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Carroll Gardens rut...its a good thing!!!

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  • Gered Feb 9, 2008 11:04 AM
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Hey all, new hound. I found this site thru Frankies 457 Spuntino. I just moved to Carroll Gardens a few months back, and I spend an inordinate amount of time dining at Frankies by myself. Another foodie from the neighborhood was eating at the bar and we started talking. I had a terrible experience at Schnack, and after relating it, he said "That sounds like a Chowhound post." So here, a few weeks later, I am. I have fallen into a pleasing rut of Lucali, Frankie 457, and Le Pit Stop Bistro. If I never found anywhere else, I'd be okay. But I have heard mixed reviews on Grocery, am wary of Patois since my Schnack experience, and want to know which restaurant on Smith was started by Mario Batali. Also any other suggestions would help, as I am new. I know this neighborhood is a foodie paradise, so where do you all eat????

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  1. I haven't been to Carroll Gardens in about a million years, but I remember an Italian grocery on Court Street by north of Degraw that had amazing fresh mozzarell that they made there, and would make into a sandwich, if you asked them.
    I would just say no to Grocery. The food tasted like yesterday's and I felt like I was being watched.
    fayefood.com

    1. The Batali question is a trick one since he gave up any connection to Po long before this outpost on Smith St opened. You've found some good ones. Try Petit Crevette off Union on Hicks (other side of BQE), around the corner from Schnack (which I dont like either). On Tues/Wed, try Chestnut for a very nice fixed price dinner. If you like Frankie's you'll also like Lunetta, on Smith near Atlantic. And I also like the pizza at Savoia... not as good as Lucali's product, but a much wider range of choices. Waterfront Ale House is on Atlantic for burgers and surprisingly good food. Nice small plates Japanese place on Henry and Pacific. There's much more around, but

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve R

        I'll second Waterfront Ale House as well. A few of the dishes are perhaps a little more than they should be, but the food is tasty, they have sweet potato fries (!) and a solid, well-priced selection of beers.

      2. Steve addressed the Batali question already (Po's pretty good...it was better when it opened last year, and before they changed the sweetbread dish, and its gotten a little inconsistent).

        I was never impressed with Grocery but admittedly havent been in a couple of years. Saul's the much better high end choice. If you like Frankies, you'd probably also enjoy Lunetta. Chance is good for dim sum. Robin des Bois for whole chicken on a board.

        and the small plates japanese place Steve mentions is Hibino. And its excellent in my experience. Ki and Cube 63 are also great sushi choices.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Nehna

          if you like Middle Eastern food, you really have to go to Zaytoons on Sackett and Smith. Another place that's nice for a plate of cheese and wine (along with some other dishes I haven't tried) is Black Mountain Wine Bar on Union and Hoyt.

          1. re: eeee

            I completely agree. I was a huge fan when we lived in CG. The lentil soup is a favorite. I have tried to recreate it at home, but no such luck.

        2. My faves (not all in Carroll Gardens but nearby): Lucali's (early on a weeknight to avoid the wait), Ferdinando's on Union, Petite Crevette, Pit Stop out back when it's warm, Chance dim sum, Hibino, Afghan Kebab House on Atlantic, Quercy, Bar Tabac, Frankie's, Zaytoons, Vinny's for heros, Sam's for pizza only, Osaka for sushi, Staubitz butcher and Esposito's Pork Store when you're cooking in.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Carol Gardens

            Where is Afghan Kebab House? Never heard of the place.

            1. re: bhill

              Whoops! I meant to type Yemen Cafe. (There is an Afghan Kebab house in Manhattan, I think!)

          2. As much as I LOVE Zaytoons, I've heard that it went downhill after the Fort Greene location opened - supposedly the CG chefs went to FG and the one in CG suffered -
            I also will add some other suggestions:

            - Em on Smith for Thai (better than Joya)
            - Cubana Cafe on Smith for yummy Cuban that's better than Cafe Habana in Nolita and you can actually get a table there and not be elbowed by model/actress wannabes and NYU kiddies

            4 Replies
            1. re: scarlet starlet

              not CG but close enough, Good Fork in Red Hook.

              1. re: scarlet starlet

                again, not CG, but instead of Zaytoons for middle eastern, try Bedouin Tent on Atlantic. Its become our go-to place, never been disappointed.

                1. re: scarlet starlet

                  I have to disagree with the review of Cubana Cafe. I don't think it can even be compared to Cafe Habana. The mojito tasted alright but was pretty weak, the tables were crammed together, the food was dull. I used to eat Cafe Habana quite a bit and was hopeful that Cubana would match up. It did not.

                  1. re: timisbusy

                    I concur. Cubana Cafe is mediocre (one standout is excellent chicken soup). Cafe Habana on Prince is amazing (though very crowded). Unfortunately Habana Outpost in Ft. Greene doesn't hold a candle to it's Manhattan sister (though the frozen Mojitos are great and the outdoor area is dog friendly.

                2. if you can stomach a thread of year-old recs, check this:

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382342

                  plenty of yummies in your hood. be wary of chicory's hit-or-miss (but mostly miss) fare. see below for recent thoughts:

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/470409

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: bigjeff

                    Thanks! Ive got enough here to keep me busy for a while...

                    1. re: Gered

                      I love Fragole on Carrol and Court. Delicious Itilian, cozy and all together awesome. Just had the homemade chick pea ravioli with carmelized onion sage and butter it was really goof. Haven't gone wrong there yet

                      1. re: parkerbk

                        Pizza: Sam's on court - pizza is best (try a garlic ricotta yum) also veal rollatine and pizziaola are solid.
                        Italian Store Caputo's: great homemade mozz
                        Butcher/Deli: Espositos Pork Store, Los Paisanos on smith
                        Italian: Fragole
                        Bakery: Mazzola

                        1. re: BklynFiumara

                          i forgot Ferdinando's - get a panelle special sandwich

                  2. Ferdinando's is terrific, and has a great old-neighborhood feel. Zaytoons is fine, nothing to write home about. Alma, for good-though-pricey Mexican and the view from the roof deck (which I think they heat in winter). Patois has a very fine brunch, at the least. Never had a bad experience at Schnack; the burgers are great as is the ajo sauce, though the hygiene could use brushing up. Panin'oteca makes very good panini as you would expect, and their tomato bread soup is a great winter dish. They also have a terrific collection of Italian aperitifs like Aperol and Fernet. Sample, on Smith, has a good wine list and tapas. Haven't eaten at Chestnut but have heard good things. Coco Roco (sp?) for good Peruvian.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chowhundius

                      Another good choice and relative newcomer is Provence en Boitte on Smith and Degraw (in the old Uncle Pho spot). They have an excellent steak frites and a nice atmosphere.

                      1. re: Matt M.

                        Something about the shape of the room makes it feel too crowded to me, but they do serve some good things. Like their cheese plate and, if I recall, desserts. I miss Uncle Pho - the whole Indochine thing was cool.

                    2. Also relatively in Carroll Gardens ... where are Lucali and Le Pit Stop??? And why have I never heard of them? Also, anyone know where to get the best falafel? Pita Grill, on Smith's, is pretty much inedible.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bbc37

                        Because both arent on the main strips. Lucali is on Henry off of Carroll St & Pit Stop is on Columbia (that's on the other side of the BQE by a block), but several blocks toward Atlantic from Union. Falafel is on Atlantic Ave off Clinton. Several places: the cart during the weekdays, or Waterfalls (Atlantic, across from Ale House) or Fatoosh (on Hicks off Atlantic). Or Zaytoon's on Smith.

                        1. re: bbc37

                          Pita Grill = no point. You live incredibly close to the many Atlantic Ave options for the real deal, as Steve points out below. Damascus and Sahadi's both sell great falafel (Damascus also sells a fresh made mixture of falafel 'batter' to make your own at home). Bedouin Tent on Atlantic has been more reliable to me lately than Zaytoon's for sit down options. Waterfalls is great. Too bad Sanaa closed, they had great falafel sandwiches.

                          Not sure why you havent heard of Lucali's...lots of posts, do a quick search. It's one of the better pizza options at this point in NY. Long wait though, but I was encouraged to hear you can phone ahead for a table now and have them ring you back when its nearly ready.

                          1. re: Nehna

                            In defense of not knowing where Lucali's is, he has no sign. I happen to live steps away, or I might now know it existed either as I've been away from chowhound and other sites likely to mention it for quite a long time now.

                            In defense of Lucali's: it is devine. Yes, I am luck because I can sit in my apartment and await the call that my table is ready. This makes the wait part far less burdensome for me. Still, though, better to put your name in early regardless, or be there when he opens at 6pm.

                        2. By the way, don't be wary of Patois because of Schnack. I've never bothered to go to Schnack but I have been to Patois at least a half dozen times I think, and have always had good experiences. Their Coq au Vin is solid. So is their confit duck hash for brunch (that was more than solid, it was fantastic). Summer meals on the back patio are a great option too. The two reastaurants have nothing in common really other than the owner (?)....

                          1. Pit stop is fantastic, Nine-D on court so much better than em, Olive Vine cafe so much better than zaytoons, Love Frankies!!! Mazzat for middle eastern as well - and Beduoin tent is fantastic.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Ljubitca

                              I wasnt impressed w/ my one meal at Nine D. Much preferred Em. But granted I only ate there once.

                              And I prefer Lunetta to Frankies personally..esp the last few meals I had at Lunetta, definitely on the upswing again (there was a definite down turn after Adam S. opened his manhattan sister spot).

                              1. re: Ljubitca

                                I got an email from Pit Stop a few weeks back that said that they will be CLOSING for the winter.

                                1. re: Carol Gardens

                                  Interesting Carol Gardens,

                                  I have to say, having been to pit stop several times, that it wouldnt be a loss if it closed for good. The food isnt great, service lackluster, and the play area seems dangerous.

                                  1. re: brooklynfoodgal

                                    CG said they are closing for the winter, NOT for good. The inside is cozy and small, but pales in comparison to their outside deck & yard. Yes it seems odd but I guess it doesn’t pay for them to be open in the colder months. I disagree with you about their food, on a few ocassions we’ve had good burgers and sandwiches there and their service was just as good as other places in the area. The play area outside didn’t seem really dangerous, we thought the openness actually made it safer.

                                    1. re: MShapiro

                                      I like Pit Stop! I know the food isn't great, but it's nice to have a decent french place nearby where I can relax with a glass of wine and bring the baby without worrying about offending my fellow diners. The service isn't exactly top-notch, but it's friendly and really no worse than anything else on Smith St.

                                  2. re: Carol Gardens

                                    They said they would reopen in Spring. I would think that without the backyard, it is so small that it would be difficult to make a go of it in the winter months. Not much foot traffic over there. I actually enjoy the place--mostly in warm weather for brunch.