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Dec 16, 2008 09:42 AM

Park Slope

I am visiting NYC for the week next week and a friend has graciously made available their home in Park Slope.

Having never stayed in PS before let alone Brooklyn I am looking for some recommendations for the area for next week.

Specifically... one or two good brunch places with some interesting egg dishes. I was kicked out of Shopsins the last time I was in New York (I had no clue about this place!) and will attempt a second visit upon my return.

Any cheap to mid price dinners of any and all cultures would also be wonderful as well as any quick bites/snacks during the day.


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    1. re: Bob Martinez

      alot of those places are closed by now, and there are SO many new and fabulous restaurants that have opened since.

      1. re: secondbecky

        You're right. Sorry.

        Having said that, there are regular "best of Park Slope" threads that pop up here like kudzu. The search engine is a pretty useful thing to have around.

        Here's a 23 post thread from August of 2008:

        And a 7 post thread from October of 2008:

        And an 8 post thread from August 2008:

    2. don't mean to hijack, but...
      oh please tell me why you were kicked out of shopsins!?
      I've wanted to go for so long but havne't had a chance yet, and am curious to know the protocol.

      ANYWAYS, back on point.
      My new favorite place for brunch is Miriam on 5th Ave and maybe Bergen. Try the burekas. it's also amazing for dinner.

      1 Reply
      1. re: secondbecky

        oooh i want to hear the shopsin's tale as well!

        i still really love 12th Street when I find myself in PS at the brunch (or dinner) hour:

      2. Glad there are some more options to choose from. The original post made it sound like blandsville in Park Slope.

        Ok Shopins. So I actually went on a tip I received from Chowhound asking about the best egg dishes in Manhattan. I was told to order the "egg/pancake/bacon" mashup. Of course, if you've seen Shopsin's menu you would know that it would be impossible to find this (or pretty much even read the menu itself!). So when I asked Mr. Kenny Shopsin for this recommendation he claimed I didn't know what I wanted and that I was confused and to GET OUT. He took the coffee right out of my hand! Needless to say, I was a little shocked and slightly mortified. When I got home (back here in Canada) I read up on the little bugger and had quite the chuckle. What a guy! Since then I've bought his cookbook and have been working on perfecting my scambled eggs. I'm excited to try again and hope he doesn't recognize me!

        1 Reply
        1. re: airsey

          You may be interested in the documentary about the Shopsin's called 'I Like Killing Flies' (if you haven't already seen it).

          Also, there is Dizzy's in the Slope which has been there a very long time and people love which you could check out as well:

        2. Hey Aaron,

          Welcome to Park Slope. Here's hoping you have a great time.

          The reply from Bob Martinez listing the three threads is, as usual, on the money. And even though I agree with most of what was said in those posts, I'll post here to save you a few clicks (and get my own opinion in).

          My four favorite restaurants in Park Slope are Al Di La, Applewood, Blue Ribbon and Stone Park (listed alphabetically).

          Al Di La is one of the really fine Italian restaurants in New York City and it really is worth a visit. The prices are very reasonable and the wine list is affordable. Plus, they have a small and inviting wine bar a few doors from the restaurant down Carroll Street. On the downside, ADL does not take reservations and there can be long waits, depending. Also, the seating can be tight, also depending. But it is really worth a visit if the major criterion is top flight Italian.

          Applewood is another small and inviting restaurant, this one on 11th Street off Seventh Avenue. They pride themselves on using local foods and they often have "farmer's dinners" or similar, where the growers and purveyors come and speak to the diners. It has a working fireplace, so if it is a cold night, Applewood can be very snug.

          Blue Ribbon is not inexpensive and it can get loud and crowded, but in my opinion, they get it right. They have a good wine list, somewhat overpriced, but well chosen, and some of their dishes are excellent. I almost always have the grilled fish of the day. My wife and I love to visit early in the evening before the crowd gets going, and we are always well-treated.

          I've had dinner at Stone Park several times in the past few months, and the visits have been uniformly excellent. Try the octopus salad and the grilled pork chop, two of my favorites. They also have a decent wine list at reasonable prices. I particularly like the Pinot Gris they stock, and on our last visit we had a Turley Zinfandel for around $50 - $55, which I think is a great price.

          Bottom line for these four restaurants is that they all offer consistently good food, consistently good service and an overall excellent dining experience at relatively reasonable prices, especially if you order your beverages carefully and prudently.

          Please let us know where you finall go and what your thoughts are.

          Happy holidays...

          26 Replies
          1. re: BrookBoy

            Thanks so much for taking the time to respond and for the in depth descriptions. I am now excited to eat in Park Slope!

            I probably will only do 1 or 2 "expensive" meals as I am with a friend on a budget. The first night we are taking out our hosts to Al Di La which has been seeming to get uniform praise.

            Tuesday night I'd like to do the prix fixe at Melt.

            If I end up doing one more expensive meal in Brooklyn it seems like the choice should be Stone Park. Hopefully I will get to try it!

            Otherwise this is what I have on my PS list:

            Taro Sushi
            Joyce Bake Shop (for a quick croissant)
            James (brunch)
            Miriam (brunch)
            Wing Wagon

            I heard Ortine just opened as well so I might look at that. And I will definitely hop on the subway to get to DiFara Pizzeria at some point to grab a slice.

            If any of those places are really bad or if you can think of any others (preferably on the cheaper side) please let me know. I will report back after the trip!


            1. re: airsey

              Coffee at Dizzy's is really the only reason to stop there. The food is so-so. Also, people rave about Bonnies burgers, but they're all about the stuff on top, not the meat. They're not bad, just nothing to flip over. Helio's in Park Slope has much better burgers, and if you're willing to travel a few minutes outside of PS to Windsor Terrace (1 stop further than 9th Street in PS to 15th St in WT) it's a short walk to an excellent burger at the unfortunately named Rhythm-and-Booze. One more place I'd add is Palo Santo for creative Latin inspired dishes. Enjoy!

              1. re: Claire

                Just to stick up for Bonnie's (also open for lunch) the burgers are GREAT, as are the fries and the chipotle mayo (a.k.a. crack fries)

                Stone Park makes awesome brunch -- good savory dishes like bluefish cakes, sausage biscuits, shrimp and grits....

                1. re: pitu

                  Seconded; I love Bonnie's burgers. And the wings will almost make you feel like you're in Buffalo -- they're authentic and fantastic.

                  1. re: cbking

                    I just don't see what everyone loves about Bonnie's burgers. I've had them about three times and while they were cooked correctly (med rare) they were dry and pretty flavorless. It's really the stuff on top--that mayo and the jalapenos--that gave them taste. And the bun is too large. There are better--much better-burgers in the slope. Haven't tried the wings so I can't comment on those.

                    1. re: Claire

                      I did a taste test with friends (neutral territory, the The Gate) who swore the sliders from the bar at Stone Park were burgers above all burgers. (I just think it's a different style) Bonnie's won converts all around.

                      And no way no how was a medium rare burger "dry", although I'm with you that the rolls are too bready. I don't usually eat all of the bread.

                      What's so good? They dip the big fat (but not too big fat) patty in a spice blend and cook it correctly on a grill. It's not rocket science. Ditto the spectacular fries -- right size, right temp oil, right condiment.

                      But it's always too crowded at peak hours, so please go to Helios and we're all happy!
                      : )

                      1. re: pitu

                        Unless you were sharing the burger with me you wouldn't know that the one I had was dry. Your experience has been different, obviously. So I'll happily eat my burger at Helio's as you suggested, and you and your converted friends can enjoy yours at Bonnies.:)

                        he burgers I had were dry.

                        1. re: Claire

                          I find Bonnies very overrated. The spice rub on them is all you taste and it tastes burnt and dry.

                      2. re: Claire

                        Ugh, I can't disagree more. Did you get the unseasoned burgers? Whenever my boyfriend and I visit Bonnie's, the burgers are perfectly seasoned and marinated with whatever special blend of spices and sauces they use -- is it worchestershire? Balsamic vinegar? I know they offer unseasoned burgers for people adverse to spice, so maybe you've accidentally gotten one of those. The chipotle mayo and grilled jalapenos are to die for.

                        Weirdly, this is one place I prefer a side salad though -- whatever balsamic dressing they use is awesome.

                        1. re: jillysp

                          it's not that I'm adverse to spices, I embrace spice, but I'd like to taste the meat in my burger and my Bonnie's burger was all charred spice. To me burgers don't need to be marinated or overly seasoned, you just need good quality chuck, some salt and pepper and a nice crust with a medium-rare center. Bonnie's didn't have any of that unfortunately.

                          1. re: ginsbera

                            Gins, have to give you a nod of support on Bonnies. I mean, do you want your burger to taste like grilled spices and marinades? Or like beef? I've learned to order the unseasoned (and I love spicy food) when I"m dragged there by the groupies, but if I want a good local burger it's would never be on my list.

                            1. re: bklynbiker

                              glad you agree. It's all personal preference, I just like to taste the meat when I eat a burger, not char. I enjoy Dram Shops burger alot, Soda can put out a good one sometimes, Barette has these nice medium sized burgers and Beast is pretty tasty as well.

                              1. re: ginsbera

                                It's quite a different beast, but I've been surprised to find that Bar Toto makes a really excellent burger. It's served on toast with american cheese and sauteed onions, and it's the size of your fist - definitely the other end of the burger spectrum from Dram Shop's, which I also love. Either way, it's juicy as all get out, and the meat tastes like it's really high quality.

                                Also, their fries are some of the best in the Slope, though the burger is usually so big that I feel disgusting if I don't replace the fries with a salad.

                                1. re: cjd260

                                  The burgers at Bar Toto are definitely very good but they're served on pannini bread unless there's been a change in the last couple of months.

                                  Their menu says the same thing -

                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                    Sorry, you're correct - toast != panini, but I haven't had one for a couple of weeks (dieting for a bathing suit-heavy vacation) and forgot the specific bread.

                                2. re: ginsbera

                                  I havent had one from there in years, but awhile back I was amazed that one of the Slope's best burgers was at Sante Fe grill on 7th Ave., of all places. Their mexican is strictly middle of the road (though I like it), but the burger was a most pleasant surprise. As I said, years ago, so cant vouch for now ...

                    2. re: Claire

                      I'd also highly recommend Palo Santo on Union between 4th and 5th. We've been there recently for both brunch and dinner and loved it. The menu changes daily, but there are some things that seem to be pretty consistent. For brunch, I've enjoyed the french toast with stewed fruit and omelette w/zucchini and cheese grits and my husband has ordered the pork sandwich w/homemade pickles twice because it was so good. For dinner, we've had the beet salad, pork tacos, both chicken and seafood posados, a curry duck dish and a grilled trout. Everything has been excellent. The last time we went for dinner (12/6), they offered a $20-25 three course prix fixe, which is a great great bargain. Not sure if that's every night though. We've always been happy with the service, which is helpful (we didn't know several items on the menu) without being condescending or cloying.

                    3. re: airsey

                      Wing Wagon?? that may be pretty disappointing - the last time I went the wings were very dry.

                      If you are right around tFlatbush Ave here (more on the Prospect Hts side), you might want to check out Christies for Jamaican Patties or even Castillo del Jagua at Park and Flatbush. Its not great, but if you havent had dominican food you could give it a try, at least whiff the garlic pork by the door. Amorina is also veryt good for a budget, a fresh style of individual pizzas and some other very good Italian things on Vanderbilt near Prospect. Geido is also nearby and makes pretty good okinomiaki - its better for cooked food than Taro.

                      I havent heard much about Alchemy recently, Im dubious due to a lot of fairly negative reports early on.

                      I dont know if I would take the trouble to go all the way out to DiFara's for a slice - take a friend and order a whole square pie, you will get better service and have some leftovers.


                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I'd add Sidecar to your list for either brunch or dinner.

                        1. re: AimeeD

                          I just read a thread on Sidecar and it appears it is or used to allow bring your own wine? Any idea if this is still the case?

                          1. re: airsey

                            I don't know if they still allow BYOB, but I know that they opened as a restaurant before they got their liquor license, and there were threads to that effect at the time. I'd be surprised if they still allowed it without corkage.

                            That said, their cocktails are really excellent - it would be a waste to go their and bring a bottle of wine rather than ordering off of their cocktail menu.

                            While I'm here, I second deleting Bonnie's from your list. Not that it's bad, but there's nothing particularly special about it. As long as you're from anywhere else in the US, you can probably have an equally good burger at home.

                            Also, I should mention that I've had some so-so experiences at Stone Park. It really depends on what you're looking for. The food is little-g good but fairly predictable, and the service and prices always make me feel like it's trying to be Manhattan.

                            More constructively: Al Di La is no reservations, and the wait for four can be very long. I'd get a backup reservation at Tempo just in case - it's a good enough restaurant that you could make it your primary destination - but be nice and call to cancel if you find that the wait at Al Di La isn't too bad.

                            Also, where in Park Slope are you staying? If you can make it far enough down to Sidecar, you should also look at Beer Table for an interesting, beer-centered meal on an off night. And maybe take a step down in price and think about Little D (right across the street from Beer Table) for your other "expensive" dinner. Both are smaller, quirkier, much less formal and a bit more Brooklyn than some of the places you've mentioned.

                            1. re: cjd260

                              AL DI LA just started serving LUNCH, Weds-Sunday.
                              The pastas are very special (malfatti, mmmm) as are the chard stems in vinegar and anchovy butter.

                              If you're walking over to Prospect Heights, THE ISLANDS has deeeelicious Carribbean food and it's not expensive. (My fave is the jerk lamb.) The Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway is a block away.

                        2. re: jen kalb

                          Is DiFara that far away? It seems like a simple ride along the Q line to get there. That makes me nervous since I was planning on going into Manhattan almost every night to go out! Looks like the money I saved in hotels will be made up in cabs back home.

                          1. re: airsey

                            I dont mean that it is far, only that you may wait a long time (maybe up to an hour) for that slice - and I dont think the slices are the best thing they offer. Good idea to go at on off hour on a weekday, not on the weekend or eveing - and, like I said to go with a friend and get a whole pie, preferably a square.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              Thanks jen kalb.. I will plan on it!

                        3. re: airsey

                          I'd skip Alchemy for a meal - maybe a drinking snack. Food is not that good.

                          If you're on a budget, I'd suggest doing Stone Park for brunch. I've only been once, but it was great and I'm looking forward to going back. I had a shrimp and grits dish served with a poached egg. Yum!

                      2. There's a new restaurant on Union, just off of 7th Avenue called Bussaco. I've enjoyed the pork sandwich, the burger and the crab chowder. They have a great wine selection and there's usually great South African, Dub or soul music playing. You can eat at the bar which provides an opportunity to chat with the locals (if you so desire).

                        Have a great visit.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Rodrigo

                          Bussaco is very good. I had a number of dishes there and see some great promise.

                          1. re: ginsbera

                            Bussaco's chef recently changed I think -- at least according to Time Out:

                            I went again after I found that out, wondering if the quality had declined. It actually seems like they've increased the portion sizes -- and they instituted a new prix fixe menu for early diners -- $32 for three courses and three generous wine pairings. Really good value and really tasty. Definitely a great substitute for my usual happy hour at DUMBO's Superfine!

                          2. re: Rodrigo

                            I really like Bussaco but they salt their pork WAY too much. it's almost inedible. I told our waiter who said he's had similar complaints, but the chef says it's "SUPPOSED" to be like that. Um, as a former resident of North Carolina, I can tell you that pulled pork is NOT supposed to be like that.

                            Anyways, definitely try the pretzels there. yum