Watty & Meg
248 Court St, Brooklyn 11201
(At Kane St)
It was Sunday morning and we were starving! We set out with the intention of having brunch at Buttermilk Channel. I was already having visions in my head of fried pork chop goodness with those insanely delicious cheddar waffles but my dreams were shattered once we arrived at Buttermilk Channel. A minimal one hour wait! Damn you Beyonce for totally blowing up that spot! We put our names on the waiting list and were told that they would call us once a table becomes available. What the hell am I supposed to do for an hour besides chewing my arm off from hunger?! What else but going for a walk to explore more new restaurants! After walking around for about 30 minutes and peeking at various menus, we stumbled upon Watty & Meg. I took one look at the menu and they had me at crayfish and lobster.
Quinoa, Kale & Avocado Salad: Being constantly on the lookout for a good salad and having a deep love for avocados, it was only natural that my eyes would notice this salad on the menu. The salad arrived in a rather interesting presentation. It was segregated into three parts: the kale, the quinoa, and the avocado. I wasn’t exactly sure how to eat this thing so I started out by trying each part individually. The kale had a nice light vinaigrette dressing to it. It had a pleasantly refreshing typical vinaigrette flavor but it was nothing out of the ordinary. I then proceeded to the avocado which pretty much resembled guacamole. It was well seasoned with just the right amount of salt, it was creamy, and it was simple and tasty. Finally I made my way over to the quinoa. Unfortunately the quinoa was as plain as you can possibly get. Bland and flavorless. I normally love quinoa but whenever I prepare quinoa at home, I will usually use a chicken, beef, or vegetable stock in order to give it some flavor. It was clear that this quinoa was made with plain water. The few strips of mango that were on top of the quinoa and the shaved almonds helped a tiny bit but overall the quinoa was completely blah. Not being overly thrilled with this salad, I decided to try something. I combined the the kale, the quinoa, and the avocado. The result was definitely more flavorful but it was still nothing to write home about. This is a great salad if you’re looking for something with very healthy ingredients however it greatly lacks in the flavor department so I cannot really recommend it.
Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese Omelet: My friend is a huge fan of mushrooms and cheese but then again so am I. It was this particular dish that drew her in. I watched her take the first bite and moments later I could tell that she wasn’t very thrilled so of course I had to give it my own taste test for confirmation. The omelet itself was ok but once again nothing really spectacular. I found that it not only had a very small amount of mushrooms but a very small amount of goat cheese as well. A more generous amount of these ingredients, in my opinion, would have increased the flavor of this omelet. The omelet was served with Gruyere au gratin potatoes which I found to be the tastiest part of the dish. The Gruyere cheese flavor was well pronounced along with a nice hint of rosemary, making the potatoes creamy and tasty. It was around this time that we received a phone call from Buttermilk Channel letting us know that our table was ready. I was ready to throw down some cash and make a run for Buttermilk Channel but we were too far and I felt compelled to give Matty & Weg a fair review.
Lobster, Corn & Crayfish Fritter: After I got over my heartache of having to decline Buttermilk Channel, my dish had arrived. I saw large chunks of lobster which is always a site that makes me happy. The lobster was definitely very fresh, very tender, slightly sweet and just delicious but it was the fritter itself that totally threw me off course. The fritter contained corn as well as the crayfish but it’s flavor simply did not work for me. It was way too sweet, almost dessert sweet. The corn that was inside the fritter only served to make it even more sweet. On top of the fritter was a warm curried tomato salad with free but the curry flavor seemed like a huge contrast when compared to the fritter. One moment I felt like I was eating dessert and then the next I was eating something savory. As for the crayfish, it completely got lost in the sweet flavor of the fritter. I had to separate the lobster chunks from everything else in order to really appreciate the lobster itself. I don’t think that the crayfish served any purpose on this dish because if you were not told it was there then you would never know of its existence. I hate to say it but the only thing I really enjoyed was the lobster.
French Fries: You could have stuck these French into the previous quinoa salad because they were ridiculously salty! I’ve never had to brush off salt from fries before. On top of everything else, they were over-fried to the point that I could have probably stabbed someone with them. Thumbs down on the fries!
Espresso Bean Panna Cotta: After having read some of my previous reviews, you probably realize by now that I always have dessert and sometimes I actually hope that perhaps the dessert can save the meal. Since I love espresso and I love a good panna cotta I decided that this would be my last ditch effort to have something really good at Watty & Meg. Redemption at last! The panna cotta was served in a coffee mug, topped with fresh whipped cream, and something that reminded me of corn flakes. The panna cotta itself was smooth as silk with a nice coffee flavor. I would have preferred a more pronounced coffee taste but it was still good. The cream on top was unsweetened which worked very well with the sweetness of the custard and the crunchy flakes added a nice texture contrast. Along with a great latte, this dessert was surprisingly great and I would definitely recommend it.
I am somewhat torn about Watty & Meg because after brunch I did some further research and noticed that they had very good reviews regarding their dinners. Would I come back here for brunch? I don’t know but if I did come back I would definitely skip on the items I reviewed, minus the panna cotta and latte of course. This might be one of those spots that I recommend to people to drop in for some dessert and coffee but so far there just wasn’t anything outstanding about the food. Perhaps dinner is totally different. Don’t be surprised if I end up at Watty & Meg eventually to give dinner a shot!
Stone Park Cafe
324 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(At 3rd St)
Located next to Washington Park in Park Slope is an outpost of pure deliciousness known as Stone Park Cafe. I’m so anxious to tell you about their food that I’m not even going to bother with any sort of introduction except that you should definitely check out the Old Stone House located inside the park before or after you have a meal at Stone Park Cafe. Lots of old Brooklyn history! On that note, let’s dive straight into the food!
Tarte Flambé: We started things off with the tarte. A wonderfully crisp pastry with creme fraiche (similar to sour cream but much less sour and not as thick), lamb bacon, caramelized onions, and some frisee. Now I have never heard of and I definitely never had lamb bacon before but as most of us already know, anything called “bacon” is usually just plain awesome and such was the case here. The bacon was very lightly crisp and with good reason. I think if it was fried any further you would not only lose its unique flavor but you would definitely lose its texture and size. For some reason the the flavor of the lamb bacon reminded me somewhat of really good prosciutto. Now take that flavor and combine it with the very slight sourness of the creme fraiche and the sweetness of those lovely caramelized onions and you end up with a salty and slightly sweet flavor with a slightly creamy texture. The crispy tart adds just the right of amount of crunch and texture contrast to the soft and creamy creme fraiche and bacon. An amazingly delicious appetizer that may slighly remind you of a mini pizza. Although there was 4 of us, I could have easily devoured this entire appetizer on my own. Highly recommended!
Scallop & Marrow Tacos: Being a huge fan of bone marrow, these days if I spot it anywhere on any menu then I will most certainly have to order it. The last amazing bone marrow that I’ve had was at Flatbush Farm but I think Stone Park’s bone marrow has officially taken over first place in my book. Although the bone marrow was buttery and delicious on its own, it was the addition of the scallops which I thought took it over the top. I loved the fact that this dish was served over a bed of rock salt because what you need to do is take some of that incredible bone marrow, brush it slightly against the rock salt and finally add a piece of scallop but don’t forget the caramelized onions as well. The end result will probably be one of the best scallops you’ve ever tasted! The soft and slightly chewy texture of the scallop with the gelatinous bone marrow was simply glorious and the sweetness of those caramelized onions, wow! Now mind you, the bone marrow was served with small sides of cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, and lime but because I was so overwhelmed with just the bone marrow and scallops on their own, I completely forgot about those other fantastic ingredients. I am almost certain that if I were to add those additional items, this bone marrow would have been stellar!
Grilled Baby Octopus: Ahh those wonderful mollusks! Octopus has always been a huge favorite with me but only when properly prepared. Bad octopus is usually like a bad steak, tough and chewy. How was this octopus? Soft, tender, and flavorful! The chorizo added a wonderful spicy zest and the fingerling potatoes provided a nice starchy and mellow sweetness along with the sweet tomatoes. Personally I really dislike lemon on any seafood but just the right amount of preserved lemon was used with this dish to provide a very gentle and not overwhelming tang. A well seasoned appetizer bursting with a lots of flavor!
Grilled Hanger Steak: What a fantastic cut of meat this was! Prepared perfectly medium, just as requested. This was a tender hanger steak. It probably would have been already great with just the usual salt & pepper but in addition to that, the steak was prepared in an absolutely delicious and slightly sweet red wine reduction that was perfect for dipping. Served on a bed of spatzle (German egg noodles) and sauteed spinach, this dish definitely ranks high on my list of hanger steaks.
Grilled Lamb Top Loin: If you like lamb you will definitely love this! If you’re one of those people that are turned off by that distinct gamey lamb flavor then you will still love this! I love gamey meat but this lamb let you know that it was lamb without the overwhelming taste that is usually associated with lamb. Once again perfectly prepared and very tender. The sliced lamb was served on top of minted barley, crispy artichoke hearts, and ground lamb kabob. I don’t really know what it is about mint that works so well with lamb but the minted barley was a great taste and texture contrast. The crispy artichoke hearts were amazing! Sweet and perfectly crisp! They could easily be served as an appetizer on their own. And just when you’ve thought you had enough lamb, you get a somewhat different taste of lamb in the kabob which will remind you of sausage. Overall an excellent lamb entree!
Center Cut Pork Chop: I’ve mentioned before that usually I am not a fan of American style thick cut pork chops but I had a feeling that Stone Park Cafe would not let me down even if I took a chance on a thick cut pork chop. I was definitely right about that! All I can basically say is WOW! I really don’t think I’ve had such deeply flavorful pork chop in a very long time. When I say flavorful I mean the rich flavor extends all the way through that juicy and tender pork, not just a thin layer of flavor on top. Adding even more flavor were the pickled mustard seeds and demi (a rich brown sauce made from the stock of beef and veal) which covered the top of the pork chop. The slight zest of the seeds with the rich sweetness of the sauce was fabulous. The accompanying potato rosti (grated potatoes which are shaped, mixed with various spices, and then fried) was crispy on the outside with soft, delicious, and lightly sweet potato on the inside. The sauteed green were flavorful as well. One hell of an amazing pork chop to say the least!
Onion Rings: I’m only mentioning these onion rings because they were one of the best I’ve had. Wonderfully sweet onions in a perfectly light and crisp batter that wasn’t greasy at all. The dipping sauce made me think of a cross between Russian dressing and chipotle sauce. The onion rings on their own were great but the sauce made them even better!
Latte: By now I was nearing a food coma but of course a meal like that is never complete without coffee and dessert! Hands down one of the best lattes ever! Perfectly creamy with that perfect hint of roasted flavor not to be mistaken for burnt coffee. I would have had 2 cups but I still needed room for dessert.
Affogato: Classic Italian desert usually consisting of vanilla ice cream and hot espresso poured over it. Stone Park cafe used caramel ice cream instead along with hazelnut whip cream. You already know that their coffee is outstanding so you can only imagine how delicious this was especially when the ice starts melting and combining with the espresso.
Apple Turnover: MMmmmm so warm and delicious! Thinly sliced apples on a wonderfully chewy and lightly crisp pastry. Sweet and tangy. The vanilla buttermilk ice cream is so rich and delicious. Who needs apple pie when you have something like this?!
Summer Blueberry Cheesecake: A very rich and decadent cheesecake with a wonderful graham cracker crust with a delicious and sweet blueberry topping. I only wished that the cheesecake was more firm but that’s just a personal preference.
Chocolate Brioche Pudding: OMG! If I had to choose one killer dessert at Stone Park then this would most definitely fit the bill! If you love bread pudding then you will love this even more. If you love a rich chocolate brownie then once again you will love this! The best way I can describe this dessert is that it seemed like a cross between bread pudding and fudge brownie. The texture of this on your tongue is unreal! Smooth, rich, creamy, over the top decadence! I purposely had to eat this with small bites because I wanted to savor every last tiny bit of it. When combined with the accompanying scoop of caramel ice cream this dessert is absolutely heavenly! A MUST HAVE!
Stone Park Cafe is one of those restaurants where I can confidently walk in, order something completely random from their menu and know that not only will I not be disappointed but I will be presented with an everyday dish that is taken to extraordinary heights. Absolutely everything I’ve had so far, including their amazing brunches, shines with delicious and pronounced flavors! I simply cannot recommend Stone Park Cafe enough! It is a crime to be in Park Slope and never and never taste the incredible food of Stone Park Cafe!
457 Court St | Between Luquer St & 4th Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Frankie’s has been one of my favorite brunch spots in Carroll Gardens ever since my friend and I randomly stumbled in there many years ago. It was love at first bite with their French Toast! Although I did not have the French Toast on this outting, I still believe it is one of the best, if not the best, French Toasts in NYC. As you already know I don’t really discuss ambience and atmosphere very much unless it’s worth mentioning and this time it is definitely worth mentioning! I have a fascination with old time historic Brooklyn and NYC in general. Frankie’s interior has those old classic pre-war ceilings and exposed brick walls. I also really love the old-school incandescent light bulbs. Last but not least is their beautiful outdoor garden area which is definitely great for some wine and cheese on a nice sunny Summer day. Ok I’m starting to stray from my main point people! Let’s talk about the food!
Latte: If I’m talking about coffee in this blog then it was either fantastic or pretty awful but luckily Frankie’s makes an excellent latte. Very creamy and with a nice strong roast. I like my lattes sweet, creamy and with just a hint of roasted coffee flavor. I can always depend on a great latte at Frankie’s.
Lentil Soup: Personally I usually think of lentil soup as being pretty boring. However, this time take your standard lentil soup, add some wonderful smoked bacon and some sprinkled parmesan cheese and the result is a soup that’s no longer boring but alive with cheesy smokey bacon flavor! You know what they say about bacon!
Roasted Beets & Avocados: Truly a very simple dish yet so good and refreshing. You have to really love beets and avocados to truly appreciate this. This salad only consists of roasted beets, avocados, and some light vinaigrette yet the combination is just perfect. The sweetness of the beets with the creaminess of the avocados tossed in a very light and slightly tangy vinaigrette dressing is just fantastic. A healthy, delicious, yet simple salad.
Duck Liver Toast with Arugula: I am a huge fan of goose liver or duck liver or basically any kind of liver pate. However, I usually prefer when it when it has a buttery and spreadable consistency as opposed to a brick on a plate that resembles a hunk of SPAM. Not that I don’t love SPAM! This duck liver was great. Just the right kind of smooth consistency that makes a great pate in my opinion. It had a very rich livery flavor that only someone who appreciates liver would truly enjoy. It was served on a very crispy piece of toast and was accompanied by some arugula in a light vinaigrette dressing but the arugula was more of a distraction for me. Overall a great pate appetizer!
Sicilian Tuna: Fresh tuna, some arugula, tomatoes, and red onions. Yeah I know. Sounds rather Zzzz but add a little mayo and place between Frankie’s wonderfully crisp bread and you’ve got yourself a tasty sandwich. I think the bread is what really does it for me with this sandwich. While we’re talking about bread, it is worth mentioning that Frankie’s breads come from the spectacular Sullivan Street Bakery. I highly recommend a visit there for some seriously amazing fresh breads!
Sweet Sausage: Ground Italian sweet sausage served with roasted red pepper and onions in a lightly sweet tomato sauce all on top of creamy polenta. For some reason I expected to be WOW’d by this dish. I can’t say that it made me go WOW but it was still a solid choice. There’s nothing really bad about it but I feel that sometimes a particular dish just lacks that “punch in your face” flavor. I guess I am on the fence about this choice but I would consider getting it again simply because I enjoy a good polenta.
Well there you have it! My highlights and lowlights of Frankie’s 457. An excellent brunch choice! Frankie’s has a lot of other wonderful items on their menu from great meats & cheeses to one of the best BLT’s I’ve ever had. If nothing more, then I would have to say that it is extremely imperative that you try their French Toast. It’s a must!
1048 Bedford Avenue between Clifton Place and Lafayette Avenue
Bed Stuy is definitely an area that requires some serious exploration! I haven’t been there in ages. A good friend of mine lives there and she recently moved into a new apartment in the neighborhood so I decided to check out her new place and pay her a visit. Most of my friends know me quite well and know that I am usually hungry and this time was no exception. Being completely unfamiliar with the neighborhood, my friend took me on a brief tour of the area while enroute to a restaurant called Black Swan. She has never failed me before in the food department so I was quite confident that I was in for a treat. The place itself was beautiful. Dark and full of heavy wooden tables. A skylight adds light as well as large glass paned doors that lead to an outside area. This is definitely a spot for a date night. The only thing that was somewhat slightly distracting was a large monitor hanging on one of the walls which was showing a basketball game. Black Swan does have a separate bar area with more monitors for the sports crowd so frankly I think having that one monitor in the dining area slightly takes away from the feel of the place. And now let’s talk food!
Veggie Empenadas: Delicious! The crust was absolutely perfect! Hot and flaky with the perfect crunch to chewiness ratio. Inside each empenada you find a yummy gooey cheese followed by some peppers, bits of potato, and some other veggies. The empenadas were so good that I almost forgot about the sauce that accompanied them which was something with the consistency of mayo but much more flavorful. These empenadas are a must have!
Salmon BLT: I ordered this dish and foolishly told them to hold the bacon. Once again my attempt at trying to eat healthy continues. This dish arrived with an actual piece of salmon on top of a soft brioche bun followed by lettuce, tomato, avocado slices and a spicy aoli sauce but alas, no bacon :(. The dish looked a little odd because of the large piece of salmon wedged between 2 buns. It’s as if it was trying to be a salmon burger without the salmon patty. Trying to eat this thing was definitely messy because the salmon was just not staying put between the buns and falling apart. I had to immediately switch to knife and fork before I wound up with salmon on my crotch. The salmon itself was great! The skin was nice and crunchy and the salmon, although cooked all the way through, was juicy and tender. The spicy aoli had a great kick to it that added to this sandwich. I only wish I didn’t pass on the bacon because that probably would have taken this dish to another level for me. Last but not least I cannot forget the salad that came with the salmon. Lots of good greens in a very tasty, slightly sweet vinaigrette dressing. I will definitely have the Salmon BLT again except next time I won’t skip on the bacon!
Date Cake: Any good meal deserves a good dessert I always say. I also always say that there is always room for dessert but that is because I have a horrible sweet tooth. The waiter mentioned something about a date cake. I really love dates! Perhaps it’s because I usually enjoy any dessert that’s overly sweet and decadent. So I decided to go with the date cake. Take cake itself was approximately 3 inches or so in diameter. Perfect for one and perfect for greedy dessert people like me although I did share this time. The cake had a wonderful thick and rich texture. It was moist and full of sweetness from the dates. The sauce surrounding the cake was delicious and sweet with some resemblance to caramel. You cannot have dessert without a good coffee or latte and I must say that Black Swan makes a very good latte.
I was very happy with my meal and Black Swan left a great impression with me. Black Swan is perfect as a bar and so far their food has been quite good. I will most certainly return to try some of their other items such as the Black Swan Burger, the Mac n Cheese, and the Cornmeal Fried Catfish Sandwich.