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Busy Chef in Brooklyn Heights

We've tried Busy Chef:

The idea of The Busy Chef, at 60 Henry Street, is one to be applauded. Regardless of one's culinary prowess, real life often gets in the way of a homemade meal. The Busy Chef would like us to buy our entrees and desserts there - especially given that they stress that all their baked goods are made on premises. Like we said, the IDEA is one to be applauded. They sell pre-cooked food. Great IDEA.

The initial quagmire is a lack of heating directions. Admittedly basic, but it's something that should be included with each entree.

In their absence, BHB put its state-of-the-art microwave in "reheat sensor," thinking that the most logical option.

The first course for BHB included, vegetable lasagna, smoked chicken quesadilla and mini spinach quiches. The veggie lasagna brought mixed reviews from our crowd, some thought it not lasagna at all, some thought with more cooking time, it would have been fine. The chicken quesadilla offended no one, but the spinach quiche tasted too sweet as opposed to savory.

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  1. I just dont get the concept. The food looks (and from your blog, sounds) pretty poor. I know people are busy but how hard is it really to knock together a healthy meal with some fresh ingredients on your own? Certainly will taste better. That tuna could have been picked up at Fish Tales and gone from raw to on your plate with a nice sear in a couple of minutes. Making some rice to go with and steaming a veg is about as simple as it gets.

    If I'm really in a hurry I'd rather get some cooked from delivered to me from nearby vs. microwaving something like this. Just dont get it.

    1. I don't really get it either. I'm all for prepared foods, but Busy Chef feels sort of depressing inside. All you can see is plastic boxes of mediocre-looking food. Maybe if there was better ambiance or something actually displayed to draw customers in? I went in on Saturday morning and couldn't find one thing that looked good to me. I get prepared stuff at Lassen & Hennigs often -- it's not amazing but the place just has a different vibe to it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JennS

        Point is, everything that has occupied that space for the last 6 years has felt sort of depressing, has been the type of place no one really gets. It makes you wonder whats up.....

        1. re: driggs

          Right. But then we have a great little French restaurant (Le Petit Marche) come in and because they have good, classic food, a pleasant ambiance and friendly service, they're as packed as Noddle Pudding or Henry's End! So the neighborhood can support a GOOD place. I don't understand what all these other places are doing -- it's like amateur hour.

          1. re: JennS

            well, Le Petit Marche is not part of that complex. I believe the owner of the building is a different person.

            1. re: driggs

              Le Petit Marche is an outstanding restaurant. The husband and wife team that runs it are true professionals, and it shows. The room is attractive and welcoming, the food delicious, and the service professional.

              There was a lovely article about them in a recent issue of The Brooklyn Paper. They are locals, he from Brooklyn, she from Queens, or is it vice versa?

      2. The place is incredibly unappetizing.

        The baked goods like OK, but the food presentation is, quite frankly, just awful.

        Everything is pre-packaged in plastic clam shell containers. No tasting allowed!

        There are quite a few options for ready made food on Brooklyn Heights. Lassen and Hennig and Garden of Eden have a large variety of prepared food . You can taste before buying, and buy exactly as much as you wish. Some things are better than others. Cranberry's right next door has some very nice dishes.

        At L&H the vegetable lasagna is excellent, as are the salads . The Chicken Waldorf Salad is delicious, and the Rosemary potatoes and garlic tomatoes are a great addition to a meal.

        At G of E, the salads are nice, as are some of the Chicken and vegetablle dishes. Everything is very fresh and attractively presented.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Fleur

          Not sure I'd agree with the baked goods. I went in this weekend and asked for a blueberry muffin. I came across a single blueberry in the muffin and the whole thing just disintergrated as I tried to pull it apart.

          1. re: PeteinDumbo

            I hate to pile on here, but I have to say that BusyChef does not appeal to me either. Believe me, I WANTED to like it because not many places are open for lunch on Henry Street, and I work near there. (Henry's End, Petit Marche, Noodle Pudding are all closed for lunch; Palmira's is closed for good; that leaves Fascati's, Iron Chef, Clark's diner and a couple of others.) I had a good cheese cake thing at Busy Chef, but the pre-prepared sandwiches and entrees looked mediocre. Oh well.

            1. re: PeteinDumbo

              I said they looked OK. Nothing in the place looked tempting enough to try. Besides, Cranberry's next door has great scones and muffins.

          2. I haven't yet tried the food, so I can't say if its truly good or not, but those black plastic containers with refrigerated precooked meals inside, and the breakfast sandwiches in the clear plastic containers, all needing to be heated in a microwave, do not come across as particularly appetizing. It actually makes me think of an airline food service operation. The desserts look pretty good, though.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bosox

              I don't think they are doing very well. Not at all surprising; the food is mediocre at best, and is very overpriced.

              The other neighborhood options for prepared food, Cranberry's right next door, Garden of Eden, and Lassen and Hennig have very good food, very fresh, beautifully presented, at a much more reasonable price.

              My prediction is they don't make it through the Summer.

              1. re: Fleur

                While in a hurry, I picked up a salad at Busy Chef a couple of weeks ago.

                The good: They're running a special-- buy a sandwich and get a salad free (or vice versa.) So, for $5, I picked up a chicken caesar salad and eggplant parmesan wrap (the least unappealing looking sandwich).

                Unfortunately, the combo wasn't worth even the discounted price. The salad was a few pieces of lettuce, soggy croutons, bland grilled chicken and pre-packaged Kraft (I think) dressing. The sandwich was so salty that it was nearly inedible.

                Even if the prepared foods at Lassen and Garden of Eden are mediocre and/or over-priced, it's worth the trek over to Montague St instead of bothering with Busy Chef.

                1. re: andrewr

                  Lassen & Hennig is now doing Salad prepared to order. Freshly mixed right before your eyes. Pretty much the same thing they do at their restaurant Monty's. It is quite good, and the price is reasonable.