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Moving to Prospect Heights

We're looking for the best spots from around Flatbush to as far east as Franklin, but those are not hard boundaries. So far, we've tried Aliseo on Underhill (loved it) and The Islands on Washington (loved it too). Any recs for any cuisine in any price range are appreciated. Specifically, we're looking for:

Super cheap take-out
Rotisserie chicken (again, probably take-out)
Half-price sushi
Authentic Mexican
Latin (Dominican, probably) with a hot counter
Romantic and cozy
Trendy
Neighborhood diner and/or hangout
Sunday morning coffee and/or hangout
Caribbean roti/curry etc
Pizza

Thanks in advance. We're looking forward to living in this neighborhood.

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  1. My favorite take out place is Zaytoons on Vanderbilt and St. Mark's, and they have a really excellent Oven Roasted Chicken that is always juicy, tender, and perfectly seasoned-- this and their Couscous al beit are my go-to delivery meals.

    I haven't heard of any half-price sushi but get back to me on this one if you do!

    It gets mixed reviews but I actually really like Chavella's on Classon and Park. Really nice people, unpretentious, and a great brunch to boot!

    Aliseo's is about as romantic as it gets in Prospect Heights but I like Beast and I've always wanted my boyfriend to take me to James for dinner because it looks cozy and gorgeous from the outside. I need to drop more hints.

    Trendy... Franny's (NYT drools over them and this answers your pizza question as it's frequently called the best pizza in Brooklyn-- it's always too crowded for me), Geido for sushi, and Flatbush Farm for grass-fed, organic meals- and a hell of a brunch. For hanging out, Beast or Soda. For drinks, Weather Up (it's a speakeasy so there's no sign), Washington Commons, or Franklin Park. Loads of people go to Plan B and Tavern on Dean. I live down the street from Sepia and that's a nice place too, though I can see why it's out of peoples' radar.

    Tom's Restaurant is THE diner to go to, and is now open on Sundays, lucky you.

    Saturday/Sunday morning you'll find me in one of these places: Cheryl's, Flatbush Farm, Joyce Bakery, Shane's (chicken and waffles!), or still in bed.

    Caribbean: Islands, obviously. If you haven't gone, go now.

    Happy dining! You'll love our beautiful neighborhood!

    -----
    Geido
    331 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

    Zaytoons
    283 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    Flatbush Farm
    76 Saint Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

    Aliseo
    665 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    Tavern on Dean
    755 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    Chavella's
    732 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    Plan B
    626 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    Franklin Park
    618 St Johns Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    Weather Up
    589 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    Washington Commons
    434 Park Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    6 Replies
    1. re: ItsAKimbo

      The food at James is good but the one time we went it was unbelievably noisy (it was a Sunday night and full but not crowded). Noisy does not equal cosy romantic in my estimation.

      1. re: buttertart

        We've been looking at James the couple times we've passed, and it doesn't look noisy. Of course, we didn't press our ears to the glass, so I can't be sure. I wonder if Sunday nights are special, or if there was just a rowdy crowd there when you went.

        1. re: douglas525

          It didn't seem that noisy until we were seated - at the very back of the restaurant against the wall. The waiter had to shout to be heard. Nice food though.

      2. re: ItsAKimbo

        Also for jerk chicken you gotta go to the Spice of Life on Franklin between Lincoln and St. John's. It's a hole in the wall take out place but the jerk chicken is A+. Skip their other dishes. It's not bad, just not memorable.

        1. re: ladypandora

          I think I went to this place, or one very much like it. The jerk chicken was awesome, but I'm pretty sure the vegetables in the cabbage were canned, so it seems you're right on the mark with your review. There was a Dominican place directly across the street. The whole chicken I got was terribly dry, although the flavors were fine.

        2. re: ItsAKimbo

          Thanks so much...I keep hearing good things about Chavella's, so that may be our next place. And it seems we may not be official Prospect Heights neighbors until I've been to Tom's, so that's in the near future too.

          -----
          Chavella's
          732 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

        3. ItsAKimbo gave you a great list. I especially second Beast (not romantic, but just awesome for food and coziness). I think James is good but not great (and it is loud, and often cold, so I don't think of it as cozy even though it is darned cute). Geido is my fave sushi joint for atmosphere & price, but Taro is probably better for quality (technically not in PH because it's across Flatbush... but only just). Very slow for delivery though... Koto is cheap and very fast.

          El Castillo de Jagua on the corner of Flatbush and Park is great for your Dominican craving. "Authentic Mexican" doesn't exist in our neighbourhood, but Sunset Park is oh so close. Pizza aside from Franny's is not that great, but since Franny's doesn't deliver, I do order from Cataldo's and Amorina. "Trendy"--well, just keep your eye on Vanderbilt and Washington, cool new things just keep popping up all the time. Welcome to the hood!

          -----
          Geido
          331 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

          15 Replies
          1. re: chowbie

            Thanks for the input. Have you been to Chavella's for authentic Mexican? I've heard that's the real deal. And as far as crossing Flatbush, that's fine. Atlantic and Eastern Parkway too. We're centered in Prospect Heights, but we don't mind a little walk.

            -----
            Chavella's
            732 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

            1. re: douglas525

              we wetn down to Chavella's once - its a long way from our part of PH - We thought it was very good and fresh but nothing I would take that long walk for again. Its faster for us to drive to Sunset Park for more options. As a local choice its fine.

              -----
              Chavella's
              732 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

              1. re: jen kalb

                Yeah, we'll hit Sunset Park for sure. But we went to Chavella's the other night and absolutely loved it. The quesadilla's were great, as was my pork taco with pineapple. The beef taco was good, but not memorable. My wife enjoyed her avocado torta too.

                -----
                Chavella's
                732 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                1. re: douglas525

                  glad you liked it, we liked it too, in a mild way.. I think everything depends on where you live. I live at the other end Prospect Hts.and for us it isnt "worth it"

            2. re: chowbie

              Definitely agree on Geido, best in the immediate area. Beast is good, but they never change their menu and have consistency problems. El Castillo de Jagua is a good cheap standby. Little Miss Muffin for snacks, muffins and delicious BBQ chicken patties. I'll never go back to Cataldos after they put canned vegetables on my pizza.

              We also have a new Thai spot opening up next to Frannys, Pequena will eventually open near Bergen/Vanderbilt, The Vanderbilt is amazing, another Mexican spot is opening in place of Bob Law's and I bet in the next 6 months we will have another 2-3 spots open up as well.

              -----
              Geido
              331 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

              1. re: ginsbera

                I hope it's at least a closer approximation to Thai food than the other perfectly dreadful Thai places in the neighborhood, that would be nice. Keeping an eye open for the others you mention, and want to try the Vanderbilt.

                1. re: buttertart

                  I dont think there is any reason to believe the thai restaurant will be chowworthy , since I dont believe it is run by thai people - tho I am willing to be proved wrong. indeed would be happy to since it is literally in my backyard. So far we are lucky in the number of quite good restaurants we have in Prospect Hts but the fact that there are a lot of places potentially filling genefic needs doesnt necessarily thrill me.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    So true, none of the "Thai" places in PH and the Slope are Thai-run as far as I can tell (or even Thai Chinese - seem to be Malaysians in most cases). There are good places but real (non-Japanese) Asian food would be a treasure - oh for a Grand Sichuan or analog for example. None of the Chinese places are worth a toss.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      We ate at Udom Thai the other night and loved it. (Sorry, I asked for opinions and now I'm giving them. We're between kitchens as we move, so we're eating out a lot more than usual.) Is that not real Thai? I'm far from an expert on the cuisine, but both my wife and I were very happy when we left.

                      -----
                      Udom
                      661 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                      1. re: douglas525

                        We ordered in from there once and what we got was very poor. Thai doesn't lend itself terribly well to takeout so that may have been a factor. The menu (and the food for that matter) made me think the restaurant was run by Malaysians - certain ingredients, preparations - (it's rather typical of the area - Lemongrass on 7th Ave is, and it shows). On another note, El Castillo de Jagua (seconding recommendation here) is very reasonably priced for large portions of very good Dominican food - their rotisserie chicken is my favorite dish on the menu. They also somehow always manage to have perfectly-ripe avocados available for salad.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          A side point, but the lemon grass grill people are not malaysians nor I suspect even necessarily from that area., I think, they are overseas chinese, maybe from SE Asia, but not malaysians per se - the chinese restauranteurs have been great at grasping the essential points of many other cuisines and presenting them (albeit in a slightly modified form) all over the world.
                          .
                          Not too many malaysians in the restaurant business.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            Really? i was told they were Malaysian (considered as nationality not ethnicity). As far as I know, there are a goodly number of Chinese Malaysian people in the restaurant business (people of Chinese descent being almost as numerous in Malaysia as Malays) . Actual Malay people, maybe not.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I dont disagree with you and they could very well come from malaysia - Im probably making a distinction that is irrelevant , especially on this thread. That same family ran a vietnamese restaurant down in the current Miracle Grill space as I recall.

                              There is enormous versatility in this population, for example the ethnnic chinese owner of of one Malaysian restaurant in brooklyn told me he came from Calcutta.

                              YOu may have a point that it was a natural segue for a malaysian-rooted chinese entrepreneur to enter the thai space, tho it seems like these entrepreneurs have historically entered all kinds of available spaces from mexican taco shops to sushi shops and earlier to creating restaurants adapting and evolving the local cuisine wherever they went in the world.

                              -----
                              Miracle Grill
                              222 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Do you mean the Vietnamese place Mekong, which was were AOC Bistro is now?

                                Before Miracle Grill, it was Cucina Cuzco and before that, Coco Rocco, although to tell the truth, I could never really tell the difference between the two.

                                1. re: elecsheep9

                                  before those versions.
                                  there have been multi failures in that spot over the year.

            3. Tavern on Dean for Burgers and Bar Food
              Weather Up is very trendy for drinks - nice but we are not trendy
              Cornelius (at the very end of Vanderbilt) is trendy but manageable
              Aleisio (sp?)very romantic and yummy.. but a special night out
              Sepia is very nice bar with decent wine specials
              and the new The Vanderbilt - trendy and we have not tried it yet

              -----
              Tavern on Dean
              755 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

              Weather Up
              589 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

              11 Replies
              1. re: roux42

                The Vanderbilt is delicious. IMO the best restaurant in Prospect Heights hands down.

                1. re: ginsbera

                  We dined at the Vanderbilt once (went there ready to love it, since we used to love Saul), but were stunned over how mediocre (to bad) everything was. If it does not get better, there is no reason to go there at all.

                  1. re: FoodWine

                    That's too bad, I have nothing but good things to say about the food and have never heard about any bad experiences.. Perhaps just an off night, even the best of restaurants have them...

                    1. re: ginsbera

                      No, it was not only us and not only one night. Before you, I have not heard a good word about the Vanderbildt: not here and and not in person, from neighbors and friends.

                      Here is a chhowhound link, specifically talking (not happily) about the Vanderbilt: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/662063

                      But I am happy for you, that you did not have to feel the stunned disappointment we did.

                      1. re: FoodWine

                        Feels like time to wait and let them settle out. Im not going to waste my bucks until they do - until then General Greene is doing this kind of menu really well - its worth the walk.

                        Wish Beast were better - was really underwhelmed by the overall food quality, even crudity of some of the product - some good dishes, mostly not. I think Beast is slamming it out with inadequate kitchen resources attendtion to flavoring, etc.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          Beast needs to revamp their menu. It has been the same for so many years and it could use a new boost. Aside from that, they have consistency issues, delicious chorizo one day then the next they forget to reduce the wine in the sauce and it is horrible. With the street picking it up in terms of Bars and Restaurants hopefully they will feel the pressure as it will be beneficial to all.

                        2. re: FoodWine

                          That's pretty shocking, since I went opening night. If you visit Brooklynian you will find more people that liked it (likewise on yelp):
                          http://www.brooklynian.com/forums/vie...

                          What did you not like specifically?

                          1. re: ginsbera

                            Hey Ginsbera,
                            I now have a more detailed post of what we had, on the thread that I mentioned earlier, at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/662063#

                            Like I said, I am happy for you if you had a good experience. Trust me, we really want to like this restaurant.

                            1. re: FoodWine

                              I saw, thanks. It seems we had very different dishes. I recapped my whole evening on my blog (always-eating), but the only dish we both had was the duck rilette. I actually enjoyed it and found plenty of duck taste coming through and when we asked for bread we received the same toast that it was initially served with, just twice as much. Other than that, my other 5 dishes were completely different. Only dish I wouldnt recommend, the octopus.

                      2. re: FoodWine

                        I ate at The Vanderbilt once and will never go back. It was very bad! I actually sent one dish back and couldn't eat the dish we got as a replacement because it was so terrible. I left having spent an exorbitant amount of money and was still actively hungry!

                        1. re: pjr206

                          That's too bad, what was the dish? I just went with a large group this past weekend and ordered a good portion of the menu. Everything was good to excellent, with the Pig's Feet, Meatball special, Rilettes and Blood Sausage really standing out.

                  2. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I'm realizing I forgot to ask about groceries. Is there a place to get some decent meats, cheeses and fresh herbs and produce?

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: douglas525

                      We've been in PH for 10 years and love it. For a general supermarket, the Met on Vanderbilt just below Park Place (orienting yourself from Grand Army Plaza) is our favorite - they have quite good produce and some unusual items as well as the usual stuff, and the people are very nice. I prefer the meat at the Key Food on Flatbush to the Met's somewhat, but have bought plenty of it at the Met as well (their halal chickens are particularly good). The new shop on Flatbush by Bergen St has gorgeous specialty products as do Blue Ribbon and Union Market in the Slope. How lucky we are.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Thanks, especially for the specialty stuff...that place on Bergen is right on my way home every day.

                        1. re: douglas525

                          Definitely go to Key Foods for groceries and Natural Land on Flatbush for produce. The Met's produce and meat section is really not up to snuff.

                          -----
                          Key Food
                          120 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                          1. re: ginsbera

                            I find the Met produce to be preferable to Key Foods, myself. Chacun a son gout.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Have you been to Natural Land? Puts them both to shame.

                              1. re: ginsbera

                                But of course. buy there too, hadn't thought to mention it. For day to day produce usually hit the Met, it's closer to our place, shorter schlep.

                        2. re: buttertart

                          I second Met for standard groceries and some ethnic items at reasonable prices and Brooklyn Larder (the place near Bergen) for special cheese, bread, meats and prepared foods at correspondingly high prices. I dont find the Flatbush Key to be superior, just more yuppified. As a poster points out sealand, a Korean market, is also available for produce as well as some fish and packaged groceries but its prices are correspondingly high. If I were buying routine groceries for cooking in PH, I would go to Met first.

                          -----
                          Bklyn Larder
                          228 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            If you are at the northern end of PH, the Ft. Greene Park green market has great produce from May through Thanksgiving. If you are in the southern end, the Grand Army Plaza green market is great.

                            1. re: bobjbkln

                              Didn't think to mention the GAP Greenmarket apparently since it's so deeply embedded in my mental map of our neighborhood.

                            2. re: jen kalb

                              Agreed, I don't care for that Key Food at all, don't find it to be anything special. My husband shops there a bit, primarily for meat. I far prefer the Met. They definitely make an effort to cater to their food-obsessed clientele and I find them cheaper on most items. And the people are much much pleasanter.

                              -----
                              Key Food
                              120 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                          2. re: douglas525

                            For specialty foods there is Blue Apron on Union and Divine on 7th Street for bulk spices and grains and other interesting things...

                            -----
                            Blue Apron Foods
                            814 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                            1. re: roux42

                              Thanks for all the grocery tips...I'll be sure to check out the specialty stores mentioned here.

                          3. Not sure if anyone wrote it here but for slices of pizza go to Amorina for their takeout deal. $5 for two slices and a Boylans soda. Can't beat offer and so much better than the neighborhood slice joints.

                            -----
                            Amorina
                            624 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ginsbera

                              Glad someone finally mentioned Amorina. I think's it's far better than pretentious Franny's and a fraction of the price. It's friendly and homey and you really feel like you're in someone's kitchen. Go there for whole pies (individual-sized), salads and dessert. They only serve wine and beer, but the bar, Plan B, is right next door, if you feel the need for a real drink.

                              -----
                              Amorina
                              624 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                              Plan B
                              626 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                              1. re: stapress

                                Amorina is BYOB with a $10 corking fee...not bad if you have figure a bottle usually runs $18+ in the restaurant...

                                -----
                                Amorina
                                624 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238