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Apr 11, 2008 01:05 PM

Drivable chow in Brooklyn

We just, finally, got a car (yay!), meaning that our Brooklyn restauranting no longer needs to limit itself to our immediate neighborhood of Park Slope. Any suggestions for what I've been missing, in great Brooklyn restaurants that are reachable by car (parking should be a consideration, I guess, though it's not as bad as Manhattan). My only initial thought is DiFara's, but I'm hoping for any amazing off-the-beaten-path (possibly? likely? ethnic) restaurants I wouldn't know about in my area.

Any suggestions are very appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. If you want off the beaten path ethnic then try Deback Malick on Fulton and Bedford (Nigerian), Greenpoint as a whole, Brooklyn Chinatown as a whole (the Sunset one), Sunset Park as a whole (Taqueria Matamoros!), Ali's Roti Shop in Bed Stuy (Fulton again), Cafe Glechik in Brighton but ONLY for the rabbit stew (if they don't have it leave because the service is outrageously bad and not worth it without the rabbit stew), The Islands in Prospect Heights is close to you but it is quite hole in the wallish, Jinuk on Church Ave is some of the only OK Bangaldeshi food in Brooklyn (something you go to Queens for), I'll think of more. My written out restaurant guide isn't saved on this comp so I can't remember everything. Despite being a lifelong Brooklynite, most of my favorites are in Queens.

    Queens is much stronger for off the beaten path ethnic eats and it's practically the same distance if you're driving. I don't see how a car is more liberating; I think it's just a hassle that is avoided via subways. Go to Di Fara now.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JFores

      I recommend the good fork in red hook. It's not ethnic, but it's a bit off the beaten path and you really need a car to get there. We've had consistently good experiences. Great service, love the menu. Favorites are the fried oysters, dumplings, kimchi steak and eggs.

      Red Hook in general is a good driving and eating area. You should check out the the soccer field vendors in Red Hook one weekend this summer. And the Fairway.

      1. re: JFores

        I would stick to the train to hit Chinatown or Sunset Park. Easier to take the R train than finding parking and maneuvering the double parked cars- IMHO. II would drive ( oops we did tonight!) to LB Spumoni Gardens.

        1. re: JFores

          "Cafe Glechik in Brighton but ONLY for the rabbit stew (if they don't have it leave because the service is outrageously bad and not worth it without the rabbit stew)"

          -- Ack! I wasnt aware that was the case. My mom wants to go to brighton beach for mother's day this year (she lived in brooklyn growing up) and this was where I was thinking we'd go. Do you have a better suggestion?

          1. re: Nehna

            glechik isnt that bad on service, the above poster is grossly exagerating (either that or i get special service [doubtful]... and its one the only places in brooklyn where if you look into the kitchen they have babushkas cooking the food, not mexicans. i am not trying to hate on mexicans by any means but the fact they have russian grandmas in the kitchen cooking the same food they have been cooking all their lives...

            the beef stroganoff and the green borscht are off the meter

            1. re: sem212

              "the above poster is grossly exagerating (either that or i get special service [doubtful"
              JF speaks the truth, RE: The obnoxoius service (He always speaks the truth, period:-})
              If you're not from Eastern Europe . they either ignore you, or do you the huge favor of waiting on you (sort of) Anyone I know that has beeen there has told me they would never go back b/c of the poor attitude of the staff.
              I do agree that the beef stroganoff was excelllent, but we were so aggravated by the service that we would never spend another penny there.

              1. re: Tay

                Glechik is very good. Yea so the service is eastern european, that's obvious, no. Think of it a authentic, not something to keep you away from good food. Try the russian ravioli. I've been there dozens of times, and yes the staff don't smile and say, "How ya"ll doin today", but the food comes on time and it is prepared by little babushkas. Cheep too.

        2. Oh yeah. Go to Red Hook Ball Fields now that it's warm.

          1. I agree with JFores, Queens Queens Queens. Woodside, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Astoria and Flushing.

            Some Queens restaurants that always come up on this board:
            Pio pio (peruvian chicken mult locations. Delish, ),
            Srprihai (best thai in city many say),
            Seva (indian, never been but its hghly regarded),
            5 star diner (lunch buffet indian, amazing $9 all u can eat),
            Mangal Kabob (Turkish, omg good! get Lamuchan, or a doner or falafel on home bread),
            De Mole (mexican, amazing, omg yum)
            La Flor ( modern mexican, never been i hear good things)
            Spicy & Tasty (chinese, flushing)
            UFC (korean fried chicken, im dying to go)
            Donuts (Alpha Donuts)
            Italian (Manducatis in L.I.C., a classic)
            Taco Truck @ 61st (under 7 train)
            Acasa (Roumanian)
            Favela (Brazilian in Astoria).

            Here are some Queens threads:
            Queens Ethnic List:
            Astoria Greek:
            Astoria gerneral:
            Dim Sum in flushing:

            Brooklyn spots I personally like:
            Polish in Greenpoint: Polish Slavic Center Cafetaria (Kent St., they speak english!, super good cheap),
            DuMont (burgers, williamsburg),
            Moto (Southside Wburg on Bway, good food but really neat hard to find place),
            Fette Sau (bbq, greenpoint, very good
            )Luger's (duh)
            Diner (hipster joint w/ great food, Wburg southside)
            Dressler (upscale new american, just beautiful inside, great food, great date spot)

            Arthur ave in da Bronx is fun to explore. More so in Summer when you can wander around.

            When in doubt, go where Sietsema goes!

            8 Replies
            1. re: 2slices

              I have recently been exploring Brooklyn eateries for lunch in my car. A couple thoughts: Speedys on 4th Avenue (59-60) for tacos, Yunnan Flavor Snacks on 49th near 8th for great noodle soups and spicy soup with dumplinhgs, Family Dumpling (7th and 56th) for fried dumpling and scallion pancake, La Fe (terrific Dominican - had a geat seafood soup and pernil), i second the L&B thought (I do like their regular pies just slightly more than the Sicilian, but that's just me) - what a great trip into the "heart" of Brooklyn, Grand Sichuan in Bay Ridge (5h Avenue and 87th) - check out Bob Martinez's posts as they are spot on in terms of what to order (I think this place is just a small step down from my favorites in Flushing, Spicy and Tasty and Little Pepper), Attantic Avenue near Court/Clinton/Henry for Middle Eastern (Waterfalls, Fountain, Yemen Cafe) and i must admit - while DiFara is generally to die for you might just die waiting for your pie - I kinda like Totonno's better as a destination - on Neptune near Coney Island. One more thought - we had a pretty good Ecuadorian meal at El Tesoro, 40th and 5th Avenue. And another - Ferdinando's for Sicilian (fried chickpea fritter) on union . Da Fonte's for old-school Italian sandwiches - I better stop, i am getting really hungry.

              1. re: BillyBob

                BillyBob, you're definitely on my Christmas list. Thanks for the kind mention.

                There are lots of good suggestions on this thread. I'll add some others.

                Nha Trang Palace in Sunset Park for pho. All their phos are good but I especially like the one where they add brisket. (If you go after 7 at night parking is easy. If you go in the middle of the afternoon traffic can be a little crazy. If you park on 62nd or 63rd things get markedly calmer.) A 15 minute drive from Park Slope.

                Malagueta in Queens is a charming Brazilian place.

                Bosna Express in Ridgewood does very good Bosnia burgers.

                Ba Xuyen in Sunset Park has the best bahn mi in New York. Another 15 minute drive.

                Pho Tay Ho in Bensonhurst is quite good for Vietmamese if you want to travel further afield.

                I think Seva in Astoria is fine for solid Indian but I wouldn't call it a destination place. If you're in the area certainly stop in.

                Five Star Punjabi is serves adequate food in a weird atmosphere. Stop in only if your car breaks down right in front of the place.

                (Sorry for not posting links to the other places. I've tried using CH's built in link feature and my PC locks up every time I try to post.)

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  Mine works fine, so here's Bob's list (I couldn't find a link for Five Star Punjabi).

                  Ba Xuyen
                  4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                  Nha Trang Palace
                  5906 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                  Pho Tay Ho
                  2351 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11214

                  25-35 36th Ave, Queens, NY 11106

                  Bosna Express
                  7-91 Fairview Ave, Queens, NY 11385

                  30-07 34th St, Queens, NY 11103

                  1. re: bobjbkln


                    There's most likely a good reason why the Five Star Punjabi link doesn't exist. It's an adequate take out place in a desolate area.

                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      Please note from my post on the thread that Bob linked to that I thought 5 Star was better than he did. In other words, I dont think that your car has to break down in front of it for you to want to go in... you can stop even in a functional car if you happen to be passing by.

                      1. re: Steve R

                        What you said was this - "None of the grease of the lesser 6th St spots and better flavor than many."
                        (Steve's full comments here -


                        So Five Star is better than the worst of the 6th St. places. That's not really a ringing endorsement considering how those places are viewed.

                        Lets do the dinner test. I think we both agree that Seva is a nice local option but not a true destination. Since our meal in March of 2007 how many times have you been to Five Star and how many times have you been to Seva?

                        1. re: Steve R

                          It's a $9 lunch buffet that comes with nan directly from the oven to your table.

                          No one is comparing it to Seva, or any other good sit down place; though it is far better than any 6th st joint.

                          Anyhow, if you know of another buffet with what is IMO great food, please recommend it.

                          1. re: 2slices

                            "No one is comparing it to Seva, or any other good sit down place."

                            You listed them side by side right here -

                            And I agree with Steve's original assessment from 2007. It's no better than a run of the mill 6th St. restaurant. If God picked up Five Star Punjabi and plunked it right down in the middle of 6th Street it would get lost. No one would ever mention it. As a matter of fact it's sitting out there by itself among the car lots and cab stands of Queens and it's rarely mentioned anyway.

                            No, it's not awful but is that the criteria for recommending restaurants?

              2. Hi guys,

                Many thanks for all the great suggestions! It's been a while since I looked at this post, and I was surprised to see the new responses this week; I'll definitely be checking them out. Unfortunately I work in the city, so lunch specials aren't really an option. But I've been going to Queens a _lot_ on weekends recently. Spicy & Tasty was fantastic! I've also enjoyed being able to run up to Sripraphai on a whim, and I've gone to Flushing for dim sum probably one more time than I should have. Closer to home, I've been able to add Petite Crevette to my rotation - I've been surprised by how easy it is to park nearby, actually - and hit up Tanoreen a couple of times. Also loved Lamb & Jaffy (Greenpoint).

                Of course, this doesn't even include the ability to buy groceries at Fairway, which may be an even bigger bonus. Hooray for driving!

                4 Replies
                1. re: cjd260

                  I got my car 1 yearago and I love it for this exact reason and going to the beach on a whim.

                  1. re: 2slices

                    Um... at the risk of getting removed from the thread for non-food-relatedness, where is there a beach close enough to go on a whim? Staten Island beaches tend to be trash-strewn, the Rockaway beaches are closed to non-fishermen, and the Long Island beaches all seem to be residents only. I'd love an idea, though maybe you're keeping it a secret.

                    1. re: cjd260

                      to avoid any penalties I'll make it short:
                      The cats alrdy out of the bag, but you'll be shocked at how empty it is on a saturday in august. Go once, you'll go back.

                      1. re: 2slices

                        God I want to move there so badly.