A few months ago, Nolita restaurant Little Rascal (130 Franklin St) opened a second location in Greenpoint. The North Brooklyn location, which debuted as a cocktail bar, is now serving food with a menu inspired by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Owners Halil and Öner Gündogdu, who are longtime Greenpoint residents, partnered with renowned mixologist Keith Larry to bring Little Rascal to North Brooklyn. The trio found Chef Oscar Lezama, and the foursome have proven to be a formidable team. Chef Lezama has significant experience working in Mediterranean restaurants, and the Little Rascal owners said they feel lucky to have him on board.
Little Rascal’s new food menu consists of snacks, appetizers, and larger plates, many featuring a combination of both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. “The menu is meant to be a feast and shared among friends,” according to Halil Gündogdu, who hails from the culinary corner of Turkey in the southern section of the country. He explained that “all items can be sharable, but some more than others.”
Keith Larry also noted that the menu might change, and the owners want to measure customers’ reactions to the food. “So far, the response has been great,” said Larry. “It’s not often you see cleaned plates at restaurants, but most of the plates have been cleaned.”
This comment is not surprising as the menu is ripe with highlights. To start, the trio of dips is a popular choice. It includes tzatziki, hummus, and babaganoush with homemade Turkish breads and chips. The burrata is another creamy choice. It’s clearly of high quality and comes with cherry tomatoes and beets in a citrus vinaigrette, which Halil said was one of his favorite dressings.
Two more popular starters are the feta phyllo rolls and the halloumi croquettes. The crispy phyllo rolls are filled with feta cheese and topped with a sweet fig jam and slightly spicy oil. They are a favorite among guests, for good reason. The halloumi croquettes are served in a bed of eggplant jam with a deliciously sweet flavor. They are small and can be popped into your mouth.
The grilled artichokes are surprisingly tasty. They are served in a bed of green pea purée alongside fava beans and preserved lemon in a terrific citrus sauce. Another vegetarian option is the mango and lentil shepherd salad. The flavorful salad is topped with a tahini dressing and has a light citrus flavor.
Slightly larger dishes include the spicy shrimp served with muhammara sauce with garlic and chili oil. Halil said that this dish embodies the intersection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors.
The smoked lamb tacos and lamb chops both showcase a meat popular in the Gündogdu brothers’ home of Turkey. The tacos come with pickled onion, feta, paprika yogurt, and an amazing BBQ-like sauce. The lamb chops are equally mouthwatering, served with a simple citrusy yogurt sauce.
Little Rascal is open every day from 5 p.m. – 4 a.m. The Greenpoint location currently does not accept reservations, so show up early and scope out the gorgeous back garden with large tables perfect for your whole squad to share an unforgettable feast.