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Weekend in Brooklyn

My husband and I live in Manhattan. We are ‘of a certain age.’ We are planning to take a ‘vacation’ to Brooklyn in November, because we’re sick of reading about all the great restaurants there which we never go to because we can’t bear the long trek home.

We’ll be staying in downtown Brooklyn, and will be there from Fri eve to Sunday afternoon. We like small, farm-to-table type restaurants that take reservations. My husband is not that adventurous in terms of ethnic food, so we’ll have to miss some of those great options. Also, we need brunch recommendations with non-egg alternatives as he doesn’t like them.

Looking for recommendations for our Brooklyn food vacation - places I've been considering are:

Applewood
Battersby
DuMont
James (although they don't take res)
Anella

Thanks!
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  1. Henry's End is excellent and probably walkable from your hotel.
    Prime Meats and Freddies are another great option.
    Melt is one of our favorites.
    Nathans hot dog, French fries and root beer lunch on the Coney Island boardwalk is priceless.

    1. I really do not care for Applewood, I've been dragged multiple times and have found the food to be mediocre and insipid. I personally think the popularity of Applewood is more marketing than quality and that's indicative of more than 1 Park Slope restaurant (see Fonda). I have found the service at Applewood to be pretentious, but really it comes down the the food being completely lackluster, yet expensive.

      Dumont has a great burger, but in general I feel that everything is overpriced for what you get.

      The head chef from Anella opened up Battersby, which is probably your best bet. I'd choose Battersby over the others (excepting James, since I haven't been there).

      For breakfast, I would go to Egg, they have many options without eggs :) so your husband will be ok.

      Blue Ribbon has an amazing oyster happy hour deal and their raw bar is excellent.

      Al Di La is a must, fantastic Italian food and surprisingly reasonable.

      You might also want to consider Rosewater, the kitchen can be inconsistent but I still think it's quite a bit better than Applewood.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pookipichu

        We just had our third dinner of the year at Osteria Convivium, and the food each time was excellent. It has a spanish/portugese /italian focus, a warm ambiance and good wines. Also, unlike Al Di La, you can reserve.

        James is on my corner but we've only been a couple of times, It had promise but we didnt feel the love. In that same area, you might consider Frannys in their new digs (certainly serious locavores) or offshoot Marco's (just opening this week in the old space). The new Morgans BBQ is also worthy and laidback(and they care about the quality and raising of their meats.

        The Good Fork in Redhook has a good brunch menu not totally egg-oriented

        1. re: Pookipichu

          Completely Agree on Al Di La. (But they don't take reservations!)

          Completely disagree on Applewood.

          1. re: hambone

            Well Applewood is very popular so I'm sure you're not the only one who disagrees with me :) All I can say is I've had really mediocre but expensive food, every time I've went (hoping to see what others liked about it )and I personally wouldn't go there again.

        2. The Elm by Paul Liebrandt from Corton.

          1. If you're staying in downtown Brooklyn, I'm not sure that places in Williamsburg will be any more convenient depending on where you live in Manhattan. Basically to get from here to there, the best option is driving/taking a car or taxi. Depending on how far into Brooklyn you go, the trek back to the hotel could be pretty long. So I will recommend places in the area.

            If you do stay in downtown Brooklyn, I would suggest you try Atrium in Dumbo. Its recently opened. We've only been once but it was it very good contemporary french influenced food. They don't take reservations but as they have not seemed to attract much attention yet I don't think it will be too hard to get a table.

            One standby in the area for me is Colonie. Also have come around on Red Gravy. Wasn't too thrilled by RG at first but it has grown on me. Neither of them take reservations but RG is pretty easy to get in. Colonie on a weekend could be a wait, but the bar is a nice place to hang out depending on what your certain age is. They also do a nice brunch where there are lots of non-egg options.

            If you're interested in higher end dining, Saul is a michelin starred place on Smith street.

            Further down on Court, we love Frankie's 457.

            1. Don't miss Junior's for a late night dessert. Amazing "Mile High" sundaes and cheesecake.
              Our favorite is the Strawberry Cheese pie.
              Order an egg cream too!! You won't be disappointed.

              1. Thanks all. We had eliminated Al di La and Rosewater because we have eaten there before and want to try new stuff.

                We did think of Saul but they are moving to the Brooklyn Museum and not sure when will re-open.

                Is the Grocery worth a try? Those tables look awfully close together... is it over-hyped?

                2 Replies
                1. re: kschuman

                  I've eaten at Grocery several times and I like it more than Saul. Both are very good, but the food at Grocery is more creative and their menu changes often. Saul reminds me of a top notch restaurant on Long Island, whereas Grocery has more of the Brooklyn spirit. The room is very small and the tables are smallish and close together but the food is excellent and thoughtful, definitely not over-hyped. I've had 3 tasting menus at Grocery and only 2 dishes were clunkers.

                  1. re: kschuman

                    Despite middling reports on this board we had a good meal a couple weeks ago at Red Gravy - if youre looking for Saul Bolton's food but not at the moved Saul. The pasta i tried was just ok (oricchete w rabe and sausage) and i felt like the nightly special of sausage and peppers/onions was a bit pedestrian, but the meatballs, arancini, and mains (steak and pork chop) were all terrific. excellent cocktails and a nice (and uncrowded) room.

                  2. regarding eggless brunch - it appears that our two favorite brunch spots, Building on Bond and Mile End would both be on the lunchier end of brunch if he didnt want an egg dish, but take a look at either's menu (and know that you have to get in to Mile End early to avoid a wait - walking in at 11 is usually pretty easy, 1, less so)

                    1. Just had a great dinner at Red Gravy. (Those meatballs with polenta are slammin.)

                      Pork Slope was fun and good but no reservations.

                      Somebody else recommended Conviviuum. Really good food.

                      Oh, and Thistle Hill has brunch as well as a good dinner!

                      1. Williamsburg:
                        Le Barricou
                        Amazing. Even if you just stay for a drink, have their shrimp bloody mary. Greatness!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jarona

                          i know the OPs are done having their BK vacation (which was such a cute idea!), but La Vara has a lot of great eggless brunch items.

                        2. REPORT:
                          We've had our Brooklyn weekend and loved it! We had dinner at Battersby and The Grocery...both excellent. We ended up staying on Smith Street and liked being able to walk to dinner.
                          We loved the croissants at Bien Cuit (had to throw out the one from Konditori - stale and inedible!) and breakfast at Cafe Luluc (only place open before 10 or 11 am) which was actually suprisingly good despite diner feel.
                          The highlight for me was actually our lunch at Roberta's - seriously great pizza.
                          Thanks, all!

                          2 Replies