Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Jun 4, 2011 03:33 PM

New in Bed Stuy: Do or Dine

I put this up on yelp (boooo), but figured I should cross post to give these guys some extra publicity%3

Even though it's waaaay too early to do a proper review of this spot (that would be on my blog anyway), this being the internets, it's impossible to pass up the opportunity to be the first.

We checked out Do or Dine last night on what was supposed to be their opening night. I'm not sure if it really was, since they're still kind of winging it (that's not supposed to be pejorative). It turned out they spent the day building a deck rather than preparing for their grand opening. I support their chosen priority, since this will be a very cool space when complete.

The food:

Shitake mushroom carpaccio with parmesan was a little heavy on the lemon, but displayed solid technique and was well-plated.

Pork "nachos" were essentially fried dumplings-- an interesting surprise. The pork filling was a little lost, but the dumplings were perfectly fried, resembling nachos, and topped with a generous amount of cheddar cheese. Wasabi caviar (like at Russ & Daughters) in the sour cream sauce was a cool surprise.

Lamb belly with cumin and lime was the chef's rendition of the classic Chinese dish. I hate to call something lip-smackingly good, but I very clearly remember licking the mixture of lamb fat and cumin off my lips (and off the plate). We got a second order...

We split a main of duck breast with sansho (apparently a Japanese spice related to Sichuan peppercorn), fennel and kiwi. Duck breast was served medium rare without asking and the skin was as crisp as I could possibly hope. Awesome. Interesting combination of flavors, I'm still kind of working it over in my head.

To finish, we split a black sesame root beer float. I kind of wish they'd put some of those black sesames on the lamb belly like the Muslim Lamb Chop at Fu Run. They also have Snickers Ice Cream Bars if you're so inclined.

idn't really expect much on the first night, but was impressed enough to come back. They don't have servers yet either, and the guy who ended up helping us out described himself as a "friend and impromptu waiter." Still, this is a dedicated bunch of guys who have clearly put a ton of sweat and effort into putting this place together.

Looking forward to more food & drink at a unique Bed Stuy spot.

CH is being wonky, so the address is:

1108 Bedford Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11216

Do or Dine
1108 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. And they have awesome signage.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChiefHDB

      You see the amazing list of "Food styles" on their Facebook page?

      American (New)
      American (Traditional)
      Asian Fusion
      Greek and Mediterranean
      Hot Dogs
      Latin American
      Soul Food
      Sushi Bars
      Tapas Bars

      1. re: squid kun

        Haha yeah. I had no idea what to expect coming in.

    2. Thanks for the tip.
      I checked it out last night with some friends who live in the area.
      The guys who run the place are very nice and accommodating, even splitting a soup into two portions for us, then comping us a third portion when an unexpected friend joined us. Absolutely unnecessary, but a good way to win customers. The prices are fair with most apps around $6-7 and entrees in the low to mid teens.

      We found everything to be good, but I thought some of the flavors were a bit muted. But then again, my taste buds are probably desensitized due to my Queens eating habits.

      Shisho peppers with 4 salts (smoked, wasabi, and two more I don't recall). $6 for an ample portion. The salts are pretty fancy and tasty, but I thought the peppers could have used more char on them (but that's just me).

      Lamb belly $7. I'm so used to the various cumin and pepper lamb versions in Flushing that I found this to be a bit lacking in spice. I don't remember tasting any cumin, although the lamb flavor itself was good. Anyone serving lamb ribs/belly/whatever should take a field trip to Fu Run for the Muslim Lamb Chops for inspiration.

      Cold mushroom soup had a very rich texture and flavor of mushroom and olive oil. It was served with a couple of deep-fried mushrooms which went well with the soy dipping sauce and green tea salt.

      Mussels in white wine and chamomile had a very subtle flavor. The mussels were very tender.

      "New Zealand" Duck is so named because it is served with kiwi fruit, as well as fennel. It came out medium rather than medium-rare as expected, but was still tender nonetheless. The pieces I had were crispy, salty and tasted like duck bacon. The lightly caramelized fennel paired well, but the kiwi didn't really seem to belong. I didn't taste the sansho at all.

      The twice-cooked fries were good and elevated by a drizzle of sesame chili oil.

      There's definitely some creative thought and ambition behind the place. I wish them the best.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. This place is great. You can tell by that list of cuisines that they are a bunch of guys having fun cooking lots of things they like. And while they don't hit home runs on everything, plenty of it is good and some is close to transcendent. I didn't expect to have two dishes that were eye-closingly, conversation-stallingly good in such a funky, raw-edged space that's definitely still finding its feet. In short, it is truly endearing and I really hope it succeeds.
          Atmosphere is like 1980's East Village--graffiti-painted back garden with wonky tables, server/owners who are psyched about what they are doing.
          Food--the foie gras doughnuts are even better than they sound. Genius. And the cold smoked-chipotle corn soup was astonishing. Other things were fine (mussels, lamb (fatty as advertised) ) and/or fun (the salmon popper, the deep-fried nachos, the tako taco). Some were both (the E666S -- get it?)
          Cost--as it's still BYOB, you can eat a lot for not very much, although the portion sizes aren't huge. But their rent is cheap and the prices reflect it.

          I'll be bringing friends and spreading the word.

          1. My wife and I went last night. We live a short walk away and have been meaning to try it out since first hearing about it. First interaction with the staff was warm and friendly. This is not a formal place - casually dressed staff (think baseball caps and tees), disco ball and uncensored hip hop music playing. We brought our own bottle of wine and they immediately offered to uncork (no corkage fee). Our waiter knew the menu cold and struck the right balance of providing his candid opinion when asked and remaining balanced. He was also pretty funny and made us feel like we were friends visiting someone's house for dinner. I didn't experience any of the spotty service that others have mentioned. It's just not formal. But our water and wine glasses remained full and there was an appropriate amount of making sure everything was to our liking.

            We decided to start with the pork & shumai dumplings and the lamb belly. The shumai were crispy with tender and flavorful minced pork inside and a burst of wasabi flavor. I'm not typically a huge fan of wasabi or anything that is extremely spicy, but this was very good. It was also served on top of a very light soy (type) sauce with scallion in it. 8/10

            The lamb belly was crispy on the outside and deliciously fatty and tender inside. Beautifully seasoned with cumin. My favorite dish of the night. 9.5/10

            For entrees, we shared the whole sea bass and fries (A Fish & Some Chips) and the duck. The fish was nicely prepared although just slightly dry for my taste. However, nicely seasoned with some raw onion and yuzu sauce. The fries were also very good. 8.25/10

            The duck was cooked to a perfect medium rare but I found it just slightly under-seasoned. The kiwi and accompanying sauce was complementary and added a nice touch. 8/10

            Overall, I really liked this place. As a kid of the hip hop generation, the casual and friendly, yet slightly edgy ambiance is up my alley although I can understand how it may not suit everyone. The staff clearly positions itself as offering creative, well-prepared stoner food with prime ingredients and diverse cultural touches.

            I like that it's unexpected but that kind of novelty usually wears off eventually. What doesn't wear off is putting out really good food and Do or Dine delivers on that front. I may be biased because they are a wonderful addition to my neighborhood and seem to employ folks from the area, but tried to keep my views on the food pretty objective. Really happy to have this place nearby and while I hope that everyone discovers it and helps it to thrive, I don't want it to become a tourist attractive that creates 2 hour waits.

            Do or Dine
            1108 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216