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Littleneck (Gowanus)

I know some chowhounds love to hate Alan Harding, but.... I was wondering if any of you have been to Littleneck on 3rd Ave.? Any reports would be appreciated! TIA.

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Littleneck
288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

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  1. Okay, I'll answer my own question! Went to Littleneck last night. The place had a very nice "buzz" -- surprisingly packed and lively, considering it was a rainy Wednesday night and the god-forsaken Gowanus location. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere.... The waitress recommended a delicious Loire valley muscadet when I asked about white wine. However, I've go to give the food mixed reviews. The New England clam chowder was creamy and had a good amount of clams, but was overwhelmed with too much pepper (white pepper, I think). The lobster roll ($18) was fine, but came on a little plate with just a few little pickles. Couldn't they just throw in some chips or fries or something? Finally, the bread pudding dessert (a special for that night) was disappointing.

    I appreciate what they are trying to do, and I am certainly willing to give it another try. Am curious about the steamers, the fish "choucroute" and some other dishes.... But so far I wasn't blown away by the food.

    I'm still curious what other chowhounds think, so please feel free to chime in.

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    Littleneck
    288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

    3 Replies
    1. re: parkslopemama

      How far is it from the Bell House? I'm going there for a concert on Saturday...if its close I could see trying it out.

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      Bell House
      149 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

      1. re: EricMM

        It's about 9-10 blocks north of the Bell House, on Third Ave. near Carroll Street.

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        Bell House
        149 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        1. re: parkslopemama

          I tried to go there after the Bell House, but the place was totally packed, people waiting out the door. So my friends and I walked further and went to Brooklyn Fish Camp. Had a great meal too.

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

          Bell House
          149 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

    2. The polish bacon was a win. Service was good. Priced fair. Long live alan harding and the dudes.

      1. Great meal.

        Frau Hambone insists her lobster roll come on toasted and buttered bun, so marks off for lack of butter on the bun. The lobster salad was good, the lobster fresh. I would have given it a B+ she said C+ for failing to butter the bun.

        We had several apps:
        Bacon is awesome (menu does not do it justice.)
        New England Clam Chowder, more savory than any clam chowder I've had in NE. Delicious.
        Beet salad special -- dressed perfectly, nice combo.
        Belon(?) oyster from Maine -- I'm not an oyster guy but had to try this. It was really good.

        As I said, the missus had a lobster roll which passed but did not overwhelm her (she is a tough critic of lobster rolls.)

        I had a black bass special. This dish was almost perfect. It was amazing. The bass was cooked perfectly, the preparation was inventive and tasty. But it was served on potato puree and the potatoes were not as warm as they should have been.

        My two real cons of the evening:
        * The menu does not do the food justice. I don't need the recipe in front of me but a more thoughtful menu -- I think -- makes for a better dining experience.
        * The seating... a narrow booth or a too small and too low chair. (I'll admit there is a good bit more ham on these bones than my Doctor might prefer, but nobody over ten years of age is going to be comfy on those chairs.)

        Beer and wine list is well thought out. Staff was professional and spot on.

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        Littleneck
        288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        1. We went tonite. Walked in, took seats at the kitchen end of the bar and wound up talking to Alan Harding about his new gig there. Since I'm one of those that have always appreciated the role he's played in the development of decent restaurants in Bklyn (from his brief partnership at Petit Crevette to his opening of Patois to his "Cookin' in Bklyn" show), I'm happy he's back. Then, the bartender/owner (the "clean cut" one with the Grateful Dead jones (That's all that was being played... Pigpen vintage material) came over and took our order. A nice glass of red for Ginny and a very nice stout ("Mother's Milk Stout") for me. A nice sized bowl of steamers with slivers of garlic and a lot of very flavorful but not extremely hot red chile slices infusing the clams was very good, as was the peppery clam chowder with chunks of potato and a not too thick or creamy base (we liked it this way). For her main, Ginny got the lobster roll ($18) & got the skate ($17). I'm not a lobster roll person but Ginny seemed to like hers just fine and it seemed full of lobster and not overly dressed. The skate, a huge wing (maybe they sized up my appetite?), was incredibly meaty and very well prepared on a bed of parsnip puree. some greens around the plate and a little brown sugar "sauce". This was outstanding.

          All in all, this is a very informal, friendly place that we'll return to. The during dinner Dead conversation with the owner (ranging from the early stuff's similarity to garage band music to Relix mag., which was right in the immediate area of this place) made for a nice change from the "music" kids listen to today ;-) . For a Monday night (they're closed Tuesdays), it was 90% full at tables and at the bar. Cash only, it cost us $90 + tip and I think that it was well worth it. As we left, Chef Harding came out and said "thanks for coming.... don't keep it a secret". I don't intend to.

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          Littleneck
          288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          1 Reply
          1. re: Steve R

            thanks for the review. I'm going to drag the Mr. there for date night tomorrow.

          2. Sorry, I would not necessarily recommend this place...After our first visit for the opening week, we returned back with a big group of friends and occupied a cozy boot. We had fun altogether with the friendly waitresses, nice music...Nice atmosphere and tastiness of all the dishes we ordered seemed to polish away how awkwardly over priced were the items and how little were the portions. After when we got back home, my husband and I admitted to each other that we were still hungry after all we have paid and could not discuss how little we were offered in front of our friends whom we have invited. We live on 3rd avenue; being great foodies we are always up for supporting local businesses especially restaurants in the hood.
            After our third visit, I was strongly reminded again how greedy the owners of this place are: that they count every spoon that fills their soup (we were told the 10 dollar soup cup was half full because it was a very expensive squash or the 16 dollar octopus was only one leg divided into three little pieces because it came from Portugal)
            Their rolls are a little smaller than normal and salad is half the size you would normally get. We were lucky tonight to have stopped there for just drinks and a couple of appetizers not for a full meal. Mussels, clams, little necks, steamers all are tasty , but again small size, little on the salty side. Ingredients are fresh but seemingly rare and luxurious...(think as if you are eating truffles)
            Gowanus in general is a friendly neighborhood, not pretentious, not obnoxious. As the previous reviewers say this is a quiet corner, not hard to find. I suggest you go to Little Neck when you are not really hungry and when you want to have a little taste from the sea. The guests you may find friendly and not so rowdy, but be prepared to be treated as you would dine in Manhattan, paying big bucks -CASH ONLY- for tiny food. The management /owners won t offer you crumbs for free.
            I am always sad to see people sharing their bad experiences not bringing constructive feedback to their local eateries, but I truly believe this particular one deserves attention for serving so little and cheating people with decor and ambience. Hopefully their next-door brother newly opened Pines restaurant does not share the same degree of greediness and stinginess

             
            1 Reply
            1. re: lydia77

              If fully agree with you lydia77. The food is well done but way overpriced.