Gentlemen, start your entrees.
On Monday, more than 200 restaurants from Greenpoint to Gravesend and from Red Hook to Bushwick will kick off the seventh annual “Dine in Brooklyn” week, a 10-day festival of three-course, (mostly) gourmet dinners for just $25. Lunches at participating restaurants are $20.10, which should be easy to remember.
“The culinary epicenter of America is right here in Brooklyn,” said Borough President Markowitz, who delights in his annual role as the city’s maitre d’.
But which restaurants are worth your time (and your dime)? The GO Brooklyn team fanned out across this great borough, sampling dishes that will grace menus next week. Our guide is by no means comprehensive, so for information on Dine in Brooklyn, visit www.visitbrooklyn.org.
32 Withers St. between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue in Williamsburg. (718) 384-8831
An institution in Williamsburg since the early 1900s, this old-school Italian restaurant will be serving up mussels marinara as part of its Dine In Brooklyn menu. Covered with a bold tomato sauce and a generous amount of parsley, the mussels are fresh and flavorful. The meatballs are excellent, too.
Bread and Butter
46 Henry St. between Cranberry and Middagh streets in Brooklyn Heights. (718) 858-9605
Opened in early January in the site that housed Le Petit Marche, Bread and Butter brings its Southern-fried goodness to Dine In Brooklyn. Sure, the Gray Lady from Manhattan recently panned the joint, but we had a more pleasant experience, chomping on a delicious macaroni and cheese (we went the extra mile and ordered the high-end version — with truffles, porcini mushrooms and aged parmigiano), and followed it with the burger, cooked to perfection and featuring carmalized onions, bacon and cheddar cheese. Tell the New York Times to eat it (no, we’re talking about the burger!).
434 Seventh Ave. between 14th and 15th streets in Park Slope, (718) 369-3144
Less than a year in business, Fonda is already one of the most popular restaurants in Park Slope. And one of the best things on the menu (besides the Margaritas) will be featured next week: pork adobo. Our sampling revealed the myriad tastes embedded in this bowl of tender porcine goodness: there’s heat from the chiles, sweetness from the chocolate and the savory quality that only pork can provide. The duck zarape — two corn tortillas filled with shredded duck and a tangy tomato-habanero sauce — made for a delicious appetizer.
195 Dekalb Avenue at Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 855-9190
This 10-year-old South African stalwart is much loved for its quirky, otherworldly menu featuring Indian- and African-influence South African food like samosas (called “samoosas” on this menu) and curries. But the standout dish are the sweet and vinegary baby back ribs, which fall off the bone in juicy morsels covered in a thick, fruity barbecue sauce.
440 Bergen St. between Fifth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope, (718) 230-5925
Owner Muguette Siem A Sjoe will put two outstanding main courses on her special menu: a barbecued short rib of beef that resembles an NFL football in girth, and a delightfully juicy salmon with a crisp skin. Sjoe’s five-year-old eatery just landed “Top Chef” star Mark Simmons, who is continuing the restaurant’s success — and makes a nice molten chocolate cake (with sea salt and black pepper to cut the cliche).
652 Union St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 636-6311
If the pork tacos can speak for the rest of the three-course meal you’ll be served at Palo Santo, you’re in for a wild ride of Latin American flavors. We finally found some pork that actually has some taste and kick to it, and the homemade guacamole alone will send any avocado lover into a munching frenzy.
8201 Third Ave. at 82nd Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-6666
Chef Anthony Rinaldi show off his food zeal best with his grilled tilapia and risotto dish. The tilapia — usually a flavorless fish — is given a sweet and salty zest with a smattering of sauces, all atop a creamy bed of cheesy risotto (with shrimp!), grilled asparagus and a beef ginger emulsion. Considering that this entree is $25 on a normal day, it’ll be a steal during Dine in Brooklyn.
Provence en Boite
263 Smith St. at Degraw Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 797-0707
Jean-Jacques and Leslie Bernat’s country French joint is a lilac-scented treat. This year, the Dine in Brooklyn menu will feature the couple’s oh-so-traditional onion soup (yes, it’s covered in a thick blanket of Gruyere) and salad cosi, a stack that features a marinated portobello mushroom, a thick slice of tomato, and a cap of goat cheese atop garlic toast.