Manhattan’s “Restaurant Week” may be over, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for frugal foodies to get in on the fun. That’s because “Dine in Brooklyn” is just around the corner. From March 11th to March 21st, over 200 area restaurants will be offering three-course dinners for just $28, three-course lunches for $20.13, and even some “two for the price of one” brunches. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Yep.
Of course, just like in Manhattan, the “Dine in Brooklyn” experience can be hit or miss. Either you end up eating at one of the borough’s most outstanding eateries for a fraction of the price (hooray!) or you get confronted with child-sized portion, and uninspired plates that don’t really show the strengths of the kitchen (not so great).
That’s why we’re helping you weed through the list of participants to determine which restaurants actually offer real bang for your buck and which are just going through the motions. So if you’re totally excited to try the Red Beet and Poppy Seed Ravioli at al di la in Park Slope or the Mini Lobster Tacos at Strong Place in Cobble Hill, better make those reservations asap! As opposed to “Restaurant Week” (which is, in reality, a month long), “Dine in Brooklyn” only lasts for seven days. And the prime tables, especially during dinner hours, are sure to get snapped up fast.
The Farm on Adderley
While local and seasonal restaurants are chock-a-block throughout Cobble Hill and Williamsburg, one of the pioneers of the movement is this unassuming bistro in far-flung Ditmas Park. They’re only offering lunch during “Dine in Brooklyn,” but you’d be hard pressed to find an item that doesn’t reflect their thoughtful brand of cooking. French Dip Sandwiches boast housemade Roast Beef, the Farm Burgers sit on freshly made English Muffins and are accompanied by hand cut French Fries, and each component of the Crunchy Beet Salad with Chicory, Feta, and Sunflower Seeds is locally sourced.
al di la
If we had to pinpoint the one restaurant that put Brooklyn on the dining map, al di la would be it. When Anna Klinger and Emiliano Coppa opened their intimate Venetian eatery in 1998, on a not yet gentrified stretch of Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, they demonstrated how refined (and free of heavy red sauce) Italian cooking could be. They’ve since become known for dishes like Red Beet and Poppy Seed Ravioli, and Braised Rabbit with Black Olives and Polenta, both of which are absolute must orders during “Dine in Brooklyn.” Of course, two hour wait times are standard at al di la any day of the week, so be for extra long lines to form during the popular dining event.
Allswell owner Nate Smith served as chef de cuisine for April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig. So appropriately, everything on the menu at his excellent Brooklyn gastropub goes particularly well with beer. We’re talking Potted Duck with Parsley Salad, Flatbread with Pork Belly and Nettle Pesto, and Beef Cheek with Saffron Risotto and Young Chard. Since Smith’s menu literally changes by the day, it’s hard to predict what you’ll receive during “Dine in Brooklyn.” But as long as it includes a dessert by wife and pastry chef Sophie Kamin (like Caramel Apple Pie with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, yum!), it’s bound to be a winner.
For all the talk about Dale Talde, it’s easy to forget that there’s another Top Chef in Brooklyn. So take a moment during “Dine in Brooklyn” to get reacquainted with New Zealander Mark Simmons (who competed, along with Talde, during Season 4 in Chicago). The dishes at his genial Park Slope eatery, Kiwiana, showcase his native, New Zealand ingredients, like Marmite, Manuka Honey, and a savory herb called Horopito. They’re used to delicious effect in his signature dishes, all on offer during “Dine in Brooklyn.” Be sure to order the Manuka and Marmite-braised Baby Back Ribs, and the Horopito and Buttermilk Fried Chicken, followed by a classic New Zealand Pavlova with Kiwi Berries and Whipped Cream.Read More
It would have been easy for classically trained chef Kat Ploszaj, formerly of Jean-Georges’ JoJo on the Upper East Side, to set her first restaurant in almost any other Brooklyn neighborhood. Instead, she took a gamble on sleepy Bay Ridge, opening up a miniscule jewel of a seasonal French eatery. It’s since become a haven for local foodies in-the- know, who consistently flock in for dishes like Confit de Canard with Jalapeno Cassoulet, Homemade Fettuccini with Truffle Forest Mushrooms, and Warm Bread Pudding with Walnuts and Salty Caramel. And considering Petit Oven already offers a three-course prix fixe for $25 every Wednesday, imagine what they could do for $28!
One of the many Red Hook restaurants to take a beating during Hurricane Sandy, Kevin’s is finally (and thankfully) back on its feet. And if you show your support during “Dine in Brooklyn,” you’ll be rewarded with a menu featuring many of their greatest hits. Chef, owner, and part-time fisherman Kevin Moore catches most of the shellfish himself, found in dishes like the Cioppino with Shrimp, Clams, Mussels and Calamari, Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Mediterranean Vinaigrette and Jasmine Rice, and Basque-style Paella for Two with Littlenecks, Mussels, Calamari and Chorizo.
Considering that Cobble Hill is considered one of Brooklyn’s premier foodie neighborhoods, we’re not quite sure why Strong Place consistently slips under the radar. They happen to make one of our favorite burgers (Lamb with Feta and Sundried Tomato Ketchup, and Rosemary Fries), and are experts at anything seafood. Here are two to try during “Dine in Brooklyn”: the Oyster Sandwich with Cabbage Apple Slaw, and a trio of Mini Lobster Tacos. We’d usually consider stuffing luxurious lobster in crispy corn shells as utter sacrilege, but somehow, Strong Place really makes it work.
Can you say Duck Meatloaf? The decadent dish, sided with Parsnips, Ginger Puree, Onion Rings, and Star Anise Duck Jus, is only one of the standout and now famous offerings at this popular Carroll Gardens bistro. And it’s definitely a if you see it on the menu during “Dine in Brooklyn.” You also shouldn’t pass up a chance to try Doug’s also famous Pecan Pie Sundae, essentially a warm and gooey slice of homemade pecan pie, smushed in a glass, and topped with rich vanilla ice cream. What could be better than that?