Soon enough, you stumble on a sixties-style taxi parked casually outside, as if the owner had gone inside for a martini and a smoke. This is just part of the intrigue of this spot on the northern fringe of Greenpoint.
As I entered, I was expecting a sparse North Brooklyn chic—dimly-lit Edison bulbs, reclaimed wood, perhaps a tasteful, unobtrusive abstract piece hanging from the wall. What I got instead intrigued me—if this was the décor, I was eager to try Brooklyn Lantern.
When I entered the hotel and walked through the lobby, I saw on the wall in front of me a colorful adventure into a fantasy version of New York—a wall-wide mural depicting vividly-moving scenes of dream-like creatures, from a beaked bird-man planting trees, to a plane with feet winging over the Brooklyn Bridge.
If this was the art, I most certainly wanted to see the food.
I entered a lovely bar and restaurant with even more fantastical murals—above the bar sat a beautiful painting of hands shaking and honeycombs dripping across the canvas.
On the other side of the room, a panoply of colored-glass windows served to provide a Mondrian effect on the room, making it look fresh, modern and exciting.
Brooklyn Lantern, a relatively new venue, opened only in June of 2015, and has started putting on concerts, including a talented jazz ensemble the evening we arrived.
I started the evening with a cool, refreshingly herbal Jimmie’s Garden, made with mint, cucumber, gin, St. Germain, rosemary and lemon.
To whet our appetites, my friends and I enjoyed snacking on a ballpark-style pretzel that was provided to us with three sauces, a honey mustard, butter, and an aioli — none of which we could resist, of course. We had french fries too, because what is Friday without frites?
The cuisine is French-American, and helmed by Jorge Gomez, who has 15 years of experience in French cuisine. However, the restaurant says it will soon be adjusting its menu to reflect the atmosphere and clientele.
“Although we are a hotel restaurant, we would like to cater to the neighborhood,” Jhony Alam, who created Brooklyn Lantern’s cocktail program and manages the restaurant, said. “We plan on having different events every week and creating a fun atmosphere to be around.
A delicious seared cod with rice and lentils that were perfectly cooked and tender to the bite was a good beginning to the evening. The sauces were lightly-spicy to perk simple dishes up.
The menu includes some heavy-hitters worthy of the mid-century décor, from a hanger steak served with chimichurri and sweet potato frites, to a lobster risotto with asparagus and shrimp, topped with lobster, in a saffron broth. For lighter and vegetarian eaters, there is a wild mushroom papardelle with shiitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms in a truffle broth, and a veggie burger.
For dessert, we had a South Asian ice cream topped with an incredibly light, spun halvah.
During dinner, one of the bartenders headed toward the stage. Little did we know that the man who mixed our drinks was also a talented trumpet player.
The xylophonist, keyboard player, drummer, and upright bass player spun the night away with lively jazz, and we relaxed into an evening of cocktails and dessert in an elegant setting.
The restaurant caters private events including weddings and parties. Contact Jhony Alam at (718) 383-3800 or stop into 77 Box Street for more information.
We’re looking forward to seeing what Brooklyn Lantern brings to the Greenpoint musical and culinary scenes in the near future.