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Red Hook Smackdown

This weekend I went to 360, last weekend to The Good Fork. My personal Van Brunt face-off. And? Well its all Good fork going forward. Good Fork felt inspired, 360 tired.
Good fork; the service was great, the setting clean and comfortable. 360, well, 360 feels worn and a tad out of control. As for the food. The bread at the start is usually a dead give away. The Good Forks bread was some of the best I have ever had, and came with butter and bit of cheese. The bread at 360 was cold and a tad stale. I mean if you cant get the bread right. So it went throughout the meal.

360 was good, just not great. Good Fork was great.

Then there are the Bars. Sunny's has long been my favorite bar in Brooklyn. But last night it was overrun with hipsters. Geez, is there anything they wont ruin?
The other three bars, Bait and tackle, the one just a few doors north of bait and tackle, and Hope and Anchor are all wonderful bars with great music selections, cant the hipsters go there? Hmmm?

Its nice to see Red Hook getting some attention. You just wonder what happens should there be a nasty recession.

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  1. I've never been to Sunny's due to their really weird hours...only open 2 days a week after 8 or something? I can never remember when it's open. Too bad about the hipsters, but pretty predictable. We usually go to Bait & Tackle for their 2 for 1 special and nice bartenders. What did you like besides the bread at Good Fork?

    1. I've been to 360 about 7 or 8 times, most recently last summer. It's been good to very good on every visit. I think it's less about 360 being "tired" than you being tired of 360.

      And that's fine. I'm glad you liked Good Fork. Reviews on the board have been mixed. Could you give us some more details about what you liked?

      1. The food at 360 was tasty but not inspired. It had thought but not heart. For example, an endive salad with duck and hazelnuts was just some ingredients placed on a plate. Fine to eat (except the duck was a bit funky tasting), but lacking in depth. The monkfish cheeks themselves were quite tasty, the accompaniements fine, but not so overwhelmingly good in and of itself to warrant a trip to Red Hook. The steak was very good, but it was a steak. The bread pudding was yummy. I'm not saying it was a bad experience in any way, just lacking depth. As for service, the table was a bit ignored.

        The service at the Good Fork, however, was very amicable. My wife saw that they were lacking in house specialty drinks with vodka, and they very nicely whipped up a good blood orange cosmo for her. The chive and pork dumplings were wonderful, gaining flavour as they cooled. For the main course I had the steak with Kimchee rice. It was a much better cut of meat then I got at 360, and the rice was a nice different touch that worked very well. The cake at the end was rich without being cloying.

        Prunefeet. I agree on Bait and tackle.

        1. I have been to Good Fork 4 times. I will not be going again. Every time I have gone I get the vibe that they don't want people to linger. Once I called for a reservation for 2 at 5 and they said all they had was a table by the kitchen. We got there and the place was empty and remained fairly empty until 6:00 pm. Once I went by myself and the look of unease on their faces was palpable. I offered to sit at the bar and eat which caused them to visibly sigh with relief.

          Hello, Good Fork this is Red Hook, not Fifth Avenue.

          1. 360 is good, but the service sucks, and they are incredibly arrogant, which keeps me from ever wanting to return. The Good Fork is fresh, tasty, innovative, and cozy--the service is gracious, attentive without being obsequious, and warm. Can't say enough good things about it. I love dining in Red Hook and am thrilled that the restaurants that are opening there are at once culinarily daring and neighborly and cozy. My two cents.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kraw

              "360 is good, but the service sucks, and they are incredibly arrogant, which keeps me from ever wanting to return."

              360 is French and the classic American myth is that the French are arrogant. People see what they want to see. Just like the tourist that believes that "all New Yorkers are pushy and rude," when they finally come to the city expecting rudeness they always manage to find it.

              I've never had anything other than good professional service at 360. When I go to a restaurant I don't expect a warm embrace and a big wet kiss on the mouth. "Friendly" service makes me cringe - I've already got friends.

              At 360 I've always been seated promptly and I've never had the slightest service issue. When I've asked for help on the wine list it's been offered in a helpful way, fully responsive to our wishes as to style and price. But perhaps there's hope. Maybe the owner at 360 will read this thread and the next time I go I'll be greeted with - " 'Allo - my name is Pierre and I will be your server tonight."

            2. The guys at 360 might aspire to be French, but they are as American as a Ford Explorer. The food is good, if uneven--nothing spectacular, and yes, it is French. Thanks to Jacques Pepin and Julia Child, any old American can cook French if they have the passion and desire. And, no one, least of all, me, is looking to make friends in restaurants -- decent table-side manner will do. But whether you are a gourmand, or just a simple diner, it's not too much to ask for good, attentive service--it is an integral part of the dining experience. The guys at 360 have, in my experience, been consistently rude to me, and to my friends, when they've gone there, too.

              And, for what it's worth, in my frequent trips to Paris, I have found the service at every restaurant there to be impeccable. They take the restaurant biz very seriously there--incomparable, and any restauranteur there would laugh at an attempt to measure 360 against any bistro there, let alone a restaurant. In the times I've dined at 360, the chef and our waiter were hanging in the back slothlike, watching football, and couldn't be bothered to check on any of the tables to see if the meals and diners were ok, see if drinks need refilling, and dishing a whole lotta attitude if anyone asked for salt or pepper because they thought their food was already perfectly seasoned. the best restaurants everywhere, from per se in manhattan to saul in brooklyn, all have salt & pepper on the table. so, i'm glad you are given warmth and hugs at 360, but count yourself lucky. you are one of the few.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kraw

                "The guys at 360 might aspire to be French, but they are as American as a Ford Explorer."

                Pat Moynihan once said that every man is entitled to his own opinion but not his own set of facts. 360 has been positively reviewed by Eric Asimov in the Times, Andrea Strong, and Citysearch. They all confirm that the owner, Arnaud Erhart, is from Alsace. The co-owner and chef, Sebastien Smits, is from Paris.




                You misread my post - I do not get kisses and hugs at 360. I get good food and good service. The place had been written about extensively on Chowhound since it opened in 2003 and the reviews run about 8 to 2 on the positve side.

                If the service was consistently bad you'd figure they'd run the other way.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  I'll second that, the 1st time I went to 360, my wife and Smits had a nice chat, in French, mind you. He is French, as is the owner, who we did not meet that night.

                  We did not speak of Ford Explorers, by the way.

              2. Kraw
                The service I have had at 360 has been ok, nothing special. I do like 360, just think Good Fork is better. But then again Good Fork in newer. Not any different than the rule of thumb that places hit their peak closer to opening. For French I prefer Pit Stop on Colombia heights between RedHook and Atlantic avenue. The place is truly french; the owners work very hard and clearly love what they are doing, but the service by American standards is not as in your face. And you can play petanque.

                1. My mistake for screwing up facts. I'm genuinely sorry--not my usual M.O. That said, being French is no excuse for being rude, not at all. I would think most French people would be offended, just as I am offended when Americans are rude and obnoxious abroad, or even here at home.

                  I've had a good meal at 360, and one ok meal there. But never a memorable one. All I can say is, once The Good Fork opened in Red Hook, 360 looked less and less appetizing. . . . Pit Stop sounds nice. My curiosity is piqued. . .

                  1. There is an interview with the co-owner of the Good Fork on the NYT food blog of Frank Bruni.
                    I am very happy that RedHook has two new very good places to eat. I have been going to RedHook for about 15 years and its great to see the area gain another type of night life. Its close to that perfect spot: enough of a crowd to be interesting, but not so many as to be annoying. Enjoy it while you can......