Saturday, June 13, 2009

Brooklyn Round Up

I've been spending a lot of time in Park Slope/Sunset Park lately, which has given me the opportunity to taste what's going on in the other boroughs.  I'll make this short and sweet, since it would be impossible to give a lengthy overview of so many restaurants at once.  

I had a sub-standard banh mi at Sidecar, where the French fries are delicious (thin and McDonald's-style), but the sandwich lacks bite.  Not only was the thing way too big, but it was insufficiently pickled.  The pickle is everything when it comes to good banh mi.  I have it on good authority that the burger is worth the calories, but I didn't take that route.  

Beer Table in Park Slope offers a much more successful menu.  An arugula salad with pickled onions and shaved parmesan was just lemony enough without suffering from over acidification.  Sausages, though a tiny bit mealy, had a deep offal quality to them that even the most discerning foodie would not have been able to criticize.  They came with slightly boring but very buttery roasted potatoes.  The cheese plate, featuring Bayley Hazen Blue (a personal favorite), brandied cherry compote, and crusty bread was a tour de force.  Beers range from affordable (I had a Hitachino espresso stout) to not (what I really wanted was the Rochefort 10).  Belgians make the requisite appearances, as do obscure Italian brews.  If we'd been in more of a drinking spirit, we likely would have splurged on one of the many 750ml bottles.  

Tacos Nuevo, also in the Slope, impressed me more for their happy hour deal (two for one sticky-sweet margaritas) than the actual food, though I will admit that the chorizo-refried beans dip was addictive and clearly unhealthy.  My huarache, also made with chorizo, wasn't quite crunchy enough.  My dining companion said I should have ordered the tacos.  Maybe next time.  

Finally, my only expensive Brooklyn meal in the past week has been the least innovative.  Blue Ribbon Brasserie on 5th Avenue did have some excellent New Brunswick oysters, small and creamy and served with this cucumber/cilantro salsa that was good on its own.  They were also $3.50 apiece, which just seems absurd when you think about how small an oyster is.  We drank a very good bottle of 2007 Chateau Pradeaux Bandol rose with our pierogis (half fried, half steamed; order the steamed and save yourself the wasteful calories), which came with a sweet onion marmalade and lots of sour cream.  Barbecue ribs were the Blue Ribbon standard: very sticky and very sweet and very worth the trip.  Shrimp remoulade were fine.  They tasted like crabcake dipping sauce.  I wasn't impressed.  One of the night's specials had been a 40-ounce rib steak for two, and that would have been more satisfying, given the slightly enormous bill.  At least dinner wasn't on me.  

Sidecar Bar and Grill
560 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Beer Table
427B 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Tacos Nuevo Mexico
491 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Brooklyn
280 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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