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Downtown Manhattanite moving to Park Slope

Having lived downtown (Financial District and East Village) for 10 years now, I'm having an extremely difficult time accepting the idea of moving to Park Slope. I know I'm only going to be about 15-20 minutes further from my usual haunts in Tribeca, East Village, West Village, Nolita, Soho, Lower East Side, and Chinatown, but I'd like to venture out of my comfort zone and discover the best foods and restaurants Brooklyn has to offer within 30 minutes from my new stop (4 Ave/9 St on the R/F/M).

Would greatly appreciate if you could help me embrace my new neighborhood by offering your recommendations for "Destination"** and "Neighborhood Best"*** in the following categories. Must be within 30 minutes via public transport from Park Slope:

Best Raw Bar/Oysters - Blue Ribbon (D); doesn't exist? (NB)
Best New American
Best Brunch - Stone Park Café (D)
Best French
Best Italian - Al Di La (D)
Best Mac & Cheese
Best Burger
Best Falafels/Hummus/Babaganoush
Best Sushi under $30*/pp
Best Sushi over $30*/pp
Best Ramen - Zuzu Ramen? (NB)
Best Izakaya - Is there anything outside of Williamsburg (Zenkichi/Bozu)?
Best Thai
Best Vietnamese
Best Banh Mi - Nicky's/Ba Xuyen/Home/Hanco? (NB)
Best Bubble Tea
Best Real Chinese Food - Sunset Park vs. Manhattan Chinatown? (Mainly looking for Cantonese Dim Sum, Cantonese Congee/Noodles, Hong Kong Style Diners, Cantonese Soups, Wontons/Shui Jiao, Chinese Bakery, XiaoYe/Late-night dining, Chinese BBQ)
Best Korean
Best Wine Bar with Small Bites - is there a place similar to Blue Ribbon Downing St. Bar?
Best Bar for Beer Snob
Best Dive Bar
*price does not include tax/tip/beverages

Definition of:
**"Destination" - Food marked by a very high level of execution. Must be phenomenal/unique for the prices charged. It could be anywhere from $5 to over $100/pp as long as the food is worth it. You wouldn't bother to go all the way to Manhattan to find a better version of it.
***"Neighborhood Best" - You know there's a better option in Manhattan, but you're willing to settle for the next best thing close to where you live. The food doesn't need to be blow-your-mind amazing, but it needs to be the best that you can get in Brooklyn within reasonable distance from Park Slope (under 30 mins via public transport door to door)

Places I've tried and liked for "Destination": Al Di La, Brunch at Stone Park Cafe.

Places I've tried but failed to meet my "Destination" standard: Char No. 4, Frankie's 457, Po, No.7 (Most of the food at these restaurants were well executed, but not worth the prices charged. i.e. I can find much better alternatives at the same price in Manhattan)

For reference, these are my usual haunts in Manhattan: La Sirene, Market Table, Blue Ribbon Downing St. Bar, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Cafe Cluny, Pearl Oyster Bar, Mary's Fish Camp, La Esquina, Tia Pol, Basta Pasta, Greenwich Grill, Sobaya, Matsugen, En Japanese Brasserie, Taisho, Ippudo Ramen, Momofuku Ssam/Noodle/Milk Bar, Spice, Saigon Grill, Noodle Bar, Noodle Village.

Park Slope Residents - do you ever eat out in Williamsburg or South Williamsburg, or is it too much of a hassle to get to without a car?

Thanks very much in advance!

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Hanco's
85 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Al Di La
248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Stone Park Cafe
324 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Char No. 4
196 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Zuzu Ramen
173 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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  1. P.S. Please only comment on the Asian restaurants if you're an expert on the authentic and refined version of the cuisine.

    Does authentic Japanese food/sushi exist in Brooklyn outside of Williamsburg? The only place I found from my research so far is Hibino? I probably won't go to Blue Ribbon Sushi if it's the same as the one in Soho (overpriced). I'm all for paying top dollar for sushi at places like Yasuda, but Blue Ribbon is not worth the $.

    -----
    Hibino
    333 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

    7 Replies
    1. re: Noodle fanatic

      This is obviously a large post, but as a long-time Park Sloper, I'll do what I can to start the replies to it. (By the way, for what it's worth, I also used to live in the East Village, and I find the general quality of life to be far better in Brooklyn than in Manhattan, and I know I'm not alone in that feeling -- so welcome to the neighborhood, I think you'll be happy here.)

      You mentioned that you like al di la (I certainly concur in that), but you may or may not know that they also have a wine bar attached to it, al di la vino, where you can sample a selection of Venetian tapas with the wines, all of which are selected by Emiliano, the co-owner. Really a lovely experience.

      For Cantonese I highly recommend Lucky Eight in Sunset Park, about which there have been lots of posts. I especially love the Peking Pork Chop and the "Pride of Lucky Eight," but I find the food to be remarkably consistent in its deliciousness. There are also a number of good dumpling shops in Sunset Park. I like Prosperity Dumpling, on 8th at 43rd street, but again, check the posts and you'll find other contenders.

      General consensus is that the best sushi in the neighborhood is to be found at Taro on Dean Street near Flatbush. I would classify it as a below-$30 place, but if you order the omakase you'll end up spending more than that.

      Best burgers are at Bonnie's on Fifth near 1st. I especially love the sauteed jalapenos as a topping.

      Best banh mi is unquestionably at Ba Xuyen, again in Sunset Park on 8th at 42nd. Not just the best banh mi in Bklyn -- best in the city.

      Best New American? Hmm. Some people might say Applewood. Would Stone Park also be considered New American? That's already on your list.

      For felafel in the immediate surroundings I like Mr. Felafel on Seventh Avenue, but I have to admit, it's not as good as that incredibly cheap place -- I forget the name -- on St. Mark's Place in the East Village. But you're not at all far from Atlantic Avenue, where there are a million places; again, check the posts. The Fountain Cafe is excellent cheap Lebanese fare. The Yemen Cafe is also supposed to be excellent, but I haven't eaten there myself. And Sahadi's, of course, is a gold mine for Middle Eastern staples, from olives to preserved lemons to spices to halvah. (For fresh pita bread I go to the bakery next door.)

      You didn't mention pizza, but I'll do a gratuituous shout out here to Lucali's on Henry Street in Cobble Hill. Outrageous pizza and calzones.

      Thai is a problem. Korean is a problem. I'll be interested to hear if you get any suggestions.

      That's a start!

      -----
      Ba Xuyen
      4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

      Sahadi's
      187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

      Lucali
      575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Lucky Eight
      5204 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

      Applewood
      501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

      Stone Park Cafe
      324 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

      Great Taste Dumpling
      4317 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

      1. re: motl

        New American: Saul on Smith St. I don't know if it's a destination by your definition, i.e. can't be matched in Manhattan, but definitely NB.

        Burger: Bonnie's is good but Dram Shop is different/better/NB, I think. The setting is annoying, too much of a sports bar, but I do crave that burger. Small and peppery and greasily delicious-- more fast food style than Bonnie's but in a good way.

        Beer Snob bar: Beer Table, obvs. I'm not enough of a beer snob to know but might be a destination?

        Dive Bar: In ascending order of actual diviness: O'Conner's, Jackie's Fifth Amendment, Timboo's. All are old man bars, but O'Conners now mostly belongs to young people who like old man bars.

        Dim Sum: East Harbor in Sunset Park

        Hummus: Tough to get to, but Mimi's Hummus in Ditmas Park is worth the trip. Israeli style, the best I've had.

        Obvs Tanoreen for baba and everything else middle eastern -- the hype is justified, though the new space is a little corny, I miss the old storefront.

        -----
        Beer Table
        427 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        East Harbor
        714 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

        Jackie's Fifth Amendment
        404 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        Timboo's
        477 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        1. re: noob

          Noob - thanks for your recommendations! Will try them out over the course of the rest of the year and report back from time to time.

          Agreed that Dram Shop's setting is undesirable, definitely not my cup of tea. The staff there is really nice though. Their burger was only ok when I took a bite out of my friend's the last time we went, but mainly because my palate leans New vs. Traditional American. It was a nice Traditional American burger... Is there a place that serves a more refined burger like the ones at Market Table in the West Village? (I'm guessing maybe Blue Ribbon, Belleville, or Stone Park Cafe might do the trick?)

          For dim sum, who does it better, East Harbor or Dim Sum Go Go in Manhattan?

          I love Tanoreen!

          -----
          Tanoreen
          7523 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

          Stone Park Cafe
          324 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          East Harbor
          714 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

          1. re: Noodle fanatic

            It's kind of apples and oranges, DSGG vs, East Harbor, since EH is a huge palace with carts. I've never had anything there that wasn't fresh and delicious, but if you don't like carts, you may be out of luck for Sunset Park dim sum -- though other more knowledgeable people may know made to order places there.

            -----
            East Harbor
            714 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

        2. re: motl

          Thanks for kicking off the list motl! Will start trying your recommendations when I make the move in a few months' time.

          I guess I'll have to give Taro a try myself, because the reviews online are very mixed - people either think it's super authentic or that it's terrible.

          Regarding Lucky Eight - would you say it's better or worse than Congee Village in Manhattan?

          Very excited to try Ba Xuyen.

          For Thai - would you say Song is my best bet? I don't need it to be super amazing, just as long as it compares to Spice in Manhattan.

          -----
          Ba Xuyen
          4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

          Lucky Eight
          5204 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

          1. re: Noodle fanatic

            Glad to help. Give Taro a try, see what you think. The decor is pretty terrible -- basically non-existent -- but I think the sushi is quite good. I've only been to Congee Village once, and only ever had congee there, so I can't adequately compare the two; but I do think Lucky Eight is consistently splendid. Ba Xuyen is the real deal, for sure; basically they only do one thing -- banh mi -- and they do it superbly; the Classic #1 banh mi is one of my all-time favorite dishes, anywhere. As for Thai, maybe Song is your best bet, but I have to say I've never been happy with any of the Thai places I've tried, here or in Manhattan for that matter. The food always seems too sweet to me, too designed to appeal to "American" tastes. I vividly remember the first time I went to Sripraphahai and suddenly realized what it was I had been looking for all that time.

            -----
            Ba Xuyen
            4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

            Lucky Eight
            5204 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

            1. re: motl

              How would you define Americanized Thai? Would the chain Spice (also behind Sea and Peep) be it? As much as I'm a stickler for authenticity in Japanese/Cantonese cuisine, I have to guiltily admit that I'm ok with Thai not being completely authentic as long as it's executed well like Spice; Unlike Americanized Chinese food, which is utterly inedible for me. Lemongrass Grill in Manhattan is what I deem to be inedible inauthentic Thai.

              I've never had congee at Congee Village (don't think that's what they're famous for), but I quite like their Cantonese style family dinners. It'll never compare to Hong Kong, but it's the best I've found so far in Manhattan.

              -----
              Lemongrass Grill
              61 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

      2. I think I'll skip that test and study up for the bar exam instead. It will be easier to pass.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Bob Martinez

          Bob - are you saying it's a lost cause for me since Brooklyn will never live up to my expectations?

          1. re: Noodle fanatic

            I was making a joke that your survey was far too exacting for what is a decent, but not stellar, dining neighborhood. You have *21* different categories. Times 2 (destination and neighborhood best) and that makes *41*.

            That's a lot of questions for us to answer.

            You can eat decently, sometimes well, in Park Slope but you'll be lucky to find worthy candidates in more than 10 of your 41 categories. Of course you can say that about plenty of neighborhoods in Manhattan as well so don't take that as a knock on Brooklyn.

            A few tips. Open up your search. Think of Park Slope as a constellation of neighborhoods - Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and Sunset Park. All are within 30 minutes of each other.

            Browse the Outer Boroughs board for the last year looking for places in those neighborhoods. That will give you a much broader sampling than you'll get from the answers you'll get to this thread.

            Explore 8th Ave. Sunset Park. (Take the N train to the 8th Ave. stop.) There are good Cantonese and Vietnamese places there. Ba Xuyen has the best banh mi in the city.

            Finally, I've done a whole series of Brooklyn Beer Bar posts that should be helpful. http://search.chow.com/search?query=&...

            -----
            Ba Xuyen
            4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                Hahaha. I hear you Bob. Sorry for the ridiculously long post. I was betting on the fact that most people will only have suggestions for several of the 21 categories. (Yikes, I did not count it out, 21 is a lot!) Thanks everyone for putting up with this post and for offering your recs. I did start searching through threads like you had suggested, but started feeling a bit dejected because it seemed to me that I'll be better off getting most items on my list in Manahttan, which as a result prompted me to putting up this crazy post. Will post my "best of" list based on aggregating all I can read, and then perhaps that could help provoke more meaningful discussion to eventually produce an "all-encompassing" list that emulates Kathryn's brunch list. It won't contain everything, but it'll be very nice to have on one page for all those who are new to Brooklyn and don't feel like combing through all the threads.

                Furthermore, I wanted to customize a list for Manhattanites making the transition to Brooklyn. It's a really big step for some of us. (Sometimes, I secretly feel as though moving to another country might be easier than moving to Brooklyn.) But that's just the weird old diehard Manhattanite in me. If only Jane Jacobs were still with us and can tell me that moving to Park Slope will be ok.

          2. Kappa Sake House, if it is still in biz, on 5th Ave around 8th, might fit into your range of interest. Mr. Felafel is still my fave felafel in the area - I think Mogador is still open down near Union/4th as well as places selling Falafel in Bay Ridge. For Bahn Mi, Ba Xuyen rules (grilled pork, #1 or chicken curry). There is a Korean, Moim in the Slope - it gets mixed reviews.
            I think you need to explore Sunset Park Chinatown and see if you find anything that suits you. I go most weeks to buy fresh tofu at the store at around 50th St.
            There are a lot of restaurants on and around the 8th ave strip, including several new ones on 8th Ave just south of the railroad cut, very convenient to the N train. There are also a couple of good sichuan places in Brooklyn you could reach easily on the train.

            You are not going to replicate your Manhattan eating universe in the south slope. Think about forming a new constellation of destinations. Think about pizza, italian and mexican. check out da fontes in red hook some saturday for a roast beef/mozz sandwich with jus. Think about the fact that you have Almondine and Brooklyn Bread (Royal Crown) nearby for very good bread, and I think a whole string of shops selling croissants on 9th St. There are new places opening all the time and its a great place to walk around and kick back i n. Enjoy!

            mostly difficult to get to W'Burg from the slope. If the G train is running you may be able to connect somehow.

            -----
            Ba Xuyen
            4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

            Moim
            206 Garfield Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11215

            Kappa Sake House
            388 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

            Brooklyn Bread
            384 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

            Almondine
            442 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

            20 Replies
              1. re: jen kalb

                Thanks Jen. I needed to hear that I'm not going to replicate my Manhattan eating universe in Brooklyn. (I know you said South Slope, but you really meant Bklyn right?) I'm glad someone had the guts to say it.

                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                  You're definitely not going to replicate your Manhattan experience, but as Jen says you need to shift to different specialities and cuisines, which this thread and board searches should help you to do. To be honest, though, in terms of absolute quality, apples to oranges, none of the Manhattan places you listed outdo what's available in Brooklyn IMO, with the exception of the Japanese places. If you had said you're a regular at EMP, Marea and Per Se, I would say you're SOL -- but Blue Ribbon Bakery and Basta Pasta? You'll find replacements.

                  1. re: noob

                    Noob - please elaborate on which particular Brooklyn restaurants with comparable prices in your opinion outdo the non-Japanese Manhattan restaurants on my list. I would love love love love love to know! That's what I'm dying to find out! (the only catch is prices must be comparable... I feel like there is a lot of overpriced stuff in Brooklyn)

                    I can't find 1 single raw bar or worthy mid-priced French bistro in Brooklyn besides Blue Ribbon Brooklyn (ok not exactly a French bistro but I can get my duck confit fix there). I did my research and the reviews for Ici, Belleville, Canaille, and Cafe Luluc are very mixed. Who can produce a decent steak frites, moules frites, and salad? Basics, I know, but it shows how refined a restaurant's execution is. Is Autour du Monde the answer?

                    How would you compare the food at Manhattan's Market Table and Cafe Cluny to Brooklyn's Stone Park Cafe, Applewood, Saul, and Buttermilk Channel? Which other New American restaurants are outstanding and outdo the ones in Manhattan?

                    -----
                    Ici
                    246 DeKalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

                    Provence en Boite
                    263 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                    Cafe Luluc
                    214 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                    Blue Ribbon Brooklyn
                    280 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                    Applewood
                    501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                    Stone Park Cafe
                    324 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                    Bar Tabac
                    128 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                    Buttermilk Channel
                    524 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                    1. re: Noodle fanatic

                      There isn't a great raw bar beyond Blue Ribbon that I know of. Ici is really good, you should try it. It won't be exactly like your favorite bistro in Manhattan -- but you have to let go of that bistro. It's not your neigborhood place any more. My point was simply that the quality of the mid-range places in Brooklyn is equivalent to those in Manhattan, broadly speaking. Brooklyn lacks some things, like raw bars, and has others, like middle eastern. On the high end, there's no comparison, of course.

                      I haven't eaten at Cafe Cluny and only eaten at market table once, some time ago, so I can't give you an exact comparison, but I would say Saul and Applewood are comparable, probably more creative menus. Saul is unequivocally better than MT in my very limited experience. (Saul has a great duck confit, btw). Haven't been to Buttermilk Channel but my impression from friends and the internet is that it's hit and miss.

                      Anyway -- I've been sucked into the tired old Brooklyn / Manhattan debate. It never ends. The point is, you'll be a Brooklynite soon, so relax, take a deep breath, let go of your old haunts and comfort foods and open your mind to new ones. You've identified and researched a lot of places on your own, so stop agonizing, get off the internet and go try them! It won't be as bad as you fear.

                      -----
                      Ici
                      246 DeKalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

                      Applewood
                      501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                      Buttermilk Channel
                      524 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                      1. re: noob

                        Thanks noob. Your post made me wonder if you could potentially be my boyfriend secretly posting on this site to try to convince me that moving to Brooklyn is going to be ok... but then I looked at your previous posts and figured that you're most likely someone else since my bf does not eat carbs ;)

                        Ok, so it looks like I'll have to give up on looking for real Japanese food and French bistros, but which types of foods are strongest in Brooklyn? jen kalb mentioned pizza, Italian, and Mexican, you mentioned Middle Eastern... anything else I should be aware of? I've got Italian, New American, Chinese, and Vietnamese covered.

                2. re: jen kalb

                  Is Mogador in Brooklyn at all related to the Mogador in Manhattan? I love the Manhattan one.

                  1. re: Noodle fanatic

                    No - it may be related to Fez Art Cafe, a Moroccan restaurant on PPSW which is pretty good, in my limited experience.

                  2. re: jen kalb

                    jen kalb - Which is your favorite Mexican restaurant? I'm not an expert on Mexican cuisine, but I love the variety of tacos at the taqueria at La Esquina (Manhattan). Is there an equivalent of it in Brooklyn? I particularly love their grilled shrimp, grilled fish, grilled steak, and Hongo Y Epazote taco which contains seasonal mushrooms, epazote, hominy, queso blanco, and rice. I'm looking for a non-greasy Mexican food made with quality produce. The execution at most places I've looked up online does not look terribly sophisticated to me. Thanks in advance.

                    P.S. I love you for suggesting Kappa Sake House! I haven't been there, but it looks very promising! Will report back when I've had the chance to try.

                    1. re: Noodle fanatic

                      There you go asking for a Manhattan comparison again! You know some of us outer boroughs types dont even get to Manhattan that often!

                      Seriously Im not sure we have an equivalent of La Esquina (I havent visited). There is a lot of mexican food, made primarily for a mexican population. Its not expensive. i suggest you visit the 5th Ave strip in Sunset park - Tacos Matamoros is one place along there which is liked on this board. The mexican/central american concentration spills over to 6th and 4th Aves too. - I like Matamoros- , tho I dont think they offer the taco you mention, its hardly the only option.. Hopefully others will opine.

                      -----
                      La Esquina
                      78-02 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I find this a really weird conversation. Years ago (I guess) if you were from the boros, or Jersey, or the Island, the city was a special place. It had special things to see, to do, to buy and certainly to eat. Maybe you could even live there! It was about aspirations big and small.

                        It's cool that Brooklyn's become it's own cool place, and to some degree, a destination. But, I don't think you'll never not have to go to the city for certain things i.e. the best sushi, or the best French place. So, to me if we're somewhat reversing the trend, and there's a greater variety of all sorts of food, including luxury level stuff, why not focus on what we have that's unique?
                        Jen beat me to it, but as I followed this thread I kept on thinking "5th ave in Sunset." Up until recently we hardly had a Mexican population to create and sustain such a thing. But, of course, times change. In this case I think for the better.
                        We certainly have some reasonably good or great Chinese in Sunset Park, but as has been discussed here by some blindingly knowledgeable and urbane gourmands, some who are in fact Asian, the depth and breadth of the Chinese (and Korean and Thai) offerings in Flushing beats the pants off what's in Brooklyn, not to mention Manhattan - which but for a few standbys hardly merits that mention IMHO.

                        See, in Brooklyn, we never didn't travel for the special things. And frankly, if you're in the Slope, besides some good or better or at least unique places like Al Di La, Beer Table, or Bonnie's (yes, those are only a few examples), you're going to have to venture out. And isn't that ultimately the point of the whole Chowhound thing? It's about as easy to get to Flushing from here as it is to Williamsburg, so you might as well get used to it! Regarding the latter you'll be able to enjoy Marlow and Sons, and some other swank new places I know less about. So do that. And go down CIA and go to Nathan's and Luger's and DiFara (at least once, and I'll always put in for Luigi's at 5th ave and 22nd). FWIW I'll give a big ups to Spicy Bampa (the former Bamboo Pavilion) on 18th Ave in Bensonhurst. But again, as long as you're going there, why not sample more of the best of what Brooklyn has long offered like L&B Spumoni Gardens and Savarese? Find YOUR fave Middle Eastern on Atlantic Avenue or in Bay Ridge. Then finish up at NYC ICY.
                        Now, you've tasted a tiny bit of Brooklyn and hardly overlapped with anything you could do better, or even do, in the city. That only means you'll have to go back into the EV or wherever to enjoy those things you obviously do, and should continue doing so. I'm sure those proprietors will appreciate your business and never give you a hard time about being from Brooklyn! Welcome!

                        -----
                        Al Di La
                        248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                        L&B Spumoni Gardens
                        2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223

                        Spicy Bampa
                        6920 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

                        Beer Table
                        427 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                        Bay Ridge Cafe
                        1548 Bay Ridge Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219

                        Savarese
                        5922 New Utrecht Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219

                        1. re: noisejoke

                          well said and thanks for updating the name for Bamboo Pavillion!
                          Ive been trying to get back out there again. - but it didnt move to Ave U, did it????

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            Oh geez - confusing the various Chinese restaurant outcroppings whilst ranting. No!!! Bamboo Pavilion is on 18th ave, of course, wherefore my mention of the Italian Bensonhurst places. I fixed it, thanks Jen.

                            Speaking of Avenue U, let's hear it for Pho Hoai!

                            -----
                            Spicy Bampa
                            6920 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

                            Pho Hoai
                            1906 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11229

                        2. re: jen kalb

                          Oops sorry! I figured there are bound to be foodies who have relocated from Manhattan on this board, but now I'm really starting to worry. Maybe Manhattan foodie types really don't belong in Park Slope. :( :( :( :( :( It's a different story if I had a car, but without one, Spumoni Gardens, and Williamsburg to a certain extent, will have to be reserved for special weekend "trips".

                          For tacos, I'm putting Matamoros, Calexico Carne Asada, and Nuevo Mexico on my to-try list for now...

                          -----
                          Calexico
                          122 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                          1. re: Noodle fanatic

                            Fonda in Park Slope is really good, a five minute walk from where you'll be living, and maybe more your speed than Matamoros, etc. -- like La Esquina, it's a restaurant for yuppie gringos, but serves excellent, refined and authentic Mexican. It's been getting mixed reviews lately, I think just got a bad TONY review, but I disagree strongly with the negatives. I'd put it in my top 5 in the Slope. If you go, call for a reservation or be prepared to wait, it's always packed.

                            1. re: noob

                              With regards to Matamoros, are you saying their tacos are good but greasy and unrefined? Or are you inferring that it might be too much of a dive for a non-Spanish speaker? I don't need for a restaurant to be pretty or some sort of "scene", and will eat anywhere as long as the food is amazing and it 's decently clean enough not to be shut down by the Board of Health. I eat at a lot of Manhattan Chinatown places that an average American might be scared to venture into; I suppose being Chinese and speaking the language does help a bit.

                              I actually hate the fact that La Esquina is such a scene-y spot when it's really a legitimately good eats taqueria!

                              I won't go to a place like Cafe Habana, because that to me is all scene and no substance. I don't see why everyone thinks their food is amazing. It's just not all that special in my opinion. I guess models are so starved that anything tastes good.

                              1. re: noob

                                noob - What's with all the negative reviews of Fonda on Yelp? Guess I won't be able to comment until I try it... It's not super expensive, but for those prices, they better be out-of-this-world amazing. What are their star dishes?

                                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                                  Yes, I was saying that Matamoros is good but somewhat greasy and unrefined. I love it, would probably rather go there than Fonda, but you seem to place more emphasis on refinement than I do. Also, it's right in your neighborhood so is a good option for when you don't want to go on a mission to Bay Ridge.

                                  (I didn't mean gringo yuppie as a perjorative -- I'm one myself! It's just the most efficient descriptor of the Park Slope market that Fonda is catering to.)

                                  Yeah, I don't know about the mixed Yelp reviews. A lot of them seem to be about service, which is probably a reflection of how busy and crowded the place is -- service has been very gracious but occasionally harried in my experience. It may also be that the kitchen is inconsistent and falls behind and turns out bad food sometimes -- I've never experienced that, but I wouldn't doubt it. Or it may be that I don't really know what I'm talking about, I wouldn't rule that out either! :)

                                  I like the Marco Polo and the Pork Adobo. The duck tortilla ap is pretty good, and I love the chorizo and melted cheese ap but that may be too greasy for you. Guacamole is v. good but not transcendent.

                                  I don't quite understand your point about the prices -- they're pretty reasonable for the neighborhood and the quality of the food, and they're cheaper than La Esquina -- I thought you were looking for a replacement for LE?

                                  Speaking of Chinatown dives, as you no doubt know from the Sunset Park threads, Yunnan flavor snacks is awesome and unique -- I know you're mostly into Cantonese, but if you don't mind the spice and oil check them out, as well as Grand Sichuan house in Bay Ridge -- better than Spicy Bampa for sichuan IMHO.

                                  Ok, I'm really done now. I'm just starting to recapitulate all the threads that I lurk on. sorry.

                                  1. re: noob

                                    Haha yes I'm big on refined execution and adamant about food quality based on the prices charged. Fonda's prices look ok.

                                    I was referring to La Esquina's Taqueria (the part of the restaurant that only has a few bar stools and does mostly takeout). They have 13 types of tacos at $3.25-$3.95 each. Check out the menu here: http://www.esquinanyc.com/menu_taq.php

                                    LE's brasserie is overrated and the cafe is ok. The taqueria is definitely their best asset. In case you hadn't noticed before, LE is 3 restaurants with 3 different price points/menu/vibe in 1 location .

                              2. re: Noodle fanatic

                                Noodle fanatic: Its not that Manhattan foodie types don't belong in Park Slope. Its that close-minded, condescending foodie types who haven't gotten over the fact that Manhattan really isn't the end all and be all don't belong in Park Slope.

                                I've had plenty of terrific meals in Park Slope and environs and I've had plenty of thoroughly forgettable meals in Manhattan. Yes, you are going to need to find new "neighborhood places." That's what happen when you move out of your neighborhood. That would happen if you moved from the East Village to the Upper East Side and that's what's going to happen if you move to Brooklyn. And while Yelp and even this site are good tools, they are no substitute for actually trying a place yourself (which thankfully even you seem to realize.)

                                I have my favorite places in the neighborhood and in Brooklyn and even in Manhattan, but that doesn't mean that you may like them at all. Tastes vary. Everyone used to gush about the sushi at Geido...I never really understood all the praise. A place like Mulino Ristorante is never mentioned in the same breath as Al Di La (which has never, IMO, been as good as my dearly departed Tempo), but when I get a jonesin' for red sauce style Italian its my go to place.

                                While I do have a car, and it has made broadening my horizons earlier, I never felt like I was missing out when I didn't have a car. And just because you live in Manhattan does not mean that everything is available to you around the corner. I recently tried Cooking With Jazz which is near St. John's University in Queens and to get there, you're going to need a car no matter where you live. And I can't think of one other restaurant in Manhattan or Brooklyn like it.

                                The point is, you have to come in with an open mind and be willing to experience new and different things. Unfortunately, as someone mentioned below, it really does not sound like you want to do that. And the truth is, that would be your loss, not the neighborhood's.

                                -----
                                Al Di La
                                248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                                Mulino
                                133 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                                Cooking with Jazz
                                179-22 Union Turnpike, Queens, NY 11366

                        3. Long list! I thought I'd just comment on the Park Slope to Williamsburg question. I am a Sloper who finds myself going to the Burg more and more just for the dining options. Easiest way, in my opinion, is by bicycle, as it's fairly easy to pop over to the South Williamsburg spots such as Dressler, Marlowe and Fatty Cue (which I wasn't all that impressed with but that's another story). Also, the G has been extended and so you can take it from Seventh Ave in Park slope to close vicinity to Dumont.

                          Just a few randoms in our neighborhood here that I think are in the Dressler/Dumont level category that you should seek out: James (Prospect Heights) and Saul (Carroll Gardens). There are also awesome eats to be had at the Brooklyn flea from Motorino and the Brooklyn Lobster Pound.

                          Keep an open mind--there are amazing options out here if you look.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Mandymac

                            Thanks Mandymac. I really want to bike, but Brooklyn drivers are too crazy and I'm too scared to bike on the streets without a safe bike path. According to hopstop, the G or the bus will still take you upwards of 45 minutes, and a car service/cab will cost $15 each way according to my internet research? (Am I right with the cab/car service fee? What is it in reality?) With the crappy subway service, there really ought to be more safe lanes for bikers with proper barriers. Not fair that Williamsburg gets all the good dining options! If you like Japanese - check out Bozu in South Williamsburg. It's a little divey, but worth it if you don't feel like going to the East Village. Although EV and South Williamsburg are essentially equidistant to a Sloper without wheels? ;)

                            Which Brooklyn Flea is better for food and which is better for shopping? Is it more of a tourist thing or local thing? Does anyone actually go to the indoor Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson?

                            Thanks again - I'll be keeping my mind and eyes open for amazing options. On a side note, are you a transplant from Manhattan, and if so, do you plan to move back one day, or are you completely converted now?

                            -----
                            Bozu
                            296 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                            Brooklyn Flea
                            176 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                            1. re: Noodle fanatic

                              Transplant, completely converted! We really and truly have great food out here and the quality of life is so much better. I have drunk the Koolaid of the BK.

                              I think the indoor Flea is only in winter. At this point, I'm pretty sure it's Fort Greene on Saturday and DUMBO on Sunday. It's not terribly touristy, and I'm pretty sure the food vendors are similar. Pizza Moto needs an outdoor space for their oven.

                              Do you have a bike? You ought to give it a shot. I bike all over the city and that route is not dicey in the least. Not big, busy streets, lots of room to move. I just asked my neophyte cyclist boyfriend if that route was scary, and he said "not scary at all," and I have definitely taken him on scary roads (Atlantic Ave). I go down Vanderbilt, turn right at Willoughby and left at Bedford Ave. The G is legendarily bad, but to be honest, if you take it on a weekday, it's not the worst. I've done both, and like I said I think Williamburg has great destination dining. At the same time, I would say that South Brooklyn has pound for pound as good restaurants (Al di La, Franny's, Applewood, Saul, etc). I just like a variety.

                              -----
                              Applewood
                              501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                              1. re: Noodle fanatic

                                I'm not even going to try to recommend restaurants based on this thread but I wanted to chime in as someone who used to go to wburg often (4 years in park slope, here... 2 years in bedstuy before that)

                                The best option is taking the G straight from 7th ave to lormier and then walking wherever you need to go. You'll be let out a bit "off the beaten path" (meaning about 10 mins walk from bedford ave) but waiting for the L to transfer one stop is not worth it. Its a safe area and an easy walk and its not nearly as far as it looks on a map.
                                A car service is going to run you at LEAST $16. When I was lugging band equipment to gigs in wburg it was $17 almost every time unless we managed to get a repeat driver for $16 and then we made up the rest in tip. Basically its going to be $20 each way after tip.
                                Biking is an option if you're comfortable but honestly, if I'm making the "trek" out to wburg to eat I probably A) don't want to be sweaty/dirty when I get wherever I'm going and B) don't want to possibly be riding home under the influence of ANY alcohol. The way I bike it you go through a bit of a "rough spot" there betwen the burg and ft greene and it can be a little unnerving even if you're totally sober. I used to bike around bedstuy and bushwick pretty regularly and I wouldnt consider a late-night ride from wburg to the slope to be a reasonable option. If you're just going on a nice day to hang out in the burg, thats different... but to make a "night of it" I would NOT bike. Thats personal preference obviously.

                                ALL this aside, I VERY rarely go to wburg now that I'm settled into the slope. its easier to get to EV than wburg so if I have a hankering for something I can't get within walking distance of here (VERY rare) I go into the city. I happen to live near a few trains so it only takes me about 25 mins to get to union sq...brooklyn really isn't "that" far from manhattan, you know :)

                                1. re: CarmenR

                                  Thanks Mandymac and CarmenR for your great advice. I do have a bike, but will likely only use it during the day for short errands and not eating out. I'm not scared of bad neighborhoods, just dangerous drivers. Way too many reckless drivers out there. You 2 be careful!

                                  Mandymac - Very happy to hear that you're now a BK convert. I know there are many good restaurants in BK outside of Williamsburg, but my hours-and-hours of online research has given me the impression that most places (ok I know this is a gross generalization), are only great "for Brooklyn". Makes me sad every time I read that! noisejoke's post above makes more and more sense now.

                                  CarmenR - I know Brooklyn really isn't that far from Manhattan, but never having needed to take the subway more than 5-7 stops to get to most places in my 10 years of living downtown has completely warped my sense of distance! I'm also the type of downtown Manhattanite who doesn't leave the below 23rd-street bubble unless I'm going to the airport. I know I'm insufferable :(

                                  1. re: Noodle fanatic

                                    "Only great for Brooklyn" not true at all! If it helps I used to review restaurants for the Observer. I've tried lots of places. We definitely have a handful of places that would stand up to the Manhattan comparison. Sure there aren't as many, but we're not Manhattan, we're Brooklyn. And there are tons of great discoveries waiting for you out here.

                                    I'd still urge you to try biking. North Park Slope to South Williamsburg is like 4 miles or something. Not to mention there's lots of cool stuff down in Red Hook. For me, anything short of crossing the bridge is a "short errand," and really I think there's no special hazard to "Brooklyn drivers." There is less traffic in Brooklyn. It is simply less dangerous to ride.

                            2. Noodle fanatic, I have to admit that i feel your pain and am thankful I found this thread. I recently moved from Bayard St in Chinatown to Park Slope. Not only am I having difficulty adjusting to finding cheap delicious places to eat in (hard to beat $1 dumplings, buns, etc downstairs from my old apt) but it's been hard to find fresh produce, meat, fish. I've been cooking a lot more these days. So far, I've been eating at ZuZu Ramen, Sheep Station, Oaxaca, Bogota Bistro, Los Pollitos, Ghenet and Alchemy.

                              -----
                              Sheep Station
                              149 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                              Los Pollitos
                              148 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: lochan

                                lochan - keep checking back on this thread and let's exchange tips! Which were your old haunts in Manhattan? Would like to get an idea of what types of foods you love so I can make help make appropriate recommendations once I try more places in and around Park Slope.

                                I can't believe no one mentioned BROOKLYN FISH CAMP (5th Ave/Degraw) on this thread yet for oysters!!! I really like its sister restaurant Mary's Fish Camp in the West Village, so I'm pretty sure Brooklyn Fish Camp will be equally as delicious! I'm so excited!

                                I went to the Hanco's on 5th Ave/10th St. for banh mi and bubble tea today, it was delicious! A bit pricey (sandwiches are $1 more than their Bergen St. location) - $6.50 for the classic banh mi and $4 for the 12oz bubble tea - but nice to know it's so convenient to my new apartment. Will try Henry's, Ba Xuyen, and Nicky's to compare then report back, but pretty sure Hanco's will be my neighborhood best pick. Can't beat the proximity. Anyone care to comment where Henry's and Nicky's stand between Hanco's and Ba Xuyen?

                                -----
                                Ba Xuyen
                                4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                                Hanco's
                                85 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                                Brooklyn Fish Camp
                                162 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                                  Ba Xuyen blows them all away! But if I had to pick among the others, and stay near Park Slope, I would go for Nicky's. It's the best.

                                  -----
                                  Ba Xuyen
                                  4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                                  1. re: Mandymac

                                    My three favourite restaurants in or near enough to Park Slope are Franny's, Al di la and Palo Santo. Judging from numerous meals, all of them are as good as anywhere comparable in Manhattan and Palo Santo, in particular, is mysteriously underrated. Roman's in Fort Greene is also not far away and inconsistently excellent.

                                    -----
                                    Palo Santo
                                    652 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215