I was in Brooklyn lately and ate at two known places, I'd like to share my experience:
1) Basil - 2nd time there, totally underwhelmed, real lousy coffee, even after a fresh pot, Had their basic Pizza, Eh! nothing special, would've rather had a good slice at some of the regular Pizza shops we all like.Ok ambiance.
2) Pardess- Probably one of my best dining experiences ever! Guys I were with know I love food and ordered me one of everything! then when I eyed the burger and sliced meat sandwich ( with fake bacon) at another table, They brought those over as well.
Tongue - out of this world, so soft and delicious
Ox hearts - ok
Burger and beef sandwich - amazing (wish thry would have baguette buns...)
Lamb, veal etc - delicious
meat pizza - ok
They had this squash coconut soup that was phenomenal
Desserts were so so, but loved the unique Cammomille ice cream
Beers were amazing, nice wine selection,
Prices were incredibly reasonable, Service was great (loved the head waiter) My only regret is I didnt ask to meet the owner. Next time!
IMHO Basil is the best, most exciting kosher restaurant in the world. (If anyone knows a better one, please share)
That said, I disagree with the OP about Basil. A meal at Basil is maybe half or 2/3 the price of one at Pardes, so they aren't really in the same category.
Still, I was at Basil just this week, and tasted a lovely squash soup served in an acorn squash. A seared tuna in pesto that was not only lovely, but interesting. A couple of bites of a Magherita pizza seemed nice, but unexciting. And a sliver of pumpkin cheesecake (fluffy center, not oversweet, nice pumpkin flavor) that left me wanting more.
Basil is certainly one of the better kosher restaurants in New York and well worth the journey from Manhattan.
It is, of course, only steps from the Chabad children's museum (creed neutral - works for all Jewish kids) You can wear the kids out so they will sit and eat pizza while you enjoy your meal. And it is a safe, pleasant one mile walk from the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanic Garden where the cherry trees are now in full bloom.
oh, also, it's not "fake bacon" at Pardes, it's real lamb belly bacon.
Haven't tried Basil. We wanted to, but my kids talked me out of it. "You're driving from Teaneck to Brooklyn for Pizza? Are you nuts?"
Yet they had a totally different response to our excursions to Pardes. Each time we go, we have to report our meal in excruciating detail...and we make our kids do the same. Our youngest is spending the year in Israel and has already announced that she wants to go to Pardes for her "welcome back" meal. Moishe, get ready for 6 big foodies mid-June!