Walking into Cheeseboat, the new family-run Georgian restaurant at 80 Berry Street in Williamsburg, my aesthete’s heart is overjoyed. I am immediately put at ease by the soft, romantic lighting. The boldly-patterned table coverings are ornamented with tea lights that provide a lovely glow. A stunning piece of woodwork surrounds a table tucked into the wall, reminiscent of a hobbit hole and designed by the incredibly talented Charlie Baker of Baker Structures. We are warmly greeted by Shako, one of the family members who will be our server for the evening. I ordered the house red, which is a surprisingly good Malbec bursting with fruit. We start our meal with the vegetarian dip trio, which includes a smoky eggplant paste, a spinach and herb pesto, and a chargrilled onion hummus served with delicious bread. We enjoy our dips but are anxious to move onto the star of the show– the cheeseboat. Continue reading
food and drink
Though they’ve only been open two years, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. (114 Nassau Ave) has become a vital part of our neighborhood. Their front cold case is one of the few places around for sustainably-sourced fish, the back bar serves up some our most delectable dishes, and it’s all done with the kind of friendly, welcoming vibe that turns random customers into regulars. The fishmongers know off the top of their heads where all of the incredibly fresh fish is from and are more than willing to help you figure out what to buy. And over Labor Day weekend, our neighbors to the north got their own Long Island City outpost with a full fish case, fun products, and ready-to-eat items, with lobster rolls and chowdah coming soon enough. Continue reading
In this second installment of the Gastronaut series, we go behind the scenes of Acme Smoked Fish to demystify Fish Fridays.
In the heart of industrial Greenpoint, on an unremarkable street, behind an unmarked door, lies the largest smoked fish processor in the country: Acme Smoked Fish (30 Gem Street). And every Friday, and only Friday, from 8am until 1pm, you can take advantage of one of the neighborhood’s best (and worst kept) secrets when Acme opens its doors to the public for “Fish Friday.” Continue reading
Going into ice cream actually started as a joke for David Yoo. After beginning a career in fashion and advertising, he decided in 2012 that it was time for a change. A few jokes later, he came to the realization that “ice cream is like blank canvas” ready for creative interpretations, and getting into the ice cream business might allow for the real hands-on creative hijinks he was searching for. So he enrolled in the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course, Class of 2013; gave his job a six-month notice; and by Friday, September 13th, Davey’s Ice Cream was open in the East Village. Late last summer, Davey’s brought their ice cream across the river to Bedford Avenue. Continue reading
During the spring, 664 Manhattan Avenue changed hands again. Once the Polish-American restaurant CinaMoon, it transformed into “664 Wine & Dine” for a few months last year, and is now Cherry Point. The restaurant, which opened in May and named after the first published name for Greenpoint, is owned by The Spotted Pig alum Julian Calcott, artist Vincent Mazeau, and beverage director Garret Smith, each one contributing to Cherry Point’s distinct vibe. Wainscotting, exposed brick and an open kitchen create a warm and inviting space for dinner, brunch or after-work drinks.
If you haven’t been to vibrant Graham Avenue on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint yet, I present to you the perfect reason to explore this part of town. Named after a communal trout fishing lodge that her grandfather founded in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Emily Casey’s Bourbon Springs somehow captures the familiarity of a little restaurant in the south, but with the all the culinary chops necessary to survive New York’s competitive restaurant scene. The Cajun-inspired menu is sure to satisfy and the bar happens to make some of the best craft cocktails in the city. The interior is pleasant and charming; small enough to feel welcoming yet with table spacing optimized for conversation. Bourbon Springs also enjoys a quaint backyard complete with picnic tables surrounded by planters overflowing with herbs, tomatoes, and blueberries. On Sunday evenings, they offer seasonal all-you-can-eat seafood boils, currently featuring crab and shrimp.
Samantha Hew and Anthony Piliaskas believe in evolving spaces and snacks. From Bembe to 3 Roots, both have successfully sustained businesses while layering the neighborhood with innovative adaptations. Their newest collaboration, Vittles Cafe (94 Franklin St), is a vibrant testament to 9 years of friendship and belief that food should be positive and rooted in love and community.
Nestled at Oak and Franklin, the treats – vittles – deliver scrumptious aromas and flavor. Vegans, omnivores, health nuts, and meat-ers will want to indulge in the mouthwatering menu and caffeine addicts will be delighted by the drinks list. Highlights include Toby’s Estate espresso, egg & cheese on a biscuit, Australian hot milo, cornmeal rolls, Thai vegan banh mi, Barista’s specialty, kaya butter toast and potato curry puffs.
These gorgeous evenings lately have led many of us to hang outside until well after dark, but there is another way to enjoy summer. Hop on The Water Table at the India Street pier for an amazing boat ride through the East River down to the Statue of Liberty, complete with New England-focused food, craft beer, good wine, wonderful cocktails, and a lovely sunset with views of the East River Bridges, beautiful Brooklyn, and the Manhattan skyline!
A few weeks ago, the former Champs Junior spot on Manhattan Avenue (between Nassau and Driggs) turned into Screamers Pizzeria, a vegan pizzeria. Screamers is owned by Brad Baker, the man behind Champs Diner and Haymaker’s Corner Store, in a joint venture with chefs Mark Mebus and Ryan Moylan of Philly’s Blackbird Pizzeria. Blackbird is apparently some of the best vegan pizza available in the country, so this is a pretty big deal in the vegan world. I stopped by to see what it’s all about and get my first taste of a true vegan-with-cheese pizza.
If you’re going to Hail Mary (68 Greenpoint Ave), a new diner-like restaurant with an open and homey air befitting of Greenpoint, it’s best to take a crowd and some extra money.
The ambience is cozy, quaint and nostalgic—made for a group of friends or family. The busy, patterned wallpaper, upholstery and bits of Americana transport you back to an earlier era, while the dim lamp lighting, antique-style tables and open kitchen in the back room reflect more typical Brooklyn design trends. There’s some old school rap music playing lightly in the background. And you will meet the husband and wife co-owners and co-chefs, Sohla and Ham El- Waylly, who come out humbly and unannounced to serve you, offer menu recommendations and explain what’s on the plate. Continue reading