Nearly six years ago, Ryan Angulo and his wife left Astoria for Bay Ridge to be closer to Angulo's restaurant, Buttermilk Channel. Now the chef, who's busy at the restaurant's new sibling French Louie, has plenty of reasons to stay beyond work. His recommendations for Middle Eastern food and groceries, old school Italian, and pizza after the jump.
'Bay Ridge' on Serious Eats
On November 26th, Allison and Matt Robicelli soft opened the first stand-alone location of their popular bakery, Robicelli's, on an unlikely block of Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. The bakery is selling the couple's popular cupcakes, but that's just the beginning.
Many prepared food stores, at any price point, value quantity over quality, so there is not much pride behind the dishes that they put out. Not so with the Family Store, where you can see and taste the care in everything they do.
Sitting at the window in one of the booths at Al Safa offers a framed view of the ever-evolving population of Bay Ridge. Once an enclave for Irish and Italian immigrant families, it's now home to Brooklyn's largest middle eastern community. Looking into the restaurant, you'll find Zein Safa, the amiable chef/owner of Al Safa preparing an abundance of middle eastern dishes, heavily influenced by his Lebanese roots.
Cupcake baker turned humanitarian organizer and cookbook author Allison Robicelli has spent her whole life in Bay Ridge, and though she keeps saying she'll leave some day, she always asks herself, "Where would I go?" We asked her to give us a tour of some of her favorite neighborhood spots, and as a few quick bites with a doomed attempt at restraint soon turned into a gut-busting night of eating, we were reminded why Bay Ridge is one of Brooklyn's most fun and inviting food neighborhoods.
It may seem like an odd time to talk about a two year old Yemeni restaurant in Bay Ridge. But if the Serious Eats credo is anything, it's seeking out delicious food wherever it's found. And while Bab al Yemen has been reviewed by other food publications before, it's still very much an under-reviewed restaurant. Sure, critics have filed about the place, and it's no secret to chowhounds hip to the Middle Eastern dining scene. But unlike nearby Tanoreen, Bab al Yemen is rarely included as a part of New York's ethnic food canon. Which is a shame, because it's easier to get in without a wait, and like Tanoreen is home to some of the finest Middle Eastern cooking in New York.
There is no gold standard when it comes to the ingredient proportionality of a pizza. At Nino's, the tilt is toward tomato. Nino's makes excellent pizza in a neighborhood filled with pizzerias. It would take several visits to hit them all. Without question, Nino's is a good place to start.
If you like the idea of the Mujadara but think a pita-ful of lentils could get a bit more exciting, the Turner Special ($6) from The Family Store ($6) might be just what you're looking for.
A gray, raining evening may be the best time to stop by Longbow Pub & Pantry. The food is warm and filling, the service is friendly, and while this Bay Ridge bar may not be the most exciting restaurant in the city, it has a lot more vegetarian options than most British pubs.
The ride to Bay Ridge might be long for some New Yorkers, but if the destination is Tanoreen, the much praised Middle Eastern restaurant in Bay Ridge, the effort is plentifully compensated. Chef Rawia Bishara produces food that is well-balanced and perfectly executed, and despite the bountiful portions of the entrees, the delicate harmony of spices and textures produces an indulgent restaurant experience that lingers in your memory without weighing in your stomach.
The menu at Paneantico Bakery in Bay Ridge is not a good read for those prone to indecision—there are easily a hundred different sandwiches to choose from.
I'd long thought chicken shawarma was chicken shawarma—once you had not-dry meat and not-stale pita, it'd always be pretty good. But when I asked Adam Kuban to recommend one sandwich in Bay Ridge, he insisted I try the chicken shawarma from Karam on Fourth Avenue.
When I walked into the loosely French bakery Jean Danet Pastry last weekend, pizza was the furthest thing from my mind. But in back, behind the long display case of cookies and cheesecakes and Valentine's cupcakes, was a prominently displayed brick oven—and a guy standing at the ready with a pizza peel.
Little did I know, more than 10 years ago, that the late-night slices I was eating from Pizza Wagon in Bay Ridge were better than average. Far better than average, in fact. With their not too greasy slick of surface oil; their thinner-than-average, crisp-pliant crust; and their bright-orange well-balanced mix of cheese and sauce, these slices flew out of the oven and into my mouth, day after day and, perhaps more accurately, night after night.
Although I'd never heard anything about Al Safa in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, when I walked in I just knew that it was going to be good. Scanning the menu, I was intrigued by the Sujok Pita ($5) described as hot spiced ground beef and lamb sausage.
Elegante Pizzeria 6922 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11209 (Bay Ridge/Ovington avenues; map); 718-745-9715 Pizza Style: New York Oven Type: Gas Price:Slice $2.25 Bay Ridge has changed a lot since Tony and Phil Varvara bought Elegante Pizzeria in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. That was back in the early 1980s, but Elegante actually dates back to 1960. For the first two decades of the pizzeria's existence Bay Ridge had little demographic turnover and was populated by a mix of Italian and Greek immigrants. These days the strip of Fifth Avenue is increasingly populated by Lebanese/Arab immigrants and their first-generation children. Kebab houses...
Here's a recommendation we received this week in the AHT inbox. Hey Guys, Big fans of the site and just wanted to bring your attention to two places in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn that serve perhaps my favorite burgers in NYC:...
In the pantheon of iconic New York foods, not much outranks the proud cheesecake. Whether after dinner at Luger's, by the round at Eileen's, or shipped across the country by Junior's, New York cheesecakes are a force to be reckoned with. After countless miles traveled, bites considered, and calories consumed, we've arrived at our winners.
My friends I weren't planning to add a dessert to our already Chinese food-filled bellies at King Star Restaurant in Bay Ridge until I spied a waiter bring a plate of deep-fried mantou and condensed milk to a neighboring...