Reviews

Greenpoint Gems: Wanpaku Ramen also hosts The Hidden Pearl, a Secret Craft Bar in the Back of the Restaurant

The Hidden Pearl, located at the rear of Wanpaku Ramen

Many restaurants have a craft cocktail menu, but few have their own craft cocktail bar. Wanpaku — the ramen powerhouse at 621 Manhattan Avenue — is one of the rare eateries to succeed in creating two distinct ambiances in one compact space. Nestled in the back of the restaurant, The Hidden Pearl is a transportive 20-seat speakeasystyle cocktail bar created in partnership with Leif Huckman, owner of Williamsburg’s Donna Cocktail Club

Between the restaurant’s food and the bar’s drinks, it’s hard to say which is better. Luckily, they pair perfectly. Stop by the bar before having a meal, or vice versa, but be sure to make a reservation at the bar; given The Hidden Pearl’s size, it’s best to put your name in ahead. If you’re starting at the bar, a special to begin with might be the $10 shooter — a savory and seaside concoction that blends fish eggs, a quail egg, and more. Simultaneously briny and refreshing, it’s yummier than you might think, and it tastes of the ocean. Continue reading

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Salt+Charcoal on Bedford To Offer Nine-Course Tasting Menu on Tuesday

Guest Chef Hiroki Odo from the Michelin-starred Kajitsu with Salt+Charcoal’s Chef Tadaaki Ishizaki

Al fresco dining, light but filling fare, and a quieter pocket of Williamsburg: Salt+Charcoal offers it all with flare and flavors aplenty. Located on the corner of Bedford and Grand, this Japanese steakhouse is mercifully out of the weeds of the hectic Bedford Ave L Train buzz. (But at a healthy six-blocks distance, you can still feel part of the action.) And don’t let the steakhouse classification deter you: the vibe is smart-casual even as the attentive service uplifts it.

Salt+Charcoal serves Asian “temple” or “monk’s” food, which has recently been gaining notoriety— see the Chef’s Table episode on it — but in actuality, this shojin style is the foundation of all Japanese cuisine, and the purest form of Kaiseki-style dining.

Come Tuesday June 26, the restaurant is offering a one-of-a-kind experience that paradoxically bridges the world of shojin with that of Japanese dry-aged beef in a harmonious nine-course tasting event. 


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Hidden Gems: Le Fanfare’s Special Off-Menu Pastas

Le Fanfare at 1103 Manhattan Avenue

Order the Myrtle-scented pork ribs. Yes, this post is about Le Fanfare‘s (1103 Manhattan Ave) irresistible $10 pasta special, but you won’t be dissatisfied if you veer onto the main menu and indulge in the ribs. Served over a bed of organic polenta and topped with fresh greens, this entrée of ribs slides off the bone and — I swear — doesn’t get stuck in your teeth. Were the bones pre-lubed, or is it some other culinary magic? Greenpoint may never know.

But anyway — back to the pasta. Le Fanfare, the charming Italian gem between Clay and Dupont on Manhattan Avenue, has recently launched pasta specials. Every Monday through Wednesday, Le Fanfare serves three off-menu pasta specials for $10 a dish. Continue reading

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Annicka, Greenpoint Beer’s New Farm Brewery Restaurant

Celery Root Salad  All images by Megan Penmann

Last week’s opening of Annicka (544 Manhattan Ave) made New York State history. The restaurant represents the first time one has opened under New York State’s farm brewery license. Officially operated by Greenpoint Beer & Ale, Annicka is a celebration of the North Brooklyn community. They’re working with local chefs, fostering a chill ‘no assholes’ environment, and there’s more than one local artist on the walls. And the vegetable-heavy menu (there is meat!) is a welcome change from all the comfort food spots opening up all over the neighborhood.

The farm brewery license allows a New York State brewery to operate a restaurant in a different location than the actual brewery and to serve beer by the glass at that restaurant sans a separate license. This is why every tap at Annicka is something from Greenpoint Beer i.e. you don’t have to walk all the way over to the brewery to enjoy a few. As for the food, Greenpoint Beer is collaborating with North Brooklyn Farms as well as Christian Perkins, a former Marlow & Daughters butcher, and Emma Jane Gonzalez, a vegan. Continue reading

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Selamat Pagi Brings Bali to Brooklyn

A few of the items on offer at Selamat Pagi. Ethan Covey

Tucked in Greenpoint on Driggs Ave, Selamat Pagi is an Indonesian-influenced addition to the neighborhood, with plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike. The restaurant quietly opened its doors in 2012 by Ben Van Leeuwen, Laura O’Neill, and Pete Van Leeuwen, the trio behind Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. The Indonesian menu is inspired by a series of trips to Bali and Laura O’Neill’s Australian background, where Indonesian food is widespread.

The stylish space features white walls, rustic light wood tabletops, a few thoughtfully placed potted plants and pink fluorescent light accents, emitting a retro-feeling cozy pink glow. The restaurant space was originally designed and built by its founders but underwent a renovation in 2016 led by the Brooklyn architecture firm Carpenter + Mason. Continue reading

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The Drift, Greenpoint’s Secret Ski Lodge goes Southwest

New Fall Menu at The Drift  All photos by Eli Harrigan

The Drift (579 Meeker Ave) is your neighborhood local bar if you happen to be in this far northeast corner of Greenpoint on the edge of Brooklyn. If you haven’t visited in its first year of business, now is the time. The new fall menu and ski lodge vibe of this place is perfect for hiding away from cold weather. Influences from the bar owners’ other establishments, The Commodore and El Cortez are present as well as their namesake cocktails. Continue reading

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Glasserie Expands with Bar Glory on Franklin Street

All images courtesy of Bar Glory

Franklin Guesthouse’s restaurant space was finally occupied when Bar Glory opened in August under the stewardship of restauranteur Sara Conklin (of Greenpoint’s beloved Glasserie). The restaurant forges its own identity through an inventive and inspired combination of culinary influences. Chef Jeff Kouba’s eclectic menu takes risks in the mashup of flavors and textures with delightful and surprising results. The food is largely influenced by Central Asian and Far Eastern flavors but takes liberties with Uzbek, Thai, and Korean flavors. Its environs can be described as refined rustic-chic decor and cozy ambiance that feels slightly more casual then Glasserie. Continue reading

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For An Ever-Changing Menu From a Noma Vet, Head To Knightshift at Meyers Bageri

Knightshift, inside Meyers Bageri

Bike-lane infrastructure notwithstanding (because…c’mon, NYC. You’ve still got a LONG way to go), North Brooklyn and Copenhagen aren’t so different these days. Both areas feature a beyond-solid outerwear game, both combine the charms of a tight-knit neighborhood with the benefits of urban living…and both North Brooklyn and Copenhagen are key destinations for prestige Nordic cuisine.

We’ve got Aska (47 S 5th St), the austere and ambitious tasting-menu spot from Fredrik Berselius (a veteran of Noma, the Copenhagen spot that’s a permanent fixture on ‘best restaurant’ lists all over the world). We’ve got Norman (29 Norman Ave), a collaborative effort from Berselius and Claus Meyer, the co-founder of Noma and the chef/proprietor of the Great Northern Food Hall and Agern in Grand Central Station. And, of course, Mr. Meyers also helms Meyers Bageri (667 Driggs Ave) in South Williamsburg, where outstanding Danish rye loaves and insanely-delicious cinnamon twists can always be found.

But that’s not all you’ll get at Meyers Bageri. From now through the end of the year, Meyers is hosting an evening pop-up called Knightshift, which features a menu from Mads Refslund, formerly of Acme in NoHo and an alum of (you guessed it) Noma. Refslund’s gearing up to open his own Williamsburg restaurant in 2018 (with the badass, ‘Game of Thrones’-esque name ‘Fire And Ice’), and he’s using Knightshift as a test lab for recipes, techniques, and presentations. Continue reading

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Westlight Celebrates One Year in Williamsburg

All images © NoHo Hospitality Group

The William Vale hotel is one of the most obvious additions to Williamsburg’s skyline and the beautiful Westlight sits at its very top. Luckily for us, they scored James Beard-winning chef Andrew Carmellini to create outstanding menus throughout The William Vale, not just at the street-level Leuca, his first Brooklyn restaurant. Chef Carmellini is no stranger to the transformation Williamsburg has undergone and is proud of his contribution. “When I used to come down here in the 90’s with my guitar, I’d get off the train and there was nothing here. There was the Turkey’s Nest and that was it and there was never anyone here,” says Carmellini. Westlight has helped draw a crowd to the area and is now entering its second year. Continue reading

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We Tried Practically Every Wing in Greenpoint During The Greenpoint Wing Rundown

As tends to be the case too often these days, our great neighborhood is heading toward the loss of another well-loved establishment. A victim of the rising tides of unreasonable rent, The Habitat will be closing its doors this September after almost ten years at 988 Manhattan Avenue. This cozy bar in the northern part of Greenpoint is home to a fabulous beer list, great brunch specials, and an awesome late night menu.

While all of that will be missed, there is a hole that it is leaving that many fear cannot be filled. The Habitat has on their menu “The Best Wings in Brooklyn,” and we have all been lucky enough to have them right here within our reach. With their departure in just over a month’s time, where will the hungry wing fanatics go to get their saucy fix?

Well, while the true classic might never really be topped, we rounded up seven other contenders that will do their best to warm your heart like The Best Wings in Brooklyn once did. Continue reading

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