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New Brooklyn restaurant roundup

It looks like a few new places have emerged over the past month or so, and I thought it'd be good to list them all here instead of creating a bunch of new threads. Post your experiences if you've been to either:

Athena on Smith St, Greek (bout friggin time!!!)
Strong Place on Court St, Gastropub
Breukelyn on Clinton, New American/Locavore (replaced the old Cafe on Clinton)
Lila Cafe (sic?) on Union (old Khorongo space), New American/Locavore.

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Strong Place
270 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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  1. State -- sorry I didn't catch this soonner -- here's my first impression of Athena: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7342....

    I'd add to your list Broken English on Bergen.

    Is Breuckelen open yet?

    It's not even that new anymore, but I remain curious abott Verde (on Smith).

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    Broken English
    68 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

    Breuckelen
    268 Clinton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

    4 Replies
    1. re: Elaine Snutteplutten

      Breuckelen is open - had a very nice (in a neighborhood spot kind of way) dinner there on Friday night. Nothing blew me away, but I'm very glad to have it in the 'hood. They're trying hard to please, will follow up with a more formal review in a bit, but just wanted to let people know that they are indeed open.

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      Breuckelen
      268 Clinton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

      1. re: lambretta76

        Was at Breukelen tonight, and we didn't like it at all. Boring food, off-key service, crap wine list.

        The waitress started off the night by offering "flat or sparkling" water, which whatever, doesn't usually annoy me, but sort of surprised me for a local restaurant. We asked for tap. She seemed disappointed. This was the first sign that she seemed new at the whole waitressing thing.

        The wine list is bad. The cheaper bottles are overpriced California or French plonk. The more expensive bottles are decent, but we didn't feel like dropping $150 on a merely decent wine on a Tues night, so opted for Sixpoint on tap. Unfortunately we were told that the tap beer was "weird" and "not a good temperature" so I settled for a mediocre glass of Gruner Veltliner ($10, whole bottle usually retails for less than that.) Waitress acknowledged my order and then tried to pour me a glass of California Viognier. I caught the mistake before she poured it and she ran back to the bar and brought the right bottle. She didn't offer a taste, just poured the glass and went on her way.

        Had the prosciutto with greens salad which was ENORMOUS, like entree-sized. It was also under-dressed, over-vinegared and had cubes of some unidentified (and really incongruous) cheese buried in it. Husband had the celeriac soup, which was creamy and rich, but not that interesting.

        Entree was ricotta gnocchi with some random diver scallops tossed in. The gnocchi was fine, but a little bit mushy, and totally uninteresting. The scallops were really odd and just didn't belong in that dish. Husband had the grouper, which was plopped unceremoniously on an enormous pile of lentils, and was also just ok.

        We didn't bother with dessert.

        Oh, and it was surprisingly packed for a quiet block on a Tues night in Cobble Hill. In fact, we were seated at a 4-top and about 15 minutes into our meal, another couple was seated next to us at the same table. This was really awkward and unwelcome.

        This place seems like it was put together by someone who read about the whole Brooklyn local food trend (ala Applewood or Buttermilk Channel), but didn't really get it.

        Overall, really disappointing. We won't be back.

        1. re: oolah

          What a disappointment. Sounds like all the negatives of the later-model Cafe on Clinton with none of the positives. Being that I live half a block away I was hoping it might recall the earlier version, but I guess it's not to be.

      2. re: Elaine Snutteplutten

        I've had mixed experiences at Verde. I've been twice with groups and both time everything that we ordered with the exception of my main dish has been very good. Their burrata/proscuitto appetizer is fantastic. The 2 mains I've had which I did not enjoy was the spaghetti with sea urchin and the orecchiette with brococli rabe and sausage. Pretty much all of the other pastas have been enjoyed by my friends, the service is good, the back garden is nice and quiet. Now that we've been through the pasta menu I know what to order in the future.

        Regarding Broken English, twice now I have sat down with wife and both times we looked at each other and couldn't find a single thing that truly sounded good to order, got up and left.

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        Broken English
        68 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

      3. Strong Place is also nice in a neighborhood restaurant kind of way. I think the review in the Times a few weeks ago was pretty spot on. The food is a step up from Bocca Lupo (same owners) in creativity and preparation, with some well-prepared things (the clam sandwich was very tasty, as were the scallops with ham), and some less successful items (gazpacho tasted like they accidentally spilled a whole bottle of vinegar in). Nothing blew my mind, but most of it is well done.

        Beer list is fantastic and there are a lot of delicious and interesting beers on tap here, all very fresh. Wine list is not bad either, with a few Long Island wines on there, which you don't see that often.

        If you're a big eater, make sure to order a lot of plates. Portions are small.

        My only complaint was that the music was verrrry loud, making conversation a bit tough. Overall, it felt like I was eating in a restaurant with a bar's sound system. Maybe that's what they meant by gastropub?

        Worth a shot though, especially if you're a fan of beer and small plates.

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        Bocca Lupo
        391 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        Strong Place
        270 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

        1 Reply
        1. re: oolah

          The beer list is good, but it's probably about a 12-14 oz. pour, not a 16 oz. That said, most of the $5 beers here would cost $6 elsewhere, so it probably works out to the same price.

          BTW, the fried oyster sandwich is fantastic and I feel a steal at $10 or $11. The clams and brats dish is also good, but they use a sagey, almost breakfasty sausage, not what I'd associate with bratwurst. (That said, it's a quite tasty concoction, and the beer broth works well with both of the mains as well as the grilled bread served for soppin'.)

        2. Here's my take on Court Street's newest of the new: Brucie, opened last Thursday in the Cube 63 space: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7359...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Elaine Snutteplutten

            This 'hood is seriously lacking good ethnic restaurants (but please correct me if wrong): korean, indian, latin.

            Re Breuckelen, solid addition to the 'hood. Pork chop entree was the succulent standout.

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            Breuckelen
            268 Clinton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

            1. re: lomosalt

              I agree the ethnic options are slim, but I think its because the majority of people in the area are pretty conventional when its comes to food. Various ethnic places have come and gone over the years. There used to be the Vietnamese place on Remsen that we always seemed to dine alone in. Curry leaf lasted maybe 2 years? Even french places struggle. Remember Bistro 88 and Le Coq Hardi? Those places were often half empty on a Friday night despite having better food than the majority of places in BH. The ethnic tastes of the hood seems to run to Italian whether authentic or mediocre, so so chinese, japanese (other than Hibino) and thai. But some pretty good middle eastern is around. I'm afraid we don't get a lot of good ethnic variety because the taste buds in the area are pretty middle of the road.

          2. had a really nice meal at roman's recently. their whole roasted fish is very, very good. the pasta with braised pork was ok but not memorable. polenta app was very good.

            1. There is also Dubuque, which is on Court just below 9th St., and Palo Cortado, also on Court and a few doors up from Buttermilk Channel. Dubuque specializes in burgers, and Palo Cortado is a tapas place.

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              Buttermilk Channel
              524 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              Palo Cortado
              520 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231