Strange food in Brooklyn

Potato pizzas, broccoli tacos, and donut burgers: Quirky and delicious dishes

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s not quirk for quirk’s sake — it tastes amazing, too.

Don’t let a weird list of ingredients keep you from missing out on some of the most inventive and surprising meals that Brooklyn has to offer.

From broccoli tacos to beet and dill ice cream, creative and courageous chefs across the borough are breaking new ground with totally off-the-wall dishes that set themselves apart from the culinary pack.

“We didn’t want to be like everyone else,” said Pete Entner, co-owner of the cutting edge Crown Heights pizzeria Pete Zazz, which serves pies topped with baked potatoes and fried chicken, among other offerings.

Just trust these envelope-pushing eateries that have no compunctions with letting their food freak flags fly — in the most delicious of ways.

Pete Zazz

There’s little in the way of uncharted territory when it comes to pizza these days, unless you’re talking about Pete Zazz — an out-of-the-box pie shop currently making waves in Crown Heights. Shop employees attribute the heavy foot traffic to unexpectedly alluring combos like the coconut tofu pie (spiced coconut, mozzarella, peanut and bean sprouts) and the best-selling baked potato pie (purple spuds, crème fraiche, white cheddar, bacon, and green onion). “We’re located on an offbeat block, which in just a few months, we’ve made as popular as Franklin and Washington Avenues!” Entner said.

Pete Zaaz [766 Classon Ave. between Park and Sterling Places in Crown Heights, (718) 230–9229].

No. 7

It’s no surprise that Entner once worked at one of the original captains of quirk, No. 7 restaurant in Fort Greene — where owner Tyler Kord has been showcasing the improbable pleasures of deep-fried broccoli since 2008. The veggie makes a particularly tasty showing in the oddly appealing double decker tacos, paired with peculiar playmates like feta cheese, pine nuts, and hoisin sauced beans.

No. 7 [7 Greene Ave. between Oxford and Fulton Streets in Fort Greene, (718) 522–6370].

The Burger Bistro:

Unusual meat options are a given at the Burger Bistro in Bay Ridge (just try to find antelope, kangaroo, or ostrich patties elsewhere in the neighborhood), but it’s the gut-busting weekend specials like the donut burger — topped with bacon, a fried egg, and American cheese, and slapped between a split, sugar-glazed pastry — that gets patrons especially pumped. “We were originally thinking of doing a take on a Boston cream donut, with chocolate ganache over the top and a burger that oozed some sort of cheese — but that went a little too far,” said co-owner John Agnello.

The Burger Bistro [7217 Third Ave. between 73rd and 72nd Streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5833].

St. Anselm:

It’s all about nose-to-tail eating nowadays — or in the case of the sweet tea-brined young chicken at the recently revamped St. Anselm in Williamsburg — head to foot. The disarmingly named bird arrives succulent and moist on the inside, charred and crispy on the outside — with grasping talons and wizened face quite shockingly intact.

St. Anselm [355 Metropolitan Ave. between Fourth and Havemeyer Streets in North Williamsburg, (718) 384–5054].


Matt and Allison Robicelli have never shied away from introducing unusual ingredients to their acclaimed baked creations, but it’s their chicken n’ waffles cupcake that really takes the — well, you know. “It came about when I was thinking of my favorite ethnic food influences when growing up in Brooklyn,” Allison said. “Since chicken doesn’t taste like much, if you surround it with sweet ingredients, it can easily transition into a dessert.”

Robicelli’s [Multiple locations, (917) 509–6048.].


Another sweet for the not-so-sweet toothed can be found at Karloff, a Cobble Hill eatery that’s half Eastern European comfort food haven, half artisan ice cream parlor. The idiosyncratic eatery hits high notes on both side of the aisle, but it’s their beet and dill ice cream, made especially for them by Jane’s Ice Cream upstate, that demonstrates a true meeting of the minds.

Karloff [254 Court St. between Butler and Baltic Streets in Cobble Hill, (347) 689–4279].

Updated 10:08 am, June 4, 2012
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