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Dine In Brooklyn restaurant's menus

I went to Blue Ribbon last night for the first night of DIB. The choices were: Starter-Beet Salad or Butternut Squash soup. (My wife and I both went for the soup. Very light and creamy with toasted butternut seeds). The entree was: Lamb shank with haricort verte, mashed potatoes or roasted salmon with asparagus, mashed potatoes and shoe-string potato. The lamb shank was excellent. Not too fatty and the demi-glace was so good you could drink it with a straw. The salmon was good but not out of this world. The shoe-string "crisps" were a little too much coupled with the mashed potato but they were highly addictive. The desert was a crunchy, chewy chocolate bread pudding with a scoop of ice-cream.

The manager came over and asked how we were, the staff were very friendly (but you can tell they want a quick turnaround since our soup came before our wine). All in all, not a bad way to start the event.

Where else have people gone?

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    1. Just went to Stan's Place tonight for the first time because I saw it for the first time next to Bacchus.

      Appetizers:
      - Piquante Salad - greens, sweet corn, tomato, onion, and some other ingredients. My friend liked it, but didn't finish it... not a big greens eater, I guess.
      - BBQ Shrimp with Grits - ONE (1) shrimp, sliced in half over a cup of grits drowned in BBQ sauce. Good sauce, ample grits, but the dish felt like it was lacking something... like shrimp.
      - Crab Stuffed Zucchini - They ran out of that for the day... so I didn't get to try it...

      Entree
      - Gumbo - TWO (2) shrimps (because it's an entree), some other seafood... and dirty rice. The gumbo itself was good. But why combine it with dirty rice? White would have made the dish.
      - BBQ Braised Short Ribs - Very well made, fork tender boneless ribs that kind of lacked a bit of beefy umph, but still good.
      - Southern Fried Chicken - No one at my table had it, but from the looks of it from the other table, might have been a good choice. The lady finished it all.

      Dessert
      - Banana Bread Pudding - Kinda dry... not sure if this place is known for its desserts anyway.
      - Fresh Market Beignets - Although highly and enthusiastically recommended by our server, I thought it sucked. Very chewy, not fluffy enough... little tough squares with a thick coating of powdered sugar.

      Had the Turbo Dog (beer) and enjoyed it to the last sip.

      The server wasn't too attentive and too slow with serving, but had a terrific attitude and made us laugh a few times.

      All in all, a good time for a good price, but only because it's restaurant week.

      1. Applewood - overall very pleasant, although nothing made me keen with ecstasy - and I *did* try some pork belly
        (ha)
        the DIB menu is on their website - I'd recommend sticking to the Prix Fixe
        soup or salad starter - the rock shrimp "extra menu" was pretty unremarkable
        all the entrees are tasty - gorgeously mushroomy risotto, a fine bit of duck breast, or fish (some will find the fish portion ungenerous)

        It's all very rich, but I'm afraid nothing *popped*, with the exception of the vanilla-infused bread pudding that was wildly popular at our table.

        And of course their regular menu cocktails are great...Applewood makes some very interesting and flavorful cocktails - a super salty savory martini that pairs rather nicely with the lovely comp spreads they start you with, some infused syrup delights . . .

        The service was very sharp - they are prepared for restaurant week!

        1 Reply
        1. re: pitu

          I totally agree with pitu. Nothing mindblowing, but it was a very nice meal. I really recommend paying a little extra for the lemon curd. It was quite creamy but refreshing after all of the rich entrees.

        2. Pastoralia, I'm trying to choose a restaurant for a trek out to Brooklyn for the DIB. I'd love to go to Blue Ribbon, but they won't give reservations to small parties. I'm curious: did you have much of a wait, and does one wait indoors, or outside?

          6 Replies
          1. re: Lady Grey

            Don't trek without reservations! Many DIB restaurants are packed during the promotion and are fully booked for the duration of the promotion. Without reservations, you might have some luck with seats at the bar at one of several places.

            1. re: Lady Grey

              Lady Grey,

              We went on Monday night around 8:30 and even though the place was packed and the bar was full we were seated right away. My thinking at the time was. "If Blue Ribbon is packed we'll go somewhere else like Cocotte or Belleville which are very close." I'd recommend either of those places (people may disagree) but I think Belleville is like stepping into a Paris bistro (really beautiful space) and Cocotte (also French)...I don't know why Cocotte isn't loved more. Everyone is very sweet and the food is pretty good (the burger is amazing). They also have a cute bar in the back.

              I guess what I'm saying is...since it's not freakin' sub zero out anymore c'mon over, bring your DIB list and wander around. 5th Avenue has lots to offer. Even if your dinner isn't Babbo-quality good (for that in Park Slope- go to Al di La, Applewood, or Comvivium) you can wash away your sorrows at Great Lakes, Loki, The Royale, Bar Reis, Commonwealth, or Buttermilk just to name a few cool places for booze.

              1. re: pastoralia

                Cocotte is loved! Search this board and I think you'll find generally favorable remarks (a couple of grumbles about changes in personnel a few months back). Why isn't Cocotte more popular? I think precisely because it's un-Babbo-like, as you justly put it.
                Al di La, Tempo, Blue Ribbon,Stone Park, Convivium? All considered "chic" by Park Slope standards. Cocotte? Just consistently good, well-presented bistro fare.
                Their prix fixe, BYOB and two-for-one nights are just icing on the gateau.

                As for Belleville, this place hasn't been authentic French since the original owners sold it. You can buy a zinc bar, posters, labels from French bottles and coat hooks from Paris, but the food is barely passable. Stick with Cocotte.

                1. re: famdoc

                  All I know is everytime I walk by or eat at Cocotte it's half full or empty. I want it to succeed too. People...go to Cocotte! And I like Belleville. The food isn't amazing but I still think it feels pretty French (and it's more than distressed mirrors and coat hooks). The next time you're there- really look around. Some real love went into decoarating that place.

                  1. re: famdoc

                    I had a good brunch at Cocotte with my wife and sister in law. We were (for "some odd reason") seated in the dark corner all the way in the back even though there were two other well lit four-tops open... but lets not get into restaurant prejudices and practices ;)

                    Anyway, the hangar steak was well cooked and tasty. Mimosa was bubbly. Prices were fair. The only other place I've had a better brunch was at Le Petit Cafe out on Court St & Luquer (?). They just built a beautiful backroom and, by the looks of it, are expanding it further. Great prices as well! Worth a try if anyone's out and about in that area.

                  2. re: pastoralia

                    Thanks for your reply - and all the related replies from others. I figured we'd show up at Blue Ribbon very early. Around 6:30, maybe. They were very nice when I telephoned, and although naturally they can't predict, they figured it shouldn't be so very bad on a Monday. Under normal circumstances, I will not wait in line for much of anything, but I thought, well, it's a special case, a great place, and decent weather.

                    Thanks also for the mentions of nearby places in case we have problems (since I don't know the neighborhood). One difficulty is that very few of the Brooklyn places seem to have their menus on-line, in contrast with Manhattan - because I'm trying to focus on the high-end places that make DIB a bargain. But I'm particularly interested in Cocotte's two-for-one, so I'll have to try and find out about that.

                2. I went to Five Front last night and was disappointed. I've had good meals there before (both from previous DIB menus and from the regular menu), but this was just...lacking in flavor. I had the lamb meatballs with lemon sauce, which were decent but lacking in nice meaty flavor, almost like turkey meatballs. Followed it up with the pan-sauteed perch over peas and yellow and green beans. The beans weren't bad -- crispy and tasty. But the fish itself was bland, so was the potato cake it came with.

                  Got to the hazelnut chocolate cake with caramel sauce for dessert and thought, "Okay, my meal wasn't so great, but the dessert will be good, it's always good here." It wasn't. Again, it was just eh for me. I was really hoping for more rich chocolaty flavor out of the cake.

                  So, I wasn't thrilled. I had a much better DIB meal the day before at Waterfront Ale House -- very tasty house-made smoked salmon, a big ol' burger, and their excellent bread pudding with whiskey sauce. Not good for the waistline, but very good on the taste buds!