes would be for Saul, Al Di La, or Convivium. Chestnut close behind. Never been to Tempo so cant comment.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Nehna
                                    josh L Nov 28, 2006 02:26 PM

                                    I thought about this for a while and while I love places like Applewood, Rosewater, Al Di La etc I'm not if they cook up anything as good or chow worthy as the pizza at DiFara's and the steak at Peter Lugers.

                                    1. re: josh L
                                      Nehna Nov 28, 2006 04:05 PM

                                      Isnt the consensus getting to be that Peter Lugers is on its way downhill? Sadly I still have yet to get myself over to try it (the reservation difficulty is tedious), but I've had a hard time getting myself to go as many mediocre reviews as I've seen lately on this board. Is it still 'that' good?

                                      1. re: Nehna
                                        Bob Martinez Nov 28, 2006 04:17 PM

                                        I discount most of the downhill alerts I read on the boards, especially when they are written about well established places. People *love* to be the first with one of these. It shows they are somehow more perceptive and discerning than the common lot. I remember a brief flurry of negative posts about Sripraphai recently, all of which amounted to nothing. The place is still great - 4 meals in the last 5 weeks confirmed it.

                                        Sometimes kitchens have occasional problems. Sometimes a specific dish can be off on a given night. And sometimes the problem is just in people's heads.

                                        Of course if a reputable poster like yourself said something like this I would sit up and listen but lots of those random negative posts have no credibility at all.

                                        1. re: Bob Martinez
                                          Nehna Nov 28, 2006 04:52 PM

                                          Fair enough point - what's your personal take on Peter Lugers? Worth the hassle to get a rez? We do love our steak and its certainly not far that from Cobble Hill......

                                          1. re: Nehna
                                            Bob Martinez Nov 28, 2006 05:45 PM

                                            I haven't been awhile and have been meaning to get back. People I trust tell me it's still very good but can have off moments. I wonder sometimes whether any place can compete with it's own reputation, particularly when it's an ingredient based restaurant like Luger's. There's always the danger of the Good Old Days syndrome where today's meal is compared with mythic perfection.

                                            I can tell you this - I had a wonderful Delmonico steak at City Hall last Saturday night. That was no myth. :-)

                                            1. re: Bob Martinez
                                              scooter Nov 28, 2006 06:53 PM

                                              I did get the impression, based on the chatter here, that one of their claims to fame, namely hand-picking and ageing all their own beef, was no longer true. Am I mistaken?

                                              1. re: scooter
                                                Bob Martinez Nov 28, 2006 09:11 PM

                                                To my knowledge the meat selection process at Luger's remains the same. If somebody tells you otherwise, ask them to quote their source.

                                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                  Deuce Nov 29, 2006 12:25 AM

                                                  Of course Peter Luger's is worth the wait for a rez. It is still hands down the best steakhouse in NYC -- from a variety of perspectives -- in spite of the occassional hiccup. I couldn't agree more with Bob. The bacon appetizer and porterhouse are still legendary and still unbeatable in my mind.

                                                2. re: scooter
                                                  Scagnetti Nov 29, 2006 08:06 PM

                                                  It wasn't long ago that I saw a TV magazine story on Peter
                                                  Luger's and one of the segments showed a daughter of the
                                                  owners at a meat wholesaler marking sides of beef for
                                                  purchase by the restaurant. She discussed what she looks
                                                  for in beef to make it Peter Luger worthy.

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