Brooklyn’s political palate: Elected officials dish out top eats in District Dining Guide

Brooklyn politicians weigh in on where to eat and what to order around the borough.
Brooklyn’s city officials weigh in on where to eat and what to order around the borough.
File photo by Michael Tulipan

The politicians Brooklynites turn to for guidance and support just dished out some vital advice — where to grab some grub.

Civic leaders shared their go-to eateries and meals in the first annual “District Dining Guide.” The guide was published earlier this year by the New York Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit that bills itself as the “leading voice for NYC’s restaurant and nightlife industry.” Since their founding in 2012, the group has worked to promote Big Apple bars, restaurants, nightclubs and more.

With the District Dining Guide, the group has worked to bridge the gap between government and local business — and, when it comes to deciding where to eat and what to order, local leaders have got Brooklyn covered.

Here are the eateries highlighted by elected officials in the inaugural guide:

Shalom Japan (310 S. Fourth Ave., Williamsburg)

Where is the Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso grabbing a meal? None other than Shalom Japan on Fourth Avenue. Reynoso said when he’s hungry, he’s heading out to order the Sake Kasu Challah and Matzoh Ball Ramen. 

“Shalom Japan is one of Brooklyn’s shining culinary examples,” he said in a statement. “There’s nothing more Brooklyn, and delish, [than] a fusion of Jewish and Japanese cuisine.”

Fin Du Monde (38 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint) 

Council Member Lincoln Restler, who represents Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill and Williamsburg, said he’ll order just about anything from his favorite spot, Fin Du Monde. From the salmon and chicken to the burgers and fries, Restler calls the menu “awesome.”

“This amazing nabe spot is just a husband and wife: Christian and Mona. They cook, clean, make cocktails — all of it. It’s as cozy as it is delicious,” Restler said. 

Say cheers to some of the best eats in Brooklyn, according to the people who help run it.
Say cheers to some of the best eats in Brooklyn, according to the people who help run it. Elina Sazonova/Pexels

Sazon Perez (417 S. Fourth St., Williamsburg)

If locals are looking to try a traditional Dominican breakfast, Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez of District 34  recommends the Tres Golpes from Sazon Perez. The authentic breakfast includes fried Dominican-style salami, fried cheese, and fried eggs served alongside mangú, mashed plantains.

“Amazing Dominican food and incredible community-based service,” she said. “A classic spot for Los Sures families, workers and anyone passing through.”

Sofreh (75 St. Marks Ave., Prospect Heights)

Brooklyn is known for celebrating culture through arts and entertainment programs, but they represent diversity most deliciously through their plethora of tasty restaurants. Council Member Crystal Hudson said one of her favorite places to eat is a Prospect Heights spot with international roots. 

“Serving traditional Iranian food with a modern twist, it provides comfort and cuisine in equal parts,” she said, noting the owner’s unique story. “As chair of the City Council’s Committee on the Aging, it’s also special to know Sofreh was opened by Nasim as her lifelong dream at 60+ years of age.” 

She recommends getting the tahini and date salad, lamb shank with herb rice and saffron rice pudding.

Yafa Cafe (4415 Fourth Ave., Sunset Park)

Up next is a Yemenis spot Council Member Alexa Avilés swears by. 

“Yafa never disappoints,” said Avilés. “Its portions are perfect. Flavors and coffee are on point.”

The politicians said it’s too hard to pick just one of her favorite meals from the Sunset Park eatery so she suggested ordering the Sunset Sammy, a yummy twist on an egg and cheese sandwich, chicken and waffles, a chicken sandwich and of course the Yemeni coffee. 

Shaxian Snacks (818 60th St., Sunset Park)

Council Member Susan Zhuang of District 43 has a go-to treat that Brooklynites are sure to love whether they’re eating out or looking to order in. The Chinese restaurant serves all of the best: dumplings, noodles, soup, wontons and more. 

“Shaxian Snacks is cheap and delicious. My go-to [is] the soup dumplings,” Zhuang said. 

Bamboo Walk Caribbean Restaurant (1343 Utuca Ave., East Flatbush)

Finding an authentic Caribbean dish is an easy feat in Brooklyn. If locals are looking for a taste of the Islands, Council Member Farah Louis recommends the fish and chips from this East Flatbush spot off of Utica Avenue.

“Black-owned East Flatbush gem featuring divine Caribbean cuisine, community ties and beautiful atmosphere for both casual dining and special outings,” Louis said in a statement. 

Trini Jam (9501 Flatlands Ave., Canarsie)

Another City Council representative, Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, said Brooklyn can’t go wrong with dishes from delicious Trini Jam. She recommends starting with the firecracker shrimp appetizer before ordering the chicken roti.

“Trini Jam is a great spot with a terrific atmosphere, delicious food and best of all it’s owned and operated by a couple who live in the neighborhood,” Narcisse said.

Aleli (7804 3rd Ave., Bay Ridge)

District 47 Council Member Justin Brannan is the only pol to suggest a local Mexican eatery. He recommends Aleli, no matter the occasion. 

“Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or you wanna hang for a few hours with friends, Aleli is just a chill Mexican spot,” he said. 

His go-to meal is an order of vegetarian nachos, paired with several mezcal margaritas.

Michael’s of Brooklyn (2929 Ave. R, Sheepshead Bay)

Council Member Inna Vernikov of District 48 says she’s a regular at a spot Sheepshead Bay residents are sure to love. Michael’s, a family-centered Italian eatery, serves up traditional Italian meals from warm and cold antipasti and pasta dishes, to all the entrees and desserts locals could dream of.

When asked to share her thoughts, Vernikov said Michael’s hits all the marks.

“Excellent food, traditional Italian, great service,” she said.

More eats

The Hospitality Alliance hopes to release the District Dining Guide each year going forward, and to reach out to additional New York electeds. In the meantime, New Yorkers can browse the picks of pols across the five boroughs by checking out the guide, and residents can find their district and representative by looking up their address online.

(Update 5/15/2024 at 11:15 a.m.): This story has been updated to provide a more accurate address for Shalom Japan.