This mini-tour of the area adds up to about a mile of outdoor walking, yet along the way you'll hit two stellar art venues, two tasty dining spots, and a gem of a neighborhood cocktail bar.
'Crown Heights' on Serious Eats
Running a business, big or small, is no easy task in New York. Chef Sandy Dee Hall, who opened Black Tree Sandwich Shop on the Lower East Side with co-owner Macnair Sillick earlier this year, would know. He places a premium on local ingredients for all the sandwiches, not exactly a cost-saving measure. But Hall says living in Crown Heights, where many apartments are still reasonably priced, helps. It's an area that's also seen a growth in restaurants. Hall shares his favorites with us this week.
Lesser rotis can often be tough, dry and tasteless, but at Glenda's they're thin, well-seasoned, and perfectly tender.
Bombay Masala is an overall solid choice for vegetarian Indian food. Stick with the delicious curries and well-made breads, and you'll have a satisfying, inexpensive meal.
Catfish is a friendly environment for vegetarians: if your friends come here to chow down on shrimp and sausages, you won't be left out in the cold.
My first impression of Chavela's in Crown Heights was that, more than any other spot I've been to in the city, it reminded me of the casual Mexican restaurants I grew up with in California. Loud Latin music. Splashes of color everywhere. Affordable beer. Friendly, crazy-efficient service. And more-than-serviceable food.
Having visited Mayfield only three times I can't say whether it's always as lively and friendly as I've seen it. But if my experiences have been any indication, this is a neighborhood spot that's filling a void—it's as successful a bar as a restaurant, gathering place as eatery, with a menu I'd eat from any day of the week.
As Editor in Chief of Tasting Table, it's Scott Hocker's job to be in-the-know about restaurants both under-the-radar and up-and-coming. But when it comes time to leave work, he prefers to duck into a hole in the wall for some curried goat or scarf down a White Castle burger (shh, don't tell) in his neighborhood, which skirts the border between Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. Here are some of his favorite bites.
The coffee scales have officially tipped in Brooklyn, NY, 11238: it may sound hard to picture, but this once humble working-class area didn't even used to have a biergarten. Thankfully, these days there's ample caffeination alongside these Ample Hills, and it should be even easier to pick up your lattes on the way to Barclay's.
In an industrial corner of the far edge of Crown Heights, where the drinks are cheap and the food is fast, one wine bar has dared to go the opposite direction. Promising "slow wine, scratch food," Thirstbaravin stands as a French-style wine bar in a neighborhood mostly occupied by repair shops and auto-parts stores.
It's hard not to love doubles, the handheld street snack that's as ubiquitous in Trinidad and Tobago as hot dogs are in New York: they're cheap, filling, healthyish, and open to plenty of recipe improvisation at the hands of skilled street vendors. Doubles are a sandwich consisting of two pieces (hence the name) of fried turmeric-spiked quick bread called bara and a filling of curried channa, or chickpeas, optimally laced with shado beni, a West Indian herb that's a stronger cousin to cilantro. Toppings include a vinegary Scotch Bonnet-infused hot sauce and tamarind chutney, and the harder to find (but equally delicious) cucumber or mango chutneys.
Pete Zaaz, a four-week-old sliver of a pizzeria in Crown Heights, stands at the confluence of a number of different currents in Brooklyn dining and pizzadom. As one of my tablemates put it, "It's like the Do or Dine of pizza." To borrow some words from SENY editor Carey Jones's review of Do or Dine, Pete Zaaz is, "intentionally oddball, intentionally free-form." So there's that, and the fact that it's a basic slice joint that's doing the new old-school thing -- all with a focus on inventive, sometimes outlandish toppings.
The place is the work of indie filmmaker Ron Brown and Jon Greenberg, who did time at Paulie Gee's and, before that, the original Robicelli's. It should come as no surprise, then, that the pizza at Barboncino is remarkably similar to that popular Greenpoint pizzeria.
[Photos: Andrew Coe} In the Guyanese bakeries of Brooklyn, every bread is linked with a specific food. At Tota's Bakery in Crown Heights, the platt or plait bread is a big, braided white loaf that looks like challah without...
If they are, says this Chowhounder, they better pick up their damn phone. Villagio Trattoria: 850 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn NY 11225 (just south of Eastern Parkway; map); 718-363-8300...