Ah, summer in New York — restaurants spill out onto sidewalk, at long last root vegetables disappear off menus and finally, finally, sipping margaritas at 4 pm on a work day becomes appropriate. This is something to celebrate. Here’s our picks for summer’s dining musts, so you can do just that:
Alma: What says summer more than spot-on Mexican food with a view? Only one thing: spot-on Mexican, a view and a breezy, open-air roof deck where you can take it all in. Be sure to order Alma’s unparalleled tamales and poblano rellano – the perfect accompaniment to sucking up the equally unrivaled views of Manhattan.
Alma [187 Columbia St. at Degraw St. in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, (718) 643-5400].
L &B Spumoni Gardens: Every summer, droves of Brooklynites and pizza pilgrims alike line up for squares of Spumoni Gardens’ storied Sicilian slice, and, of course, signature spumoni ice cream. On a warm day, the massive outdoor dining area is nearly always packed, but no matter, there are few things as satisfying as a slice and some at Spumoni on a warm summer night. And if you really need an excuse to make the trek to Gravesend, August 21 is National Spumoni Day.
L&B Spumoni Gardens [2725 86th St. between 10th and 11th streets in Gravesend, (718) 372-8400].
Fatty ‘Cue: Those with a backyard fire up the barbeque, and those without head to Fatty ‘Cue to feast on pitmaster Robby Richter’s sumptuous Southeast Asian ‘Cue. Enjoy the Williamsburg sun on the just-opened patio along with a “recession special” — a shot of bourbon, spicy pickle juice and a tallboy of Pabst. Nothing spells summer like sun, barbeque and beer.
Fatty ’Cue [91 S. Sixth Street between Bedford and Berry streets in Williamsburg, (718) 599-3090]. Closed Mondays.
Brooklyn Bridge Gardens: Even before the makeunder, the patio at the once ritzy Five Front was the perfect place to enjoy a lazy summer beer. These days, community-style wooden benches have replaced the patio furniture, beer has replaced much of the food and the restaurant goes by the moniker Brooklyn Bridge Gardens. But rest assured — the patio here is still the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon. Especially now that the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge Park is but a stone’s throw away.
Brooklyn Bridge Gardens (5 Front St. between Old Fulton Street and Dock Street in DUMBO, no phone).
Habana Outpost: Only open from April to October, Habana Outpost is a true summer treat. Head here to drink $2.50 pints of Sixpoint, slushy cocktails concocted in a bicycle-powered blender, and shield yourself from the hot summer sun under bright, multicolored umbrellas. Of course, don’t forget an order of the famous corn — slathered in mayo, cotija cheese, and chile powder.
Habana Outpost [757 Fulton St. at South Portland Ave. in Fort Greene, (718) 858-9500].
iCi: Fort Greene French bistro iCi has many charms – not least of which is the expert mom-and-pop service, lovely herb-adorned garden and seriously seasonal menu. This summer, look for a menu packed with anything and everything from the farmer’s market – berries, summer squash and corn, oh my.
iCi [246 DeKalb Ave. at Vanderbilt Ave. in Fort Greene, (718) 789-2778].