Reviews

Emo Legends Stick to New Songs, Not Crowd Pleasers

 

Saves The Day playing in front of a packed Warsaw crowd in Greenpoint on Wednesday, Nov. 14th. Photo by Peter Kirchhausen

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a nostalgia-soaked night of music, and on Wednesday night at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave.), Saves the Day was exactly that. But although it pains me to write, the nostalgia seems to be wearing thin.

It was an early 2000’s North East emo basement scene recreated nearly 20 years later in North Brooklyn, in front of all those 17-year-olds who are now nearing their 40s. Although the band on stage at Warsaw still features emo-rock legend vocalist Chris Conley, most of the other members- a literal revolving door with over 20 different people over the years- are mostly all new. The previous dozen plus band members chose to bow out years ago when it just stopped being fun, countless years before the creation of the newly released ninth studio album which dropped earlier this November.

Conley wearing a dark tinted sunglass inside Warsaw on Wednesday night. Photo by Peter Kirchhausen

Three or four times during the 90 minute set, there were sparks from the fan favorites that put the band on the national map, such as the opener “At Your Funeral,”  “Freakish,” or “Holly Hox.” For the remainder of the setlist, the audience was starved of what they paid to hear- the early catalog- and for a Wednesday night, the packed crowd was not willing to fake it. Conley has every right to create a set list which he prefers, relying on either newer or older songs, but musicians can read audiences very quickly and Conley knows what is going on. The audience stood idle in for large chunks of time while newer songs were performed and it appeared tough for the other bandmates to fake the energy on stage. Conley was often stationary in the center and putting out low energy all night, something I previously have not seen out of him during more recent live performances. Continue reading

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Happy Six-Month Anniversary to Elder Greene!

It’s time for your half-year check-in, Elder Greene!

This nifty and newish bar has been delighting visitors on the corner of Kent and Franklin (prime real estate) since it opened at the very end of April. At 160 Franklin, this gastropub — cozy and casual, classic but eclectic — boasts specialty cocktails, dude food aplenty, and a warm, inviting staff. Dinner is offered regularly and brunch on weekends with new additions often frequenting a menu prepared by a proficient kitchen staff.

By day, Elder Green’s a sun-drenched hangout for barflies and lunch-goers who can feast on chicken-slathered nachos, mac&cheese, or a blackened chicken sandwich. But by night, Elder Greene transforms into a cavernous and candlelit sanctuary, a place to go and mellow out at the bar or socialize with friends at the tables on the ground floor. No matter where you sit, be sure to try the delicious rosemary-infused gin cocktail, Pretty Tied Up. It’s delectable and is sure to keep Elder Greene in business for another six months. Here’s to many more anniversaries!

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A Food-centric Happy Hour Crawl Through Greenpoint

Autumn has crept in and I can’t help but feel a little sad that day trips to the Rockaways have gone away, cafes have stowed away their outdoor seating and battened down the window hatches (except for Five Leaves because… well I don’t really know why). The only way to fight this sadness is to replace these feelings with happy moments, happy feelings and most importantly, happy hours.
By embarking on a food-focused Greenpoint happy hour crawl I discovered my preferred method to get a little taste and a lot of feel out of a few places in one night. Here are some of my favorite omnivorous dishes in the hood during the typically alcohol-focused creation known as ‘happy hour.’
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.’s oyster happy hour
A fish counter with a penchant for service, this white-tiled silvery-scaled spot on Nassau Avenue offers oysters for $2, beer and cider for $5, wine and cava for $6, and a catch of the day menu a la carte. And it makes me want to remind you that one dollar oyster promotions are completely unsustainable. Places that are still offering this deal regularly are likely getting oysters from ecocidal farms; we could all do our part by not expecting and seeking dollar oysters.

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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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