Clinton Hill's Marietta aspires to more than down-home Southern cooking. We stepped into the kitchen to see what they're up to lately.
'Clinton Hill' on Serious Eats
Splurge on the secondi at this century-old pharmacy-turned-Tuscan gem, or (wisely) build a meal around the antipasti and excellent homemade pastas.
Nice Pizza is a true neighborhood spot, offering a decent meal in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere. Don't come here looking for a Michelin-rated meal, but certainly stop in for a bite if you find yourself in Bed-Stuy come evening.
Marietta is the latest Brooklyn-esque Southern restaurant from the people who brought us Peaches, the Smoke Joint, and Little Brother in and around Bed-Stuy. As with those places, the focus is on new (and not-so-new) takes on Southern classics, with nods to premium ingredients and reasonable pricing. You've heard this story before, but Marietta is one of the few restaurants of its kind where the ingredient-driven cooking actually pays off, and where the prices really are reasonable.
Clinton Hill Pickles traces its lineage back to the 1900s and the Lower East Side's immigrant pickle scene. Its new owner has taken it to her home in Clinton Hill, but the cukes are still all brine-pickled and the tradition is just as strong.
As one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in Brooklyn, Castro's is a weathered Clinton Hill stalwart, a late-night spot for Pratt students with a bustling delivery service.
"I was on a date here last week," said the lady at the table next to ours at Alice's Arbor. We'll summarize for you: the date went well! Perhaps the couple simply had chemistry, but we think this seasonal American restaurant/grocery/cafe on the border of Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy played a big part. After all, it's a date-tastic place.
When I moved to into a Mattress Factory loft in Bedford Stuyvesant, the food options looked bleak. But it was close to campus and the view was phenomenal. It didn't take long to discover I was on the edge of the blooming culinary scene surrounding Pratt. Pratt students are surrounded by affordable, delicious food options, with many more just a G Train ride away.
Maggie Brown in Brooklyn, with its slick wallpaper, small vases of orchids, and deep, wide booths, exudes an appealing bohemian atmosphere.
Joel Hough's passion for bold flavors and fresh ingredients brought him to what's arguably the farmer's market capital of New York: Fort Greene, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Occasionally Joel ventures East for a really, really good doughnut, but on most weekends you'll find him in the neighborhood. Here's where he goes to eat.
Joloff, a Senegalese restaurant in Clinton Hill, wears its divided loyalties on its sleeve. One might even say it revels in them—there are signs proclaiming love for both Africa and Brooklyn scattered throughout the dining room. It's a family-run restaurant open since 1995, though just a few years ago they underwent a renovation to make the interior (and the menu) more modern. One of the great things about this menu overhaul is a full selection of vegan entrees.
The Outpost Lounge is a gem of a coffee place, and not much of an outpost if you happen to live near the border of Brooklyn neighborhoods Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, or Prospect Heights. With an artful tree-like cluster of bared lightbulbs behind the bar and a tiled narrow garden out back, the Lounge has an appropriate Bohemian-hide-out feel, with the carefully-tended coffee to match.
Luigi Pizzeria, on Dekalb Avenue right near Pratt, is about as bare-bones as a pizzeria can get: oven, counter, half a dozen pies on display, and only room for 3 or 4 people to fit inside. But the counter guys are friendly, the prices are gentle, and the pizza, while nothing unusual, is incredibly satisfying.
When I told my server at Buka that I was a vegetarian, she patiently pointed out the few items on the menu that were appropriate. There are not many options, she said, because Buka specializes in authentic Nigerian food; like many other West African cuisines, it relies heavily on dried fish. But those dishes that are vegetarian are quite filling, due to the other Nigerian staple: yams. We're not talking the orange Thanksgiving sweet potato that supermarkets mislabel as yams, but the large white starchy tubers that serves as the base for many Nigerian dishes.
It's a cute little restaurant with a friendly staff, offering something the neighborhood had been lacking, i.e. good pizza. Any way you pronounce it, that's just nice.
"I tell him to handle the dough like it was a woman—gently, softly," says Fany Gerson of DOUGH, a new doughnut shop in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. In this video from Food Curated with Liza de Guia, we go behind-the-counter with Gerson to learn about her doughnut experimentation. After over 50 trials, she found the winner recipe: a not-too-sweet batter with a smidge of nutmeg that, when fried, gets those crispy outsides and light insides. They're also about as big as your face. "You don't want to have it end too soon!"
Le Grand Dakar brings the spirit of the Sahel to an ordinary, brownstone-heavy block in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The restaurant exudes warmth, from the tan and blond wood used throughout the dining area to the photos of smiling schoolchildren in uniforms lining the walls to the gorgeous, all-Senegalese waitstaff to the world jazz playing on the stereo.
With its minimalist chic and unconventional location, Umi Nom is best for: a date whose coolness quotient you wish to evaluate.
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check...