As we’ve said before, people love lists. Just about every publication covering food in New York City unveiled some sort of ‘Best of 2011′ riffage over the holidays. We thought it might be fun to simmer it all down, reducing the stew to the big guys’ Brooklyn picks. Drum roll, please…
Eater updated its “38 Essential New York Restaurants” list, and seven Brooklyn spots made the cut:
- Bamonte’s (Williamsburg): “For red-sauce Italian,Bamonte’s can’t be beat.”
- Roberta’s (Bushwick): “What happens when hipster chefs get it right.”
- Frankies 457 Spuntino (Carroll Gardens): “…Quintessentially Aging Hipster in the best possible way.”
- Franny’s (Prospect Heights): “…Dishes like the clam pie are absolutely worth the wait.”
- Lucali (Carroll Gardens): “…The stuff of legend.”
- The Good Fork (Red Hook): “…A little something for everyone”
- Vinegar Hill House (Vinegar Hill): “…Feels like a slightly warped storybook cottage.”
Adam Platt at New York Magazine was bold enough to list his Top 101 restaurants in New York, in order, for the first time in six years. His Brooklyn picks?
- Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (Downtown): “…As refined as anything you’ll find across the river.”
- Fatty ‘Cue (Williamsburg): “Best of all are the great truncheon-size heritage pork ribs, slathered with palm syrup and smoked-fish sauce.”
- Franny’s (Prospect Heights): “The beautifully balanced, perfectly sized clam pie is my selection of choice at this iconic, rigorously local Prospect Heights establishment.)
- Peter Luger (Williamsburg): Calling the Luger experience as quintessential New York as the MET – “…there’s no place more magical to take in the show.
- Char No. 4 (Carroll Gardens): “…A destination restaurant jammed with New Age southern-food connoisseurs.”
- Prime Meats (Carroll Gardens): “…Many time-tested pleasures on the reasonably priced menu.”
- Frankies Spuntino 457 (Carroll Gardens): “…elegantly sturdy, eminently satisfying brand of neoclassical, family-style red-sauce cooking.”
- Roberta’s (Bushwick): “…A kind of poster child for the new Brooklyn cuisine.”
- Vinegar Hill House (Vinegar Hill): where he loved the”…Red Wattle house pork chop, which is as opulent and satisfying as any cut of meat that you’ll find in the grand steakhouses of Manhattan.”
- Fette Sau (Williamsburg): where “The best time to visit is on Fat Pig Thursdays, when the scruffy pitmasters break down a whole smoked heritage pig into all its most delectable parts.”
In the Village Voice, Robert Sietsma crowned his 11 Most Astonishing Dishes of 2011. As is his wont, Sietsma ranged well off the better-beaten culinary paths to unearth some rare Brooklyn gems:
- Beid with Lahme Manakeesh at Man’ouChe (Bay Ridge): ”Lebanese Pizza…one of the richest pizzas you’ve ever tasted, totally satisfying in every way.”
- Strawberry Balsamic Pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Gowanus): “…Tart and sweet at the same time, with none of the frivolity of plain strawberries”
- The Polish Taco at Happy End (Greenpoint): “…A bigger-than-ever-before potato pancake wrapped around a generous serving of stewed meat.”
- Yellowtail Crudo at Anella (Greenpoint): “…One of the best uses of raw fish I’ve seen all year.”
On Sietsma’s list of runners-up?
- Grilled Sardines with Pickled Lotus Root at St. Anselm (Williamsburg): “…One of the world’s most perfect flavor contrasts.”
- Pigs Ear at Allswell (Williamsburg): “…Where an entire ear is fried to gummy crunchiness.” Sietsma recently reviewed Allswell and raved about it, saying of the Wild Boar Chops, “Man, were they good.”
Over at Serious Eats, Ed Levine anointed his top ‘10 New NYC Discoveries in 2011.’ In Brooklyn?
- The Steak at Prime Meats (Carroll Gardens): “Dare I say it, a steak at Prime meats is at least the equal of the porterhouse we’ve all been eating for a hundred years at Peter Luger’s.”
Also at Serious Eats, Carrie Vasios had a Brooklyn pick on their ‘Staff Picks – best Bites in NYC’:
- Crispy Cheddar Curds at Char No. 4 (Carroll Gardens): which offer a”…Salty-spicy taste explosion.”
At the New York Times, staff writers compiled a list of ‘10 of the best inexpensive restaurants of 2011.’ Representing Brooklyn?
- Best Pizza (Williamsburg): “…elevates its craft with no tricks, just good technique and good ingredients.”
- Do or Dine (Bed Stuy): “…American eclectic, and it is surprisingly good.”
- Bien Cuit bakery (Boerum Hill): where the baguettes are everything a baguette should be, and the “Pastries are ethereal.”
The L Magazine picked Brooklyn’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2011. They mention several spots we’ve written about right here, including Brucie (Cobble Hill), Colonie (Brooklyn Heights), Shelsky’s Smoked Fish (Carroll Gardens), Culture (Park Slope), Littleneck (Gowanus), Rucola (Boerum Hill), and Brooklyn Star (Williamsburg), in addition to Van Horn Sandwich Shop (Cobble Hill), Giuseppina’s (Sunset Park), and Dubuque (Williamsburg).
And finally, the Daily News asked reknowned chefs around the country where they’d like to eat this year, and Brooklyn Fare and Peter Luger were mentioned among the likes of Alinea in Chicago and Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. Trends those chefs are seeing for the new year? Comfort food, sustainability, and farm-to-table dining. If Brooklyn’s dining culture is any indicator, those sound about right.