Category: Uncategorized

Lists, one of the great inventions of humankind, are underappreciated. Here, in homage to the tireless listmakers who bestow order and comprehensibility upon our city's vast, chaotic galaxy of food, is a snapshot of a single week's worth of 'Top This' and 'Best That' lists.

In the annals of the development of humankind, things like the invention of the wheel, mathematics, the steam engine, and electricity tend to get all the love. But what about lists? Can we take a moment to give a shout-out to that common, hairy ancestor of ours, who eons ago picked up the charred shinbone of sabre-tooth tiger, squatted down on the packed-dirt floor of a cave, and scratched out the first list ever? Where would we be today without lists? Particularly those of us who like to eat food that is good, in a sky-scraping 21st century city of eight million people, sparkling from within with a galaxy of spots dishing it out right? How would we ever keep track of it all?

Thankfully, humankind has also developed websites, newspapers and magazines staffed by droves of intrepid food-loving reporters who selflessly dedicate themselves to the relentless hunt for the latest and greatest foods, and to the making of lists of their findings, to share, with us.

Here, we boil down one week’s crop of lists, gently, and respectfully, reducing them to their Brooklynessence.

First up? New York Magazine gives unto us The Underground Gourmet’s 2012 Cheap List, a list of twenty spots across the five boroughs where you can find fantastic f’ing food, cheap. Brooklyn takes eight of the twenty:

At #3: The pizza at Crown Heights’ Barboncino

“The restaurant’s Naples-style pie is spot-on—comparatively thin and light as a feather. It’s also wonderfully fragrant in the way that great wood-fired pizzas are, with good balance and some world-class blistering around the cornicione. It’s destination-worthy pizza in a town fairly bursting with destination-worthy pizzerias.”

At #4: Gueros Tacos, also in Crown Heights

“The chorizo and flour tortillas are housemade, and the tacos don’t apologize for their tasty if inauthentic fillings. We speak especially of the fried avocado-and–jalapeño, the fried-chicken-and-Cheddar, and the migas, a delicious brunch special of scrambled eggs and crunchy tortilla strips.”

At #8: The tapas at Cobble Hill’s La Vara

“La Vara’s tale revolves around the culinary legacy of La Convivencia, a 700-year span of purported peace, harmony, and recipe-swapping among Spain’s Muslims, Jews, and Christians (not everyone buys this theory). On the menu and the plate, that theme translates into a series of unfamiliar but inspired dishes: savory anchovies dressed with a rough sesame-hazelnut paste, akin to Egyptian dukka; gurullos, a gnudi-soft pasta enhanced with ground goat and lemony sumac; a salt-cod-and-citrus salad called remojón that’s studded with pistachios, olives, pomegranate seeds, and orange wedges that’s as vibrant in flavor as in hue.”

At #10: The capital-C ‘Comfort’ food at Prospect Heights’ 606 R&D

“To call what Ilene Rosen serves comfort food does it a disservice. Not because it isn’t—what’s more comforting than rotisserie chicken and cake doughnuts, anyway?—but because that sort of easy pigeonholing disregards the flashes of wit and flights of ethnic fancy that make her menu so distinctive.”

At #13: The meticulous reproductions of traditional Thai street foods at Columbia Waterfront District’s Pok Pok Ny

“[Chef Andy Ricker’s] devotion to the regions’ foods comes across in everything from an exuberantly dressed papaya salad to the crispy, salty hoi thawt, a sort of shredded omelette studded with mussels and garlic chives. Ricker might be famous for his lemongrass-infused rotisserie chicken and fish-sauced chicken wings, but it’s his utterly satisfying one-pot dishes, like his rendition of the turmeric-and-dill-powered Hanoi catfish classic called cha ca “la vong,” and a creamy, soothing khao soi, that are truly worth the wait.”

At #14: Chef Lindsay Salminen’s sorta-secret ramen at Greenpoint’s No Name Bar

“You want the seasonal greens—Red Russian kale with sesame vinaigrette one recent evening—and the lamb cumin noodle plate, which is not unlike the deliciously clumpy stuff you get at Xi’an Famous Foods.”

At #16: The unconventional breakfast tacos at Williamsburg’s Whirlybird

“This singular concoction is as fine to eat as it was inventively conceived, by a French-trained Ecuadoran chef entirely unshackled by rigid breakfast-taco convention. He has recently taken to offering weekend taco specials, like a Jamaican-inspired curry goat, a shrimp ceviche, and a BLT.”

And finally, at #18: The vegetarian ramen at Chuko, in Prospect Heights

“…the rare ramen joint we’d recommend to a hungry vegetarian. The owners, a trio of former Morimoto cooks, have provided two compelling reasons for this: an atypically rich, meat-free broth made from kelp and miso, and a kale salad (half-raw, half-deep-fried, dotted with pickled yellow raisins and drenched with white-miso vinaigrette) that just might be their signature dish.”

Next up? How about Eater’s 10 Best New Baked Treats? Brooklyn takes four:

At #1: The salted chocolate chip cookie at Ovenly’s newly-opened shop in Greenpoint

“While many of the baked goods at Ovenly feature complex and intriguing flavor combinations, like their cheddar scones with spicy mustard, the real winner here is the salted chocolate chip cookie. It’s seemingly simple, but this little cookie strikes a perfect balance between being salty and sweet, crumbly and creamy.”

At #3: The almond croissant at Boerum Hill’s Bien Cuit

“They’re double-baked, which gives them that authentic French bakery taste. Golper bakes them fresh before leaving them to stale for a few days. Then, he toasts them, fills them with an almond crème, and dips them in a simple syrup and some brandy. Some sliced almonds go on top as well as a dusting of powdered sugar. The result is almond-y, flaky, buttery, golden-brown croissant perfection.”

At #4: The doughnuts at Bed-Stuy’s Dough

“Dough’s real strength is its exotic options like a lemon poppy seed, passion fruit, blood orange, and lemon meringue. But the best part is that the doughnuts are made in batches throughout the day so they’re fresh – crispy on the outside, light and chewy on the inside.”

And at #6: The chai sticky bun at Bed-Stuy’s SCRATCHbread

“The Chai Sticky Buns being slung from the store’s walk-up window are something to behold. The base is an airy focaccia dough that’s baked in a burnt orange caramel with chai spices, chiles, and black pepper before being soaked in a vanilla bean crème anglais. Then, the buns are griddled, resulting in hybrid of a sticky bun and French toast: a creation that’s at once soft and crispy, sweet and spicy.”

Fork In The Road, The Village Voice’s food spinoff, widens up Eater’s focus on baked goods, listing up the 10 Best Pastry Shops in New York. Representing Brooklyn?

At #8: Ovenly

“Ovenly’s pastries aren’t cerebral–they’re pretty, delicate and delicious.”

At #5: Milk Bar

“Christina Tosi’s unique style of baking often walks the line between cooked and raw, or sweet and savory.”

At #4: SCRATCHbread

“His sweet baked goods at his Bed-Stuy shop are just as fun, like the chai sticky buns made with cocoa nibs and cornflour, and the buttery chocolate-and-fruit-studded scones.”

And at #1: Bien Cuit

“We go weak in the knees for their beautiful Frenchy fruit tarts with buttery crusts, gorgeous, dark brown croissants with feathery centers, and pains au chocolat with crisp, singed edges of chocolate.”

It is summertime, and as we shield our eyes and shed our clothes as the Earth’s long slow wobble tilts us right into the sun, Serious Eats tells us, flat out, Where To Find The Best Gelato In NYC. It’s a timely breakdown of ice cream’s lean, sexy and wildly-flavored Italian cousin. Of the ten ribbons, Bklyn Larder is the only BK scoop to place.

“The fior di latte is one of our favorites. A flavor in almost every gelateria in Italy, but less often found in the States, fior di latte translates to “flower of milk,” and that’s basically all that’s in it: fresh milk from Evans Farmhouse Creamery, with just enough salt to bring out the delicate creamy flavor. Another winner: Zabaione, nicely eggy with a hefty dose of sweet wine. It’s destined to top your next warm cake or cobbler.”

No time to mess around in the niches? Want to go straight to the top? Then swing back to Eater for the July edition of their relentless Top 38 Restaurants in NYC. The Brooklyn picks (6 of ‘em), include a handful of ol’ standbys, still crushing it:

Roberta’s, of Bushwick

“One of the Brooklyn new school of locavore-crazy, market-driven ingredients, Roberta’s is in many ways what happens when hipster chefs get it right.”

Frankie’s 457, in Carroll Gardens

“The cavatelli pasta alone is worth the trip to Carroll Gardens, but, then, so is the rest of the food and scene here, which is quintessentially Aging Hipster in the best possible way.”

Franny’s, in Prospect Heights

“…most famous for its rustic, market-driven pizzas, but the charcuterie and pasta dishes here are also very good. Franny’s still draws huge crowds of locals and Manhattanites, but some dishes like the clam pie are absolutely worth the wait.”

The Good Fork, of Red Hook

“…a little something for everyone: you can get a textbook roasted chicken, a serious pub burger, homemade pork dumplings, Korean-style steak and eggs, or a Peking duck leg, if you like.”

And finally, Vinegar Hill House, in the mysterious, otherworldly, Vinegar Hill

“The food’s great, too, especially the cast-iron chicken and the salads, and there are plenty of great finds on the budget-friendly wine list.”

And there you have it. One week’s worth of hard work by our city’s fearless food reporters, listed, just for you. The next time you run into a hard-working member of the food press at a bar, buy ‘em a beer, won’t you? They’re not getting rich. They do this because they love our city. They love us. And they love good food.

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