So what happens when you've trekked across the city to Roberta's only to find an unbearable wait? Bushwick's rapidly expanding restaurant scene has you covered.
'Bushwick' on Serious Eats
Around the corner from Roberta's in Bushwick is small windowless shrine to sushi and pork belly. Just be sure to save some room for dessert.
On your next visit to Roberta's or Momo Sushi Shack, add a stop at Fine & Raw Chocolate for some of their rich, barely sweetened hot chocolate.
Falansai's modern Vietnamese food is diversifying the Bushwick dining scene. The spiffy setting and sophisticated cooking satisfy, even if the food is sometimes short on punch.
When Marc Vidal moved to New York in 2010 to lead the kitchen of Bouqeria—the newest location is opening on the Upper East Side—everyone told him he had to live in Manhattan. While he landed in Soho, Vidal spent all his spare time in Brooklyn. The Spanish chef eventually made the jump across the East River within a year and now calls Bushwick home. Now he's surrounded by friends, other chefs and some of his favorite restaurants. Here are Vidal's neighborhood picks in Bushwick.
Between the rapid influx of new, higher-end destinations and the substantial landscape of excellent, predominantly Central American and Caribbean eateries that predates them, there's a whole lot of great food to be had in this corner of Brooklyn. What you'll find here are my personal favorites for every time of day and night. So whether you're planning a day trip to the 'hood or you've recently joined its ranks, here's how to find something great to eat and drink, no matter the hour. (Literally.)
With plate glass windows and no liquor license to speak of, Arepera Guacuco seems to occupy an in-between space in the Bushwick restaurant scene, neither precursor to nor byproduct of the neighborhood's gentrification. It's a category unto itself, a cheerful space decorated with Venezuelan chachkies that has earned a loyal local following on the merit of its small, traditional menu of affordable, exceedingly well-executed arepas.
When it comes to taco talk in Brooklyn, neighborhoods like Sunset Park get lots of love. But today we're talking Bushwick. So tell us: what's your favorite Mexican food there, and where do you get it?
As a Bushwick resident, it's exciting to find any new restaurant in the neighborhood, let alone one that serves a burger as meticulously crafted as Fritzl's. At only $8 ($9 with cheese), it's a bargain. Patties are close to six 6 ounces; a combination of chuck and cheek, which chef Dan Ross-Leutwyler estimates to be about 75/25 meat to fat. Ross-Leutwyler grinds it himself, throwing slightly more chuck in the mix.
Miami transplants Jeremy and Luis know how to press a good Cuban sandwich, and they'll press one for you at their bright-teal-and-hot-pink Cafetería La Mejor on Suydam in Bushwick.
This self-described "English Country Kitchen" is a new addition to Bushwick's ever-growing restaurant scene, and it comes with some pleasant vegetarian (and even vegan) surprises.
Café Ghia's patties are infused with bacon fat, giving them an amazingly rich, smoky flavor. Topped with roasted tomato aioli and some thick, juicy braised bacon, this burger leaves virtually nothing to be desired.
On a sharp corner in Bushwick's Southern row is Taqueria El Paisa, a tiny triangle of a taqueria. Just three stools, a circumscribed menu, a walk-up counter, and some of the best al pastor tacos in the city.
El Mio Cid sits on the corner of Starr and Wilson in Bushwick, a cheerful yellow facade, bordered with plants, across from dollar stores and a bunker-like middle school. Just as this part of the neighborhood still belongs to Old Bushwick, El Mio Cid belongs to Old Spain.
I have a complicated relationship with Roberta's pizza, which when fresh out of the oven is one of my favorites in the city, but falls off that peak within about ten minutes of cooling. But when I make it out to Bushwick, my choice pie at the moment is the 'Whipper Snapper' ($17). The pizza builds a thick, creamy layer of mozzarella and rich, faintly goaty capra sarda atop which it's dotted with snap peas and pancetta, a drizzle of white balsamic over the top.
Receipts at Momo Sushi Shack come printed with the following: "a prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages." Not exactly what you expect to see when paying the bill, and yet the elegiac, vaguely political note doesn't feel forced. It's the sort of intelligent touch that shows that this perennially packed Japanese restaurant in Bushwick has more in its sights than California rolls and sake bombs.
Bunna Cafe is a new entrant to the city's Ethopian food scene: a series of pop-ups around North Brooklyn bars, cafes, and outdoor events. On my visit, the pop-up was set in the back garden of a bar, and $10 awarded me a full plate with six dishes and a couple rolls of injera—all of which satisfied, some of which stood along NYC's best.
There are hundreds of flavors frozen into paletas, Mexican popsicles made with fresh fruit, juices, and savory accents. But have you tasted the hard-to-find varieties? Nance, mamey, grosella, and rompope, waiting in a reach-in freezer near you.
Out in the vinyl-sided rows of residential Bushwick, Los Tres Marias, a tiny female-fronted cafeteria, is serving up tasty picadas, tacos, and tortas. Plus, a fierce mole poblano on the weekends that you can spend all day eating.
It would be a mistake to write off The Angel's Fruit Market as just any other produce stand. The aisles are treasure troves of hard to find, esoteric ingredients from Central and South America and from much of Mediterranean Europe. Take our tour around and prepare to get inspired. That dish you're planning to cook will take on new meaning.