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carroll gardens all-star chow finds

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so I'm dogsitting in carroll gardens (but interested in the surrounding, walkable area) for a week, and after combing the boards, I've already had over the past few days:

1. lard bread from mazolla's - great
2. pork sandwich from esposito's - really moist flavorful pork loin
3. rice balls and prosciutto balls from joe's superette - not sure which was which, but I liked the ricey yellow one better than the tomato-y one
4. nino's slice - meh
5. soul spot - fried chicken kinda bland, some sides good tho
6. custard pastry from oriental pastry - very good, not overpoweringly sweet
7. spinach pie from sahadi's - purty good, but too hectic there
8. fennel twist things from Caputo's - needed an extra 5 minutes in the oven, but good

on my to do list:
1. Chicory (any suggestions?)
2. went to Ferdinando's but it was closed on Sunday! (anyone know their hours?)
3. Fragole
4. Haven't hit Lucali's yet, but I will

anyway, if anyone can add to the above list, I've got a week left. any and all suggestions are welcome, thanks! Incidentally, I've been shopping at the two Met supermarkets in the area for kitchen basics, so any other grocers or speciality suggestions would be great too.

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  1. Chicory has GREAT fried chicken. I also like the fish po boy (can't remember exactly what they call it--The Whaler, perhaps?) Cafe on Clinton (at Warren) is just a nice local joint with solid food. French deli next door has some nice take-out possibilities. Ferdinando's on Union is a must for old time Sicilian, so go back! I personally like Sam's pizza on Court, but some people differ. Don't order anything other than the pizza. Newly reopened bakery on the same block as Esposito's has great cookies. Fried Calzone at House of Pizza and Calzone--the broccoli rabe and sausage one is yummy. Stinky Brooklyn on smith and Fish Tales on court are pricey but have excellent quality offerings.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carol Gardens

      wow. fried calzone with sausage and rabe? that's nuts and . . . next on my list. I saw the place earlier today when I was disappointedly waiting for Ferdinando's to open (never did) but it didn't look like anything special

      also, I dipped into that bakery next to esposito's but I didn't get anything, looked good tho and packed.

    2. Waterfalls for Middle Eastern. It's on Atlantic between Henry & Clinton, south side. I've liked everything I've had there. One of my faves is mhammara (sweet pepper dip). Get a container to go, pick up some fresh pita at Damascus Bakery (also Atlantic, near Sahadi...I'm particularly fond of the sesame pita) and you've got some fine noshing.

      Delicatessen on Clinton and Verandah, next to Cobble Hill Park. Excellent sandwiches. Fresh roasted ham, turkey, pork (I think) daily. Homemade ciabatta bread. Very good homemade hot and cold dishes, salads. Small but good cheese selection. The owner's French, and it really is more like an amalgam of a French charcuterie/cheese shop/etc. than a New York deli. Highly recommend, especially if you catch a warm, sunny day. I love to pick up a sandwich there, and have lunch in the park with a book or newspaper.

      I think Ferdinando's closes at 5:00, except for one evening. Seems like they started staying open one night until around 8:00, but I might have dreamed it. I usually go mid-week, early afternoon.

      1. "6. custard pastry from oriental pastry - very good, not overpoweringly sweet"
        Uh, what???? Am I missing something. Where is this place?

        I'd add:
        A cocktail from the Brooklyn Social Club
        If Fragole, go on their 1/2 price wine bottle night. Splurge a bit!
        Fatoosh on Atlantic for arabic. Not Carroll Gardens, but close.
        Paisanos meat market. Don't believe the hype on Staubitz. I love Staubitz but I also love Paisanos which is almost as high quality and easily 40% less price. And old school atmosphere.
        Tuesday or Weds $25 pre fixe at Chestnut- essential.
        D'amico coffee for , um...coffee.

        Have fun!

        So where is this Chinese bakery?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Larry Brooks

          Oriental Pastry is an arabic grocery/bakery on Atlantic, across the street from Sahadis. Nice people, good food.

        2. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/341239
          I bookmarked this excellent Carroll G thread
          that lard bread is so so so so good
          people were discussing another spot on Court (close to Union) that is reopened, and it would be worth trying the lard bread there...I find it hard to imagine anything beating Mazzola on that count

          In the Dept of Obvious: grocery-wise, you're pretty close to Sahadi's
          I see you've been there...if you can go during the week it's sooooo much more pleasant
          I love Sahadi's without the crowds!

          3 Replies
          1. re: pitu

            ya, sahadi's was out of control on saturday afternoon; I thought it was way too hectic; zabar-like. but I always thought it was a much smaller place.

            1. re: bigjeff

              you can get your number at Sahadi and then keep shopping. that makes it bearable. That and the guys are quick and good. though I was in there a week ago and just wanted sesame seeds - left when I found Id have to take a number.

            2. re: pitu

              I've seen the lard bread in a number of places, but the consensus seems to be mazzola's. it was very good and held in high regard for a reason.

              another thing I'm looking to pick up is sfogliatelle from court pastry shop; read about it in a separate bronx post and I always love that pastry.

            3. We have to have a moment of silence for the departed Joe Balzano's cheese store (Latticini Barese) on Union Street opposite Ferdinando's.

              They had the best mozzarella in the area.

              I was told they were offered a 'nice' amount of money to sell the building - it's is now occupied by a real estate agent. There goes the neighborhood.

              1. lentil soup from Zaytoon's

                2 Replies
                1. re: orzabelle

                  YES! This lentil soup is manna from heaven. We go and get two soups and two spinach pies (they make them fresh and can do it without cheese if you prefer), and leave stuffed. For under $20! And it's BYOB.

                  Personally, I prefer Zaytoon's spinach pie to Sahadi's....very different approach, with pita bread instead of filo, and with a lemony zing to the spinach.

                  1. re: goumandette

                    Sahadi's actually has both kinds. Filo and pita-esque crust. I prefer the latter. Sahadis are good but I have had better.

                2. Kefta kebab sandwich from Zaytoons too! you are also close to Stinky (cheese store) on Sackett and Smith.

                  1. - Can't believe no one has piped in with the fresh mozzarella from Caputo's on Court! Sometimes, if you get there at the right time, the cheese is still warm. Make sure you get it salted (where they dip the cheese ball in a vat of salty water) and just eat it right when you get out of the store. Other favorites from Caputo's include the mortadella rustica, which is mortadella with bits of proscuitto; honey goat cheese; their tomato focaccia bread, which is really like a doughy mini-pizza; and most of their homemade soups.
                    - I am still obsessed with the breakfast salad at Chicory - scrambled egg with greens, fried potato, cucumber and feta. Their wheat berry salad is lovely, and most of the sides, like roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower, are good choices.
                    - Cafe Scaramouche, way down on Court at Huntington, makes these dulce de leche sandwich cookies which are rolled in coconut. Totally addictive, melt in your mouth crumbly and sweet.
                    - Ferdinando's is wonderful, when you can catch them open! Thoroughly random hours those guys keep. I have always wanted to order their special sardine pasta, but I always get the panelle sandwich - a weird little chickpea flour fried dough thing on a roll that's been smeared with fresh ricotta and all baked together.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: janejane

                      caputo's and scamaurouche are a must! add a beer and bbq from pj hanley's on saturdays

                    2. completely agree with the endorsement of Caputo's for fresh mozzarrella. they also have great fresh pastas and homemade sauces as well as a solid cheese and cured meat selection.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jimmyjazz

                        Also their roasted artichokes!

                      2. If you're making something a little special, Stinky Brooklyn and Cobblestone Foods both have a bunch of hard to find ingredients that you won't find at the Met.

                        Cobblestone has duck fat for making confit, as well as french lentils, super-fancy olive oils and a great selection of cheeses. Talk to the cheese guy there (cheesemonger?) -- he really knows his stuff.

                        Stinky has some wonderful pate, fresh pastas and artisanal chocolate and cheeses. Both are considerably calmer and cleaner than Sahadi's, but also considerably more expensive.

                        And please do make sure to eat some pignoli cookies from Cammareri & Monteleone on Court -- they're delicious!

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: oolah

                          Cammareri & Monteleone on Court - that's the place people were making noise about for the lard bread. I find Mazzola to make the platonic ideal of what I want in lard bread (although I'd like it if prosciutto was avail, not just salami)
                          I'm not in the neighborhood often. Anybody make the comparison?

                          1. re: pitu

                            I will perform due diligence and try it out, pitu. the only thing I thought was amiss about mazzola's is that it was almost overdone by maybe 2 or 3 minutes so the crust came almost close to burnt. luckily it didn't, but I can imagine a version with a lighter crust that would be just as good.

                            1. re: pitu

                              I haven't tried this Cammareri's lard bread yet, but I always thought that the old Henry St. Cammarari's was much better than Mazzola's. Enough so that we occasionally made the trip out to the Cammareri Bros. on Bath Ave. to get some.

                              Today, our favorite is the round lard bread from the diNapoli bakery on Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburgh.

                              1. re: pitu

                                Considering how amazing the Mazzola version is, it is indeed hard to believe that anything could be better. I tried both (not side by side -- that would be too indulgent I'm afraid) within the space of a week, and it's really a tough call. They're different, really, and both quite good.

                                The Mazzola version is bigger, with nice chunky bits of prosciutto and a more regular italian bread shape. The C&M version is smaller, more crusty and more peppery with smaller bits of prosciutto baked in. I very much enjoy both versions.

                                1. re: oolah

                                  Where's the dis of Sahadi's? I can't seem to find one in this thread.

                                  1. re: HankyT

                                    "spinach pie from sahadi's - purty good, but too hectic there"
                                    and
                                    " out of control on saturday afternoon; I thought it was way too hectic"

                                    1. re: Larry Brooks

                                      Thanks, Larry.
                                      That's a slam? Sounds like a regular Sahadi's Saturday afternoon to me. And that's what makes the place so great. Considering the crowds and the size of the place, I think they do a pretty remarkable job at keeping order.

                                      1. re: HankyT

                                        oolah's post above says "...Both are considerably calmer and cleaner than Sahadi's". That was the "slam" referred to below by Fleur. Just sayin' (don't kill the messenger).

                                        1. re: HankyT

                                          I agree 100% . I was only quoting someone else, y'know.
                                          ; )

                                        2. re: Larry Brooks

                                          where does that have anything to do with cleanliness? maybe oolah's comment in comparison to Stinky? not understanding, maybe it was a post that got removed? I see below that Fleur responded to something, but I have no idea what that original post was, maybe that was it.

                                          as to my impression, ya it was pretty hectic, what can I say? nothing to do with hygiene, etc. strange.

                                      2. re: oolah

                                        Mazolla usually has salami instead of prosciutto in their lard bread. I wonder if they have both? Are you sure it was prosciutto? Much as I love the salami version, prosciutto is closer to my heart...

                                        1. re: prunefeet

                                          ya it was definitely salami. I guess I can scout for a great lard bread w/ prosciutto . . . wooo! that sounds delicious; oh, and I was gonna pick up an olive bread there also, but maybe I'll go the route of montelone and camareri instead . . . .

                                          1. re: prunefeet

                                            I always thought it was prosciutto cotto, or as we americans usually call it, ham. Didn't mean to get anyone overly excited -- I just got into the habit of calling it that because I've heard the folks at Mazzola refer to it as prosciutto bread.

                                            It's definitely not the thinly sliced kind, but big hunks of peppery pork meat. Yum. Although your version sounds like it would be delicious too!

                                            1. re: oolah

                                              Hmmm. The counterperson at Mazzola has corrected me to "lard bread", and it's def. salami. I wonder if they occasionally make a prosciutto or ham version . . . mmmmmmmmmm
                                              I think I've only had *that* version made by someone's aunt, with mozz in the mix....

                                              1. re: pitu

                                                I'm thinking you're right. Cause Oolah's description is certainly prosciutto, and what I have had is definitly salami, always. And I grew up on prosciutto bread, it's SO FREAKING good. And yeah, it was peppery.

                                      3. re: oolah

                                        SAHADI'S is spotlessly clean and extremely well run. They are professionals who have been in the business for 100 years.

                                        Think before you post comments like that. It could do a lot of damage to a family business that is impeccably run.

                                        1. re: Fleur

                                          I love Sahadi's, and shop there all the time for their can't beat anywhere variety and obscure ingredients, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination "spotlessly clean." And while it's well run, it's also very popular and, like the OP discovered, it can get a little hectic at peak hours.

                                          1. re: Fleur

                                            I agree. Sahadi's has to be one of the cleanest and best run food shops I've seen in the 5 boroughs and competes with anything of its kind in the whole country. Anyone who thinks Sahadi's is dirty must live in a glass house or only buys from Fresh Direct.

                                            Sahadi's- CLEAN.

                                        2. besides the sfogliatelle, the lobster tails at court pastry are great. Also, from what you described, not sure you had the proscuitto balls at joes--they have no rice and are peppery--v. good.
                                          caputos for fresh mozz and cold cuts and pasta, brooklyn bread for good (tho not traditional) bagels.
                                          esposito's pork store for sausages, staubitz for steak (try the newport), and paisanos for all other meats
                                          lucalli's is indeed excellent. go early.
                                          chance is good for chinese/asian. great deal for lunch

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: missmasala

                                            went to court pastry this morning around 8:30 but they said their sfogliatelle and other goodies wouldn't out for another hour and I had to head into manhattan for work, boo! and I was really looking forward to a coffee and pastry for breakfast.

                                            as for joe's "perette", not sure what happened, I ordered 2 rice and 2 prosciutto and what I got were: 2 that were very creamy, almost risotto-like filling which was light yellow for one set, and the other 2 that was almost like rice and peas with tomatoes, and a few small chunks of ground beef. so what did I get?

                                            I also hear that a regular old italian hero at esposito's is great too, with the works; I might have to get that for dinner / lunch the next day.

                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                              Yes the creamy ones were the prosciutto balls. There are pieces of prosciutto in the filling.

                                              1. re: bobjbkln

                                                there are three kinds of ball at Joe's: The tomato-based meat riceball, the cheesy and creamy riceball and the prosciutto ball which has a tart white inside mixed with prosciutto. The cheese ones are pretty creamy too (and my personal favorites)

                                                1. re: HankyT

                                                  a-ha! I must've been served the wrong ones then; I didn't like the meat rice ball so much, but I did like the creamy one. I'll have to go back specifically for the prosciutto balls.

                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                    I'm not crazy about the meat ones either. The prosciutto ones are good but pretty sharp. Tangy, you know? Something about those creamy cheese ones is just right: perfect crunch, warm cheezy interior.

                                                    1. re: HankyT

                                                      Does anyone ever experience those prosciutto balls at Joe's to be a bit cold in the center? That is always is a bit disappointing... but I don't really have the nerve to ask for them "well done" or something.

                                            2. re: missmasala

                                              i tend to prefer Monteleone's cannoli and lobster tails to Court Pastry...but I have to say while Ms was closed for the past year, Court Pastry hit the spot very nicely.

                                              Court Pastry makes to order birthday cakes that will knock your socks off -- layers of feathery light sponge cake filled with cannoli cream. The only competition to this cake is Buttercup Bakery.

                                            3. To pass on Ferdinando's would be the biggest mistake of your life. I think it's one of the very best places in the whole borough. Panelle Special, meatball parm hero, stuffed calamari, Manhattan Special Soda on tap!! (they say it's the only place in the city you can get it on tap, and it's delicious!). They're open until 9 on weekends, maybe even a little later on Saturday. I implore you to go there.
                                              While you're over there, you have to get a Schnackie with cheese at Schnack. They also have the best onion rings in town.
                                              Then there's the cheesecake at Monte's Venetian Room, which you really should try.
                                              I love The Fountain for ME food, great shish tawouk, baba is excellent and fried cauliflower is a must. It's not Carroll Gardens though.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: HankyT

                                                ya I was definitely trying to get there this past weekend, but it seemed to be closed on sundays, I waited at the coffee den until 1pm and called them repeatedly. hearing that they're open until 5pm on weekdays makes it a weekend destination (thankfully I'm there until next monday) this saturday for sure.

                                                and speaking of onion rings, was just going to ask about best onion rings in the area (I'm partial to both extremes: onion loafs or strings a la R.U.B. as well as 1" thick vidalias) so I'll give it a go. and right next door (so I read above) the broccoli rabe and sausage calzone at House of Pizza and Calzone.

                                                looks like saturday is shaping up to be heart attack day!

                                                1. re: HankyT

                                                  ate at ferdinando's yesterday; great food, great atmosphere; see my review below.

                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/384716

                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                    So glad you enjoyed the whole experience! I love this place. That arancina special will kill you...so good but what a gut bomb...huge...

                                                2. If you want something sweet to offset your salt fix w/ Mazzola's sublime lard bread, try their cinnamon raisin loaf. The raisins keep it moist for a little longer than your average loaf of bread, and, while delicious plain, toasted is even better, and, to gild the lily, use it as French toast.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cgchow

                                                    I love cinnamon raisin and actually use it for savory sandwiches all the time. I'll give it a go, thanks.

                                                  2. I had a sandwich of slightly aged gouda on raisin toast once in Amsterdam. It was mind-expandingly delicious. I also like tuna salad on raisin toast.
                                                    Schnack's onion rings are more the string variety. It's not literally next door to house of P&C, but it's on the same side of the street, same block. they say the beer shake at Schnack is also really good, though i've never tried it.

                                                    1. I have to agree that you must give Ferdinando's another try. I usually get the rice ball, but it sounds like you have covered that territory enough. The place is warm and friendly and I believe has been there for over 100 years? I may be exagerating, maybe it's 80, but it's a long time. Also, since Atlantic Ave has been mentioned, I have to recommend Yemen Cafe, which is I believe on the same block at Oriental Bakery...across from Sahadi's. My favorite items are the Yemen Special Fateh (?) which is a rich delicious lamb stew on top of shredded flatbread, that absorbs the flavors and gains a texture similar to thick homemade noodles. Ultra welcoming staff. And man, that lard bread at Mazzola, but you already know that.

                                                      1. youre getting around to many shops that most would NOT consider carroll gardens but anyway, def go to fragole. awesome food. good for dinner, tho. not really good for just kind of stopping by, yknow.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: ben61820

                                                          ya I've definitely been running the gamut of carroll gardens / boerum hill, etc., but since I have to walk this dog, its perfect! as to the restaurants, for sure they're not my chowish weekend multi-venue runs, but definitely planning a meal at lucali's and fragole's, maybe getting around to waterfalls as well.

                                                        2. oh hey all,

                                                          just want to thank all of you for inviting me into your hood; I didn't mention that I'm from queens and have traversed that borough from chowfind to chowfind, and glad to find a great little area here with tons of stuff. not to start an inter-borough war or anything, and of course I'm loyal to queens, but the area definitely offers some great food and great finds. thanks all for your suggestions, and keep 'em coming; I've got a week left!

                                                          33 Replies
                                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                                            if you go to fragole and like risotto, be sure to try it. they do a truffle one that is sometimes a special but they will make it for you if you ask.

                                                            I've lived in italy and love the risotto there but almost never order it in restaurants here because it's usually terrible--gummy or undercooked or somehow just bad. fragole does a good one. the decor of the place leaves something to be desired, but the food is simple and good. the pastas in general are good there.

                                                            also, once, just for kicks, check out le petit cafe down on court street. Get a coffee to go or something and take a look around at the decor. the place is over the top, with the sistene style painted ceiling, the toy train, and the garden with the cool tree fountains.

                                                            1. re: missmasala

                                                              ya saw le petit cafe maybe for brunch or something, didn't look like it had any serious meals; thanks for the truffle risotto tip, definitely gonna check that out.

                                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                                Eh, I say skip le petit if you are going for real food finds. It's a lovely neighborhood brunch spot, in the sense that it's a nice, easy place to go with a few friends. But it kind of ends there for me. Has anyone turned you on yet to the french toast at frankie's 457 (served only on weekends at brunch)? Absolutely amazing - do not miss!

                                                                1. re: janejane

                                                                  what a dilemma; should I brunch it this weekend, or just get out early and go houndin'? what a choice; I guess one of these weekend mornings could be brunch, and I was definitely thinking Frankie's. what's the twist to their french toast?

                                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                                    I wouldn't call it a twist on the old standard exactly, just a super high-quality rendition, made with very thickly sliced sullivan st bakery bread. It's not too eggy and never soggy (sometimes it even verges on being a bit *too* dry) and has a satisfying crunchiness to it, since the crust of the bread they use is so dark and crackly. A friend of mine who is equally obsessed with this dish asked the kitchen what they do exactly. They told her that they sprinkle the french toast with powdered sugar throughout its time on the grill, giving it a caramelized sweetness that is not too over the top. I always order it with two extra sides: bacon and the roasted sweet potatoes. A single piece of one of their softer cheeses is a nice accompaniment, too.

                                                                    1. re: janejane

                                                                      yes, I heard their bacon is off the hook as well; "the finest BLT" my friend says, and he's eaten a lot of bacon.

                                                            2. re: bigjeff

                                                              and the banh mi at hanco's down on bergen and smith aren't bad. the pork chop one is tasty. some people prefer nicky's on atlantic but i haven't made it over there yet.

                                                              if you make it to columbia street, there's dub pies (australian meat pies)

                                                              also, a little farther in red hook is defonte's sandwich shop. great heros--you can get fried eggplant on anything. tasty.

                                                              it's a shame you aren't here in nicer weather, because then you could experience the eating joy of the red hook ballfields.

                                                              1. re: missmasala

                                                                ahhhhh, red hook! since you're walkin' the dog and all, there's other places to be visited
                                                                Just on the other side of the BQE!

                                                                If the weather gets nice enough - and it is supposed to - Alma on Columbia St has a lovely roof deck. The place gets very mixed reviews here - it's upscale Mexican, and I like it just fine. They have a chipotle chocolate cake made special for them by the Margaret Palca bakery next door and only sold at Alma (dammit)
                                                                It is fab.u.lous.

                                                                And I keep hearing good things about the cheeeep lobster roll at the cafe at Fairway.

                                                                1. re: pitu

                                                                  And, speaking of Margaret Palca, she sells amazing ruggelah at her bakery on Columbia (between Sackett & DeGraw).

                                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                                    The cheeeeeep lobster roll at Fairway is the real deal. My wife (Boston-area born and bred, knows her lobster rolls) gave them her seal of approvals. Surely there are better lobster rolls out there, but this one holds its own no matter what price -- and the price can't be beat too. A good combo. Buy one and sit outside once it gets nice.

                                                                    1. re: pitu

                                                                      Just to not confuse our Queen's visitor, the area on the other side of the BQE where Alma is not Red Hook (RH is the area s/o Hamilton Ave.) . This area is known as the Columbia St. neighborhood and was considered part of Carroll Gardens before the construction of the BQE.

                                                                      1. re: bobjbkln

                                                                        the only area where I crossed over the BQE was at union street, just to get at ferdinando's, and also where I saw schnack and the house of pizza and calzone. is that area red hook? all the fairway stuff, etc., is that north or south of union?

                                                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                                                          Red Hook is south of Hamilton. Area you';re referring to is called Columbia Heigts by some.

                                                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                                                            It's a flexible border imho -- a search for "Red Hook" will get you the Columbia St corridor stuff, Baked/Alma/Margaret Palca, etc.

                                                                            Which reminds me of another Red Hook attraction,
                                                                            Steve's Key Lime Pies
                                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/341615

                                                                      2. re: missmasala

                                                                        as to the red hook soccer fields, yes! that's out of control. been there a few times, incredible eats. what's funny about brooklyn is that I know separate neighborhoods but I have a hard time connecting them geographically to each other. but this time, I am getting the relationship between the slope, red hook, carroll gardens, downtown brooklyn, etc.

                                                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                                                          i call the neighborhood on the other side of the BQE carroll gardens or carroll gardens west--that's the area between hicks and columbia from about warren to rapleye.

                                                                          After that, it's red hook to me. From union and columbia, the best way to get to fairway, baked, lenell's, and various other red hook places is to continue down union to van brunt and take a left.
                                                                          however, it's a looong walk. Red hook is a great place to bike around, tho, if you are so inclined.

                                                                          as to petit cafe, the only reason i mentioned it is because of the over-the-top decor. the food is average. that's why i suggested getting a coffee to go there. don't waste a meal on it, but it's worth eyeballing the inside and the garden just for Tommy's (the owner's) unique (and interesting) vision.

                                                                          1. re: missmasala

                                                                            So many things left off this list.

                                                                            1. The meatballs at Bocco Lupo. And the Sweet Sausage and rabe sandwich. And the vegtable plate. Wow.
                                                                            2. The pastas at Porchetta.
                                                                            3. Lucali pizza (btw, Sal's is the best slice joint).
                                                                            4. The chocolate and almond paste filled croissant at Provence en boite (also the baguettes).
                                                                            5. The Chicory brisket sandwich, dixie style.
                                                                            6. All the pastas at Frankies.

                                                                            And many, many more.

                                                                            Best eating neighborhood in New York, especially if you count the columbia street waterfront.

                                                                            1. re: PresStGuy

                                                                              Really, PresStGuy, on the Provence en Boite baguettes? I was so excited when this place opened b/c I've yet to find a decent baguette in the nabe, but was so, so disappointed with the result: neither crispy enough on the outside or chewy and airy enough on the inside. Maybe I was there on an off-day? Should I try again? I really want to give this place a chance.

                                                                              1. re: cgchow

                                                                                I have had good ones and bad ones...well, maybe 2 good ones and one bad one, which had been sitting around too long and was the last one...but it was the end of the day and they just don't stay fresh that long, so I didn't blame them. So far they are the best I have found in the area, please oh please let me know if you find better or even as good anywhere! Stinky is usually out of them...

                                                                                1. re: cgchow

                                                                                  I found out they get all their bread from TomCat bakery... but they say they "bake it themselves." Haha...

                                                                                  1. re: bluishgnome

                                                                                    Who does, Stinky or Prov en Boite?

                                                                                    1. re: prunefeet

                                                                                      Provence en Boite. Not sure where Stinky gets theres from another source, obviously... and they don't claim to bake their own bread. They're very honest people. (Stinky, not Provence en Boite.)

                                                                                2. re: PresStGuy

                                                                                  where is sal's pizza?

                                                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                    Sal's is on Court and Degraw

                                                                                    And yes. Try again with the bagettes. And try the croissants. Wow.

                                                                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                      Sal's is nothing to go out of your way for, IMO. But we all could bicker back and forth about pizza til eternity passes away. Am I right?

                                                                                      1. re: HankyT

                                                                                        definitely right. dropped by for a slice just because I happened to pass it; nice flavor on the sauce and cheese, thin floppy crust (which is okay) but served not room temp even though the guy said it just came out of the oven. it was aight. not bad.

                                                                              2. re: missmasala

                                                                                He's just going to have to come back. That's all.

                                                                                1. re: prunefeet

                                                                                  oh ya, for sure. even on my initial post, my sister was like, whoa, how did you eat all that in a weekend? it takes determination and strength of character (and belt). but really, great suggestions and much fodder for return visits. only thing I find lacking is great 24-hour or late-night eats in the neighborhood. its just bodega after bodega on each corner; I've been getting home late enough that I can't get at a lot of the food listed here except on the weekends; I'd love a great 24-hour restaurant or snack stand or even a pizza joint . . .

                                                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                    I think " Carroll Gardens Diner" which is actually in Cobble Hill on Smith at Bergen is 24 hours. I think their matzo ball soup is wonderful. VERY standard diner fare but dependable.

                                                                                    1. re: Larry Brooks

                                                                                      great rec! i love carroll diner. its NOT called carroll gardens diner, just so we're clear. great place tho. i grew up in NJ and this place takes me right back to the diners i was used to like the TICKTOCK in Clifton, NJ, etc. awesome place for after drinking, etc. not cheap tho. whew.

                                                                                      1. re: ben61820

                                                                                        Ben, I just had lunch there and now I'm reading your email. It is called Carroll Gardens Classic Diner, formerly Carroll Gardens Salonike Diner.

                                                                                    2. re: bigjeff

                                                                                      A lot of stuff closes oddly early in Brooklyn. I can't figure that out!! And sometimes places just don't open up, in bad weather or cause they don't feel like working I guess...

                                                                                      1. re: prunefeet

                                                                                        see this thread; same problem w/ lack of late-night dining in this area:

                                                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/379288