Lost in Downtown Brooklyn
I'm visiting from LA and decided to stay at the Aloft Hotel (next to the Sheraton). It's quite close to the Jay St. station but I can't figure out if it's close to anything else worth my while. I have the luxury of an expense account but I'm looking for anything more interesting than Junior's. I'm intrigued by the Dekalb Market but its hours seem to have only diminished since last discussed. I'd love to find a great slice (I'm in Brooklyn, after all) but I'm open to any hound-worthy spots. Smith St. is famous but my sense is that its offerings are primarily South of Atlantic Avenue. Any help would be truly appreciated.
avoid smith street at all costs. jay street station takes you to manhattan so fast, might as well hang out there
More interesting than Junior's? Is that possible? At the least go there for a late night dessert extravaganza. Their strawberry cheese pie is outstanding.
It's an easy walk to Atlantic Ave from your hotel. There are a couple of Middle Eastern places that are worthy but not fancy. Bedouin Tent and Tripoli come to mind.
Pizza!! Lucali!! Excellent and once again, not a bad walk down Court St which also has a number of fine restaurants. Frankie's, Fragole and Prime Meats are exceptional. Stop by Court St Pastry for an Italian Ice or pastry.
I second the recommendation for Frankie's. You can also head to Court Street for pastries at Sweet Melissa. Wander toward Court Street down Atlantic Avenuea nd stop at Blue Marble for ice cream, too. I disagree about hanging out in Manhattan; some of the best food is going in Broklyn right now. If you're still going to be here on Saturday, hop on the L train to Bedford Avenue and visit Smorgasburg, the food flea market sponsored by the Brooklyn Flea people. You would also do well to get to Williamsburg for Peter Luger and Pies n Thighs. If you want to stay in your neck of the woods, though, you could do worse than Junior's for cheesecake. There's also a new outpost of the Shake Shack on Fulton Street.
Sweet Melissa closed a few months ago.
While there's nice recommendations for Lucali and Frankie's/Prime Meats, those are fairly far walks from where OP is staying. If he doesn't mind the 20 minutes walk to Lucali, or 30 minute walk to Frankie's, they're 2 of the best options in the neighborhood. There's nothing really fantastic in Downtown, but besides looking South, I would also highly recommend a walk north to Vinegar Hill House which is jsut as far of a walk but a completely different neighborhood and type of cuisine. My favorite pizza that's actually close to you is Sottocasa on Atlantic between Smith and Hoyt, though note that it's a sit down and order an individual pie from a waiter type of joint. Smith Street is full of perfectly OK food but there's nothing restaurant-wise that really stands out except Saul, but that's a pretty pricey, white tablecloth restaurant.
There's nothing really in downtown Brooklyn. Need to head out. There are some posters who are willing to walk a lot further than I am for a meal. Frankie's has got to be close to a two mile walk from your hotel. I like the place but if you go, take the train but then that brings up the whole issue of whether you need to stay in Brooklyn at all. Williamsburg isn't an easy travel option unless you are taking a cab. Smith Street isn't that far. Your observation that most of the places are south of Atlantic is right but you don't have to go all the way down. Lunetta is only a block and a half south of Atlantic. Also close by on Atlantic are Mile End for montreal deli (get the poutine)and Bacchus for bistro fare. You can grab a bahn mi at Nicky's. Go west on Atlantic and you will find Colonie which is one of my favorites in the area. They're all within a 15 minute or so walk.
«Need to head out.» But not very far. With a _little_ walking, you can get to some very good places nearby. Since you say you are on an expense account, why not try the River Café? Very good food and service with extraordinary views of Manhattan, especially at sunset. The prices are higher than the food warrants, however, as you are also paying for the view. Then on Court St., north of Atlantic), there is Queen, a very good Italian restaurant. Also in North Brooklyn Heights, you have Henry's End (new American), Noodle Pudding (Italian-cash only) and Jack the Horse Tavern.
Avoid Smith Street at all costs?! That's utter nonsense. There are a few crappy places on Smith Street, but there are a lot of good spots too. But yes, everything worth going to on Smith is south of Atlantic.
I have no issues with any of the recommendations so far. Here are a few others that are good:
The Grocery (you'll need a rez)
Char No. 4
For good cocktails: Clover Club
For good craft beer: Bar Great Harry.
All of these places are on Smith St.
As many have noted, this is a really nice area to walk around. In fact, west of Smith, over towards Clinton and Henry are some of the most beautiful parts of Brooklyn-- both north and south of Atlantic.
Junior's is good ONLY for cheesecake and griddled diner food.
Surprised nobody mentioned Yemen Cafe for Lamb Leg and Salta
Right around the corner is iron chef house. I enjoy their specials board. Not traditional Japanese, but what a great little neighborhood spot.
I certainly suggest walking around. You'll be not too far from the columbia waterfront district which has a great little street style thai joint, pok pok:
Then you might as well go down to the red hook ball fields from there
Don't forget to detour and get a swingle
oh and a beer from sunny's
on your way back to the free shuttle to downtown:
yeah it seems Vinegar Hill House has blown away some of my friends...i thought it was pretty middle of the road and overpriced when i had tried it. guess it might depend on what their specials are.
i think colonie is great for dinner and dessert (actually i was recently blown away by their version of carrot cake - try it if it's still on the menu!). however, their brunch is more ambitious than well-executed.