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Carroll Gardens: New to the neighborhood. . .what are my staples?

Looking for:

Wine Shop (Currently digging Smith and Vine's $10 and under table)
Bread Shop

Thai (Nine-D was pretty tasty)
Latin (Can be Mexican, South American, etc.)

Casual Meals:
New American
Everything Else?

Nice Dinner Out:
Heavy hitting neighborhood restaurants (Good wine, food and ambiance)

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  1. For casual meals, Frankie's 457 for really good Italian and Joya for solid, though unspectacular Thai. They both have great atmosphere, IMO.

    1. General-purpose butcher: Los Paisanos, Smith @ Bergen (not Carroll Gardens, technically, but within walking distance)
      Pork, sausage, prepared Italian dishes, etc.: Esposito & Sons, Court @ President
      Wine shop: Smith and Vine is great, but try Scotto's on Court Street (b/w Degraw and Sackett) as well
      Bakery/bread shop: Mazzola, Henry @ Union

      Welcome to the neighborhood!

      3 Replies
      1. re: brooklynr

        I second Mazzola. Try the lard bread, amazingly delicious!

        1. re: prunefeet

          We bought some lard breads and a semolina twist from the new Cammerari/ Monteleone partnership on Court (very friendly, very nice place) and have been eating them all weekend wondering why we didnt go the 2 blocks to Mazzola instead. No comparison... very little taste from these. Oh well. Mazzola's, definitely.

          1. re: Steve R

            I just can't see improving upon Mazzola's lard bread somehow!

      2. Welcome to the neighborhood. Can't speak to every category, but here are some thoughts:

        Wine shop: agree re Scotto's though I like Smith & Vine

        Delivery: Em Thai, Zaytoons, Chicory & Pita Grill (for salads or turkey burgers) are my staples. Joya is good too but sometimes hard to get through on the phone.

        Casual meals: Paninoteca, Cafe Cubana, Cube 63 (best sushi in hood in my opinion, a touch pricier than some but worth it) (all of the above deliver)

        Nice dinner out: Lunetta is my favorite of late (not v. expensive, but a little pricier than most in the hood); Chestnut.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LJW

          Good list from LJW.

          Smith and Vine is my standby choice.

          For delivery, I'd add Chance for dim sum, Layla Jones for pizza.

          Casual meals, Chance works well too in this category. Sample for small plates of cheese, meats, wine.

          Nice dinner - Lunetta is a favorite of ours too, but we also like the new Po, Frankies, Saul.

          Burgers - I've had good ones at Apt 138, Bar Tabac, Waterfront.

          Closest great steak i know of is Convivium Osteria, not a bad walk on a nice day.

          1. re: LJW

            Cafe Cubana has a great Cuban Sandwich. Super delicious and their prices are right.

          2. Osaka on Court is worth checking out too. There have been some mixed reviews on here, but most of the bad reports are from people who don't like the sushi. But Osaka's strength is their prepared hot dishes. Go for the appetizers and entress and you'll see why they are a Michellin Recommended restaurant. (The sushi isn't bad, but it's not the best and a little too Americanized in portion size.)

            272 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

            1. Province En Boite on Smith has wonderful pasties too. It's a great place for coffee and a patry in the morning. I haven't had their meals, but the place is nice and the staff was very friendly.

              272 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              Provence en Boite
              263 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              1 Reply
              1. re: sgwood415

                Just a word about Province en Boite. I went to their brunch recently. The food was really tasty--very fresh salad with nice lettuce, pancakes with fresh berries. But you'd better not be too hungry. The portions are delicately sized. I think you're supposed to order multiple courses.

              2. best butcher in brooklyn is staubitz (although technically in cobble hill, it's an easy walk).

                restaurant-wise, carroll gardens has two places that are among the best of their kind in all of nyc -- frankies 457 and lucali's pizza

                1 Reply
                1. re: playscape

                  i used to go to staubitz, though these days I prefer Los Paisanos. That said, it depends what I'm after, I frequent both. I tend to buy my poultry (whole chickens, duck legs/breasts) at Staubitz. And tend to buy steaks, sausages, bacon at Los Paisanos.

                2. Butcher: Staubitz has really great quality stuff and is closer to CG. Los Paisanos is good too, esp for wilder weirder stuff, but a longer walk. Esposito has AWESOME sopressata.

                  Wine Shop: Smith & Vine is a great wine geek wine store. The owners really know their stuff and can make really good recommendations, particularly with French wines. Agree that the $10 table rocks. My current fave is the CDR they've got out now. Scotto has a wider selection of California wines, but their selection is more hit or miss. Heights Chateau for Aussie and New Zealand wines.

                  Bread Shop: Mazzola is the best locally baked. Cobblestone foods carries Sullivan St Bakery breads, which are also very good.

                  I can't recommend any delivery in this hood -- CG is an eat out or cook neighborhood IMHO.

                  For casual, don't miss Lucali for the best pizza in NYC outside of Dom's, Paninoteca for great sandwiches, and Luluc's pulled pork sandwich.

                  For a nice dinner, we've really enjoyed Le Petite Crevette lately, despite their shitty service. It's BYOB and the grilled fish is fantastic. We also love Saul for the food, wine and atmosphere.

                  Petite Crevette
                  144 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  Staubitz Market
                  222 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  Paisanos Meat Market
                  162 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  G. Esposito and Sons Pork Store
                  357 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  Smith and Vine
                  246 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  Scotto's Wine Cellar
                  318 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  Heights Chateau
                  123 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  Mazzola Bakery
                  192 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  Panino'teca 275
                  275 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                  Cafe Luluc
                  214 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  140 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  1. Excellent recommendations everyone, thanks! Looking forward to trying all of these. I did make it to Los Paisanos on Sunday (a bonus since it seems to be the only butcher open on Sundays) and got some good stuff. Looking forward to exploring the new hood.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: chowcito

                      Fresh Direct has better meat than Staubitz which is very over-rated - been there approx. 10 times and never had quality meat. Mazzola is inconsistent, but the best there is. Smith & Vine hands down over Scotto's. I never tried the sushi from Osaka but the beef dish I had tasted like dog food. Cafe Cubana is pitiful.

                      Good delivery - Joya (Thai), Savoila (pizza), Zaytoons (Middle Eastern), Chance (Chinese/French)

                      Eating out - Frankies 457, Fragole, Chestnut, Jolie, Saul and Grocery (Cobble)....Crave also used to be good to great (depending on night) in Carrol Gardens but haven't been in a while.

                      1. re: nitsujwolrah

                        While I prefer Los Paisanos as posted, I can't see what you didnt like about Staubitz. Anything I've had there was always of high quality, especially their whole chickens from Canada.

                        I've only ever had sashimi and sushi at Osaka---my first visit was superb and where I first fell in love with white salmon. Second visit they seemed to be out of half of their fish on a thursday night and that seemed pretty odd...and therefore nothing seemed as good as the first visit. I agree that there's nothing that recommends visiting Cafe Cubana.

                        Joya, however, is about as overrated as it gets in our neighborhood. 'Em is really the only Thai worth having in the area.

                        Grocery and Jolie are also overrated and Chestnut, sadly, seems to be slipping.

                        1. re: Nehna

                          Agree -- regretfully -- re Chestnut, had dinner there recently and the service and food weren't as wonderful as they usually are. However, I'm hoping that this might be a summer lull -- I'm not ready to give up on them yet. The set price Tues. and Wed. menus are still a great deal -- there are pricier places in the nabe w/ food and service that's subpar to even a bad night at Chesnut. I eat sushi and sashimi regularly at Osaka and find it consistently good and fresh. Nothing earth-shattering, but a good value for $.

                          We've recently re-discovered Bar Tabac and are really enjoying it -- after a few years of giving it a rest. Service is iffy but they seem to mean well, and the food is v. comforting.

                          1. re: cgchow

                            We've always been Chestnut fans even when we lived in the city -- and are looking forward to the prix fixe offerings during the week now that we're so close.

                            Does anyone know what's going on with the "Farmer's Market" on Carroll? Is it there on a temporary basis or is it there to stay? Haven't seen anything worth stopping for yet. Anyone else have a different impression?

                          2. re: Nehna

                            I feel these rumblings of Chestnut's demise are greatly exaggerated. Admittedly, I am a regular, but I have had several stellar meals there of late. There is a new pasta dish with clams, a delicious white wine sauce, chorizo and fresh herbs. A few weeks ago I enjoyed some of the best braised short-ribs I have ever had served alongside a mouth-watering potato gratin. The pansotti with chestnut filling, herbs, and braised shallots has been quite addictive. They even offered a Navy bean soup that hit the spot on a chilly night last week.

                            As Steve R mentioned in another thread, even the best of restaurants can have an off night. From my perch at the Chestnut bar, they are raising their food to a higher level of quality and execution. Don't miss out.

                            1. re: Rodrigo

                              My issues was a few off meals, not one. But I would be thrilled to hear that things were improving. I used to look forward to meals at Chesnut.

                              1. re: Nehna

                                Your point is well taken. Because I've had so many memorable meals at Chestnut lately, I wanted to call attention to a recent burst of tastiness across the board. Thank you for being open-minded, Nehna.

                      2. Don't forget Stinky Bklyn, a fairly new fabulous cheese shop, owned by same folks who own Smith & Vine, and diagonally across the street.

                        1. Chicory Brooklyn for Mac and Cheese terrine and Seitan rubens. Good fries too.

                          Crave for Tuna sandwiches, and excellent fries as well.

                          And don't miss Loucalli's.

                          1. for top notch pizza without all the pomp and circumstance go to Sam's on court street..consistently good for as long as i can remember ..in addition to the plain and pepperoni try the garlic- ricotta its killer......for slices, try ninos on union at or fascati in brooklyn heights if you want to take a walk

                            steak - cross the river to MarkJoseph

                            wine: in addition to scotto's, if you like italian wine go to the little store on henry st bet sackett and degraw

                            mazzola hands down for bread

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BklynFiumara

                              Fascati does make a nice slice, but they are closed for the next week or 2 I believe, so dont go just yet. Another wine shop to check out is Smith & Vine on Smith and Union St, also owned by same people as Stinky Bklyn, great cheese shop.

                            2. Nice dinner out
                              I like Marco Polo on Court St. It's consistent with great service and atmosphere.

                              1. Hi,

                                here are my recs:

                                butchers: los paisanos is good for most things, but avoid the sausages there, they're terrible. Staubitz for steak (try the newport--it's great) and hot dogs; Espositos for italian sausage
                                wine shop: love the $10 dollar table at smith and vine, but if you want to buy a case, scotto's does a nice discount, even for mixed cases. scotto's is also better for liquor, tho the best for this is leNell's in red hook.
                                bread: we use caputo's because it's most convenient, but i won't claim its the best (try the french country bread and the lard bread there) i think the best bread and bagels are at brooklyn bread (court and 1st--or is it second?)

                                delivery: none of the thai is great, but Nine-D is the best, though EM has a liquor license if you want to eat in and want some drinks. Chance is good and cheap if you stick to dim sum, apps, and sides, which are plenty big. Burgers--pit stop on columbia st. has the best in the area imho. Latin, skip cafe cubana and get delivery from el cibao or nuevo portal (i prefer cibao)--much cheaper and better. also, great delivery is hanco's on bergen--vietnamese sandwiches and stuff. Nicky's on atlantic is also vietnamese sandwiches but haven't tried them yet.

                                Casual meals: best steak is probably at bar tabac. I like the pasta at fragole on court street, tho the atmosphere isn't great. many of the pastas are homemade and good risotto. oh, and they have a good organic tuscan steak as well. zaytoons is decent but not great, tho the food is fresh. Lucali's pizza is wonderful--a must try. I think layla jones pizza is terrible, the sauce is like franco-american. If you want lots of decent italian american food, vinny's isn't bad. Frankie's 457 is hit or miss but they have good drinks and a nice garden. feel the same way about robin des bois. also have heard good things about Hibino on henry but haven't made it there yet.

                                nice dinner out: we leave the neighborhood, but others like some of the places on smith.

                                other things to know:

                                great rice balls at Joe's Perette on smith and 1st. try the proscuitto balls, they also have meat and plain cheese, both good. these make a great snack.
                                IMHO, the best slice is from sal's on court and degraw or the grandma slice from house of pizza and calzone, union between hicks and columbia. they are good for pizza delivery, too.
                                try the panelle sandwich at ferdinando's foccaceria, union between columbia and hicks.
                                hit sahadi's--a great store. some things are hit or miss, but many wonderful discoveries. Among the takeout things that are good are the spinach filo pies, the hummos, the taramasalata, the fried cauliflower, and any bean stew. they are the go to place for nuts, dried fruit, middle eastern goods.
                                farmer's market on sunday on carroll between court and smith. small but decent--right now great peaches and other things.
                                best sandwich/hero--i'm partial to brooklyn bread, but both esposito's and joe's perette do decent ones as well. i think they make a good veggie sandwich at good food further down court street but i've never actually ordered it myself, just had one at a party they catered.

                                anyway, welcome to the neighborhood!

                                6 Replies
                                  1. re: missmasala

                                    wow, thanks for the detailed list!

                                    we went to lucali's on sunday night and it's a great neighborhood spot...pizza and atmosphere were spot-on.

                                    also made it to lenell's on friday. . .a great find however they're closing. i asked the cashier about plans to relocate and he said there were no plans as of yet. red hook gentrification rearing it's ugly head?

                                    1. re: chowcito

                                      word on the street is the landlord upped the rent, apparently to the point that moving to 'the city' looks viable. what a shame.....

                                      wait til IKEA opens, that should clear the nabe.....

                                      1. re: shindiganna

                                        Not really - the landlord wants to open a business in the commercial space, and you can't really fault him - he owns the building.

                                        It will be sad to see Lenell's move to Manhattan, but I'll likely follow her wherever she goes.

                                    2. re: missmasala

                                      AAAAhhh!!! Prosciutto balls at Joe's Perette!!! Hea-ven. I just rediscovered them after a ten year hiatus, and they're just as delicious (better!) than I remember. Go there. Now. Keep that place in business!

                                    3. Largely because of this thread, I ate in Fragole last night. I'm glad I did. The decor, though quite nice, is generic young urban professional. The food is anything but! Homemade pasta with a rich, hearty lamb and olive ragu. Italian from Italy, not from Brooklyn. I though it was Emilia-Romana style though the owner disagreed (though he was too polite to contradict me) $12 for a great meal.

                                      394 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Brian S

                                        Fragole is a weekly dine in/order in ritual for me - glad to hear you liked it. Love the lamb ragu, love the sausage with linguini.

                                      2. Surprised to see two great places left off here:

                                        Schnack for burgers. (I don't understand the hate... the service is generally douchey but the burgers are really tasty, as are the fries).

                                        Ferdinando's for old-school Italian. Get the panelle special.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: the_state

                                          Schnack sadly hasn't been edible in years and is going out of business soon. (Seriously, it really is closing.)

                                          Ferdinando's is a gem. Panelle special is fantastic. The rice ball is pretty tasty, though not as good as at Joe's of Ave. U. Haven't had the pasta con sarde there yet.

                                          House of Pizza across the street does a very tasty upside-down Sicilian and their deep-fried ham and cheese calzones are addictive, though I don't know I'd say they're good. They're like Cool Ranch Doritos to me ... ;)

                                          1. re: lambretta76

                                            How long were they there? Like 3 years? Please. They were always disgusting.

                                            1. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty

                                              5 years, and for the first year or so the burgers were pretty awesome especially at the price. But then they changed the bun and raised the price and suddenly it didn't feel so special anymore. I will forever love them for the Purple Cow though...black cherry soda milkshake, though I can do that on my own.

                                              1. re: Widmark

                                                just another victim of the de-gentrification of our neck of the hood.....

                                        2. For a nice dinner out at casual meal prices, add Noodle Pudding to the list (though I haven't been in a while). I know that, at 38 Henry, it's a bit far afield. But the walk there from Carroll Gardens, along Clinton to Atlantic and then along Henry, is one of the most beautiful walks in New York. You can even make a quick detour to see the view of lower Manhattan from the Promenade and the stately old homes nearby.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Brian S

                                            If you make the trek to Bklyn Heights, don't forget to make a stop at Sahadi's (Middle-Eastern grocery) and the Damascus Bakery - both on Atlantic Ave.