After several false-starts to summer, it’s the arrival of gorgeous weeks like this that make it seem important to spend as much time as possible outdoors. A few among us are lucky enough to have an outdoor space of our own but fortunately, for those of us that don’t, Greenpoint has an abundance of cafes and bars offering some beautiful back yards in which to idle away some sunny hours.
Before my inevitable retreat into cold weather hibernation, I’ve been running around like a squirrel trying to sample as many of the new hangouts that have popped up in Greenpoint over the summer. Here are a few places you might want to check out before Autumn’s arrival–which is sadly Friday.
Calyer – 92 Calyer St.
Hidden away on the corner of Franklin and the street of its namesake, Calyer was opened a few weeks ago by the owners of Anella, with little fanfare and no sign. The interior is lovely as you might expect, combining a touch of “noir” with some the space’s original rustic beauty. The food was described by the waiter as Spanish influenced and should be ordered tapas-style. This makes the menu a bit more spendy than it appears at first glance, as a typical plate runs around $10 to $12. Avoid the salads as they tend to be paltry, but do try the seafood plates or any of the more substantial entrees. I hear the Chicharrones are addictive as well. They also have a cozy bar and a decent selection of Spanish wines.
El Toro Taqueria – 254 Driggs Ave.
Greenpoint may be the Polish capital of New York, but those who live north of Greenpoint Ave. know of the many delicious Latino inspired restaurants/laundromats/in-the-back-of-a-bodegas tucked away here. El Toro is a new take-out style taqueria that recently opened on Driggs. The vibe is causal and welcoming. I was impressed with the flavor and thoughtfulness of the parings. The kimchi and marinated steak taco is fusion heaven. The fish and shrimp are served cold, which may put off purists, but the savory sauces more than make up for it. Those familiar with Snack Dragon on the LES might reconsider their fourth meal until after the cab ride back to Greenpoint.
The Lobster Joint – 1073 Manhattan Ave.
I finally hit The Lobster Joint last Friday on what was a particularly cool September evening. As a native New Englander this made me feel right at home. So did the perfectly seasoned chowder, reminding me more of a lighter Rhode Island style broth than the creamy Massachusetts style you may be used to. The Lobster roll was also surprisingly authentic, with warm buttered bread making it all melty and sweet in your mouth. The mussels and fries are a plate large enough to share and the Lobster Ale makes it all go down smooth. Needless to say I will be returning a few more times this fall.
With the hot days of summer slouching towards us, there will be nights when you’ll wish you were elsewhere, contrary to the spirit of this blog. Here’s three liquid ways to get there.
The Pimm’s Cup for when it’s time to close your eyes and think of England. A good Pimm’s cup should make you feel healthier for drinking it; it’s like a boozy fruit salad, with just enough savory elements to keep it interesting.
Where it takes you: It’s 3:42 p.m. at the summer “cottage” outside Bath, and the butler has just brought out a platter of sandwiches and drinks. In doing so, he’s knocked over a potted topiary, thoroughly interrupting your game of croquet. How Continental of him.
When & Where to have it: Five Leaves in the early afternoon, and never, ever indoors.
There are also variousrecipes available online, none of which I particularly like. If you make it yourself, resist the urge to make it too boozy, which is what I tended to do, and never skip the cucumbers. Consider adding rosemary as well.
The Negroni because I came to the bar for the air conditioning. It’s about 11 on a weeknight and you decided to abandon your hopes of getting to sleep early. The heat and humidity has conspired to make turning on your rumpled mattress begin to feel increasingly like a dispassionate tryst with a damp Spongebob, so just short of going completely nuts you find a dark, cold bar to hide in. You need a drink that indulges your newly air-conditioned self in denying how hot it actually is elsewhere and hurts just a little.
Where it takes you: Your pick of bar scenes from the 40’s. Combine it with a slick haircut, a pencil-thin mustache, and some serious delusions and you’ll have your pick of the dames.
The Micheladabecause beer doesn’t count. I have a newfound love for the michelada because it takes the already fantastic bloody mary and makes it a little more refreshing and a little less thick. They’re a great anytime drink, are cheap to make at home (I contend they’re a bad deal at most bars) and are an excuse to incorporate clam juice into a drink. If that grosses you out, stop now.
Where it takes you: Depending on your attitude towards clam juice and Old Bay, either a salty, windblown pier pierced with crying seagulls and the smell of fried clams, or a spot around back of the clam shack with a friend holding up your hair.
When & Where to have it: My place around noonish. Show up with something from The Lobster Joint and I’ll mix us up a couple. I’ll start with a pint glass full of ice, then add:
1/2 cup tomato juice, I use Knudsen’s organic. Clamato isn’t nearly clammy enough. Gross, I know.
Healthy splash clam juice (I like Bar Harbor, pictured above.)
Juice from 1/8 each lime and lemon
Pinch of crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp. hot horseradish
Old Bay to taste (For me, I taste lots.)
I’ll fill the pint with beer, stir, enjoy, and repeat.
There’s great dissension concerning which beer to use, but I’ve had great success with The Crisp from Sixpoint since it became available in cans. Cheaper options work just fine as well and you could – I guess – forego the clam juice, but just don’t tell me about it.
The heavily anticipated restaurant set to take the place of the recently closed Lamb & Jaffey, The Lobster Joint is set to open tomorrow! The interior has a definite white-washed New England vibe going on and the menu is chock full of comforting seafood choices like lobster rolls, crab cake sandwiches, lobster mac n’ cheese, fish and chips, and more. – via Brooklyn Based
This is one of the most exciting new openings to come to Greenpoint lately and I plan to check it out right after the holiday weekend!
The Lobster Joint
1073 Manhattan Avenue
btwn Dupont & Eagle