276 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(Btwn Garfield & 1st St)
I’m pretty sure that many of us can recall our poor college days when a basic food staple for us used to be Nissin Cup O Noodles. Nothing could beat Cup O Noodles when you were in a pinch and had only a few bucks to your name! Never mind the fact that this sodium infused meal replacement was probably one of the most unhealthiest things you could eat. The point was that it got you through your day or night! Little did I know back then that Cup O Noodles is actually based on a more authentic Japanese treat called Ramen. Ramen is essentially a noodle dish served in various types of broths from miso to fish to meat and various others. In the past several years, Ramen has become extremely popular and dare I say trendy in New York with some places having a long line out the door. As it turns out, Park Slope has several ramen spots but I have to say that the one I frequent the most is Naruto Ramen.
Tantan Ramen: At Naruto this has always been one of my favorite ramens. The Tantan ramen consists of a spicy sesame broth that is hearty, flavorful, and is sure to warm your bones on a cold day. In this wonderful broth you will also find minced pork, a small fish cake, beansprouts, and scallions. The pork on its own is very tender and flavorful but after it has spent some time soaking up that wonderful broth it becomes even more delicious. The soft thin noodles are also very tasty after they absorb some liquid. If you’re going to Naruto for the first time, I would highly recommend you start with the Tantan ramen simply because it’s bursting with flavor!
Hell’s Fire Kimchee Ramen: If you love Kimchee (Korean spicy cabbage) then you are sure to love this ramen. If you are weary of spicy foods then you will most assuredly hate this ramen and blame me for your burnt tongue. Although you can order this ramen with varying degrees of spice it will still be somewhat spicy to the uninitiated. Besides the fiery spice of this ramen there are two things I specifically love about it. The incredibly tender, smokey, and flavorful pieces of roast pork and the hard boiled egg. The pork and the egg both absorb a lot of rich flavor from the broth. I really love this ramen on days when I’m sick with a cold. The warm spicy liquid soothes your throat and definitely relieves a stuffed nose.
Naruto Ramen is a wonderful little cozy spot that serves up some of the tastiest ramen as well as other Japanese treats. The ramens are full of flavor and large in size. One ramen alone is like having an entire meal! I have often wondered how some people can put away an entire bowl of ramen with several mugs of Sapporo beer. More power to them! If you’re looking for a delicious Japanese comfort food then look no further! Throw out your entire stock of Cup O Noodles and head on over to Naruto Ramen for the real deal!
230 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(At President St)
We are back to where it all began! Dizzy’s! My first ever post and review at a time when my photography skills were still just in their infancy. I figured I should return once again to one of my favorite brunch spots to try something new and to post some better photographs of Dizzy’s delicious comfort foods.
Buttermilk Biscuit and Sausage Gravy: Thick, rich, creamy, and peppery goodness is one way to describe this gravy. With an abundant amount of sausage bits, this gravy on its own just hits the spot! It’s so good that you almost forget the fact that you also have this wonderful warm and buttery buttermilk biscuit to go along with the gravy, not to mention the fact that we also threw in a nice little sunny side up egg in there as well. You know how much I love combining different things on my plate so I won’t have to tell you twice how good that biscuit becomes once it’s smothered in that amazing gravy and topped off with a little of that golden egg yolk. Do yourself a favor and have the Buttermilk Biscuit and Sausage Gravy at Dizzy’s. You will not regret it!
Otis Sandwich: I’m always in search of some kind of new and tasty breakfast sandwich so when I spotted the Otis I knew I had to try it. The fact that this was a somewhat healthy sandwich persuaded me even further to give it a shot. Breaking down this sandwich you’ve got a spinach wrap filled with egg whites, veggie sausage, avocado, and pepper jack cheese. I am always a little hesitant when it comes veggie sausage because some try too hard to imitate their meat counterpart and end up tasting synthetic and with an odd texture. These veggie sausages were just fantastic and full of flavor! If I didn’t know any better I would probably think these were meat sausages. With the light spicy kick of the pepper jack cheese combined with the creamy avocado, you practically forget that somewhere hidden underneath all of that are those boring healthy egg whites. Not only was the Otis very tasty but it’s actually quite healthy and I’m pretty sure it would still be delicious if you decided to be even healthier by skipping on the cheese.
I’m really glad to see that Dizzy’s is thriving at their second location but then again I am not surprised since the original Dizzy’s is always packed and packed for a good reason. Although I prefer their brunch slightly more than their dinners, the food at Dizzy’s has always sent me home with a very full and satisfied belly.
446 Dean St, Brooklyn 11217
(Btwn 5th & Flatbush Ave)
I have to admit I was pretty upset when my beloved Taro Sushi decided to move from its uniquely charming yet cramped space on Dean Street but that’s a whole other story. I was left wondering for many months as to who or what would takeover the old location of Taro. Months later there was finally some news. Apparently a new “authentic” Italian spot was coming to the hood named “Va Beh’” which loosely translates from Italian to mean “It’s all good.”. My question was “Just how good is all good?”.
Fried Eggplant: Simple, good, and tasty but then again what isn’t good that’s fried!
Carciofi e Cannelini: Really great crusty and chewy bread topped with artichokes and Cannellini beans. The mildly sweet artichokes were really good especially with the slightly nutty taste of the Cannellini beans. I really liked the fact that this was a large crostini. Usually when I order crostini, it’s about the size of two bites but this was definitely a generous serving.
Spinaci Tomato e Pancetta: I really enjoyed this salad. The spinach was very fresh as were the red peppers.You also had your hard boiled egg, sweet onions, and most notably the pancetta. Pancetta is what you might think of as being Italian bacon and we already know that bacon makes everything so much better. The flavor combination of egg, pancetta, and sweet onions was excellent but what really took hold of me was the dressing. I detected a hint of anchovy in the wonderful dressing and I just love anchovies on anything and everything. Overall a very refreshing salad with various textures and flavors consisting of sweet, salty, and savory.
Red Snapper Crostino: Once again a very generous portion but I have one gripe about this appetizer. It would have been great but I thought the fish was overly salty. The bread obviously helped to subdue the saltiness but a lot of the natural fish flavor was lost to the salt.
Roasted Zucchini: If you love zucchini then you will love it even more roasted. Even more sweet once roasted in some olive oil.
Orata al Forno: This is where things started heading drastically downhill. When this oven baked fish arrived I could not help but detect the distinct aroma of a “not so fresh” fish. Most people know how much I love fish and how often I bust people’s chops when they want a fish that’s not too “fishy”. Many of my friends find that the majority of my fish consumption is usually too fishy however this fish just didn’t smell right and this is coming from a person who will eat some foul smelling stuff! I was not sure if it was the entire fish or perhaps just the head or maybe the innards were not properly cleaned out. I’m sure you will not be surprised to learn that smell alone was not enough to deter me from trying that fish. I took a few bites of the fish and the taste was perfectly fine but it was pretty bland to say the least. The only place I could detect some mild flavor was on the skin which was probably salted and basted in olive oil. For a whole fish and for the price that was charged ($22) I was sorely disappointed. I love a good whole fish and I have consumed many great ones at other places but unfortunately I cannot recommend the whole fish at Va Beh.
Pollo con Endive: To be perfectly honest, I just didn’t understand what they were trying to convey with this entree. The dish was pretty simple and that’s perfectly fine but in the end it was just a very average piece of grilled chicken. Although it was very thin and tender, it was charred in many places. Many bites consisted of a pretty bitter taste from the charred meat. And speaking of bitter! This part completely baffled me! The chicken was covered with a huge pile of endives and I am talking about ridiculously bitter endives! How in the wold could this possibly be a tasty combination I ask?! I had no choice but to completely sweep away the bitter endives and enjoy the non-charred parts of the chicken. When the waiter initially described this dish it sounded very enticing however I will definitely not be recommending or even ordering this entree again.
Tiramisu: As always, I like to give a restaurant a final shot to make up for a rather disappointing meal. Dessert was going to be my last ditch effort. I’m very glad to say that the Tiramisu was excellent. Very rich and very creamy, this Tiramisu had a wonderful pronounced flavor of espresso. I need that huge dose of sugar in order to get over that insane bitterness from the chicken.
I am a bit confused here. The appetizers were very good but the main entrees were a complete letdown. I’m not really sure of the verdict regarding Va Beh. I have read many raving reviews about it and recently several friends were kind enough to share their positive experience with me. There is definitely a large number of positive reviews! After some thought I realized that all of these reviews had one particular thing in common. It was pasta! Everyone was praising the pasta! Clearly I have to return to Va Beh and try their pasta. It’s the only fair way to make a conclusive decision I think. To be continued…..
369 7th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(Btwn 11th & 12th St)
I remember the news last Fall when I heard that finally there would be a place in Park Slope where one could indulge in Korean-style fried chicken. For those of you who have never had Korean fried chicken, I implore you to immediately drop your Lipitor, leave your jobs, mail your kids to Space Camp, and make your way, immediately if not sooner, to the nearest Bon Chon restaurant because you haven’t had fried chicken until you’ve had Korean fried chicken! Perfectly crisp chicken deep fried with various spices and seasonings (it has to be crack) to amazingly non-greasy perfection! Yes it’s really that good but let me not stray from the objective here. At first there were very few details regarding this new restaurant. Initially, all I knew was that the chef and owner was a popular contestant on Top Chef and that it was going to be an Asian-American fusion restaurant. By now you may probably already know that I rarely get excited by celebrity chefs and celebrities opening their own restaurants because in the end it’s all about food, not the celebrity status! After two weeks of being open I recall us finally making our way over to Talde. They did not take reservations and I was already dreading the long wait that I had read about. Sure enough once we got there our waiting time was about two hours but you know something, it was well worth it! We really did have a very tasty and enjoyable dinner. Now this was last Winter and I haven’t been back to Talde ever since but this weekend it was time to see if their brunch was as good as their dinner! We got seated immediately. Surely that was a sign of good things to come.
Bloody Mary: A great brunch should always start with a great Bloody Mary unless of course you completely despise Bloody Marys in which case you may proceed to next paragraph. If you’re still reading then you need to know that Talde makes an excellent Bloody Mary! Boldly spicy, this Bloody Mary not only has a wonderful kick to it but there is a hint of something slightly briny in it as well. Perhaps it’s from the pickled ginger which sat on the surface of the drink itself or perhaps it is some other secret ingredient since the menu indicated that the Bloody Mary was an “Asian inspired house made recipe.”. Talde’s Bloody Mary has moved into my Top Three Marys List which consists of Stone Park Cafe, James, and now Talde. My only regret was that I ordered the smaller drink instead of the larger one.
Bellini: Hard to believe but yes I’m about to rave about another drink! Now as most of you probably know a standard Bellini consists of Prosecco with peach puree but Talde’s Bellini gives the typical Bellini a swift kick in the ass! Combining Prosecco, real mango, passion fruit, raspberry, and orange juices, this Bellini is one of a kind delicious and refreshing! A perfect nectar of sweet and tart. Oddly enough I noticed an aftertaste of what seemed to resemble grapefruit even though no grapefruit was used. After you finish off a couple of large Bloody Mary’s, go for the Bellini.
Chilaquiles: A traditional and popular Mexican dish, Chilaquiles are basically quartered corn tortillas which are lightly fried. Red or green salsa is then poured over the tortillas. This dish may be served with an egg as well as some chicken. Talde adds it’s own element of fusion by incorporating tofu but not just any tofu, BBQ tofu! I found the tofu to be to my favorite part of this dish. The tofu has a unique smokey flavor which slightly reminded me of Gouda. The red salsa was good but I found it a bit too tart however that was easily remedied by the fried tortilla and some of that wonderful oozing egg yolk. You get wonderful texture contrasts from the crunchy tortilla to the brittle but soft tofu and when you add that lovely egg yolk ,life for that brief single moment, becomes slightly better.
Lobster Bao: Picture your typical Maine lobster roll but forget about that New England hot dog roll and think spicy mayo. That’s Talde’s Lobster Bao! Big chunks of fresh and sweet lobster combined in a really delicious and spicy chile mayo, all piled into a folded, soft and slightly chewy, bun which you typically see used in Asian steamed porn buns. For a shellfish lover such as myself, this was a great twist on the standard New England lobster roll. The only problem is that usually just one is not enough.
Korean Chicken Wings & Waffles: Chicken and waffles! A huge THANK YOU goes out to the Soul Food gods for this fabulous invention! What a fantastic combination of sweet and savory but wait till you hear what Talde does with an already amazing dish! Earlier on you may remember me raving about Korean fried chicken. Having had dinner at Talde, I already knew that their Korean fried chicken was great but this time it was just going to be wings and with something sweet involved. There are many places that make great tasting wings but no so many that perfected the art of perfect crispiness. Besides the wonderfully sweet and spicy flavor of these wings, it is that amazing crunch that shines through above all else! You would think that wings smothered in such a such would lose their crispiness but not here! I was enjoying these wings so much that I had completely forgotten about the waffle! I thought the flavor extravaganza began and ended with the wings but man was I totally wrong. The lightly sweet waffle was slightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It was wonderful, especially with some of that creamy rich butter that rested on top of it but then I applied some syrup. It was then that I experienced a moment of sheer bliss. The syrup took these waffles to the OMG level! This wasn’t your typical Maple syrup. This was coconut brown butter heavenly goodness. It had just the right amount of sweetness to it. Not only that but the brown butter and coconut gave it “one of a kind flavor”. At this point the only logical thing to do was to try the chicken wings with the syrup. After all, fried chicken and honey were meant for each other so why not give this a shot! That was the best decision I had made that afternoon. The wings on their own are scrumptious but with some of that syrup on them……..WOW! Korean Fried chicken: IT’S A MUST HAVE!
Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Fried Rice: The kitchen was only moment away from closing and I wanted to try just one more dish. We all love fried rice but fried rice with egg, cheese, and sausage?! It had to be done! We placed our final order right before kitchen called it a day. The fried rice was very good. Soft, fluffy, and full of flavor with one exception. I simply could not detect any hint of cheese in this rice. The fried rice was still one of the best I’ve had but I’m positive that it could have been even better if perhaps more cheese was used or if a sharper cheese was used. However, my friend did something brilliant. He applied some of that fabulous syrup from the waffles onto the rice. The rest was rice history! Need I say more?
Brunch at Talde was great! Chef Dale Talde puts a new spin of some very classic American and Asian dishes. Two culinary backgrounds were not only harmoniously combined but combined in such a way that will leave an impression in your mind and make you want to come back for more. We walked out stuffed and more importantly we walked out happy. We will most certainly be back again for dinner but unlike last time, I will not only be armed with my hunger but with my camera as well. In the meantime I am anxiously awaiting the grand opening of Pork Slope, the latest venture from the Talde team. Check out Pork Slope!
The V Spot
156 5th Ave, Brooklyn NY11217
(Btwn Douglass & Degraw St)
People are often surprised to hear that I really enjoy good vegetarian/vegan cuisine every now and then. After a couple of rich meals, such as the ones you have seen here on this blog, I definitely prefer to eat something a little less fatty and a lot more healthy. I am by no means a vegetarian and will never be one but for all of you carnivores out there, believe it or not but vegetarian food can not only be healthy but quite tasty as well. I think the key to really enjoying vegetarian fare is not to go in expecting something to feel and taste exactly like meat. Although many places, including The V Spot, do an amazing job of imitating the textures and flavors of certain meats, a picky eater would more than likely pick up on the subtle differences. For years I used to think that vegetarian bacon was not only impossible but ridiculous, that is until I actually tried some. I was pretty amazed!
Maduros: Typically maduros are ripe sweet plantains that are fried in large amounts of oil or butter. Sometimes sugar is also added to increase caramelization and sweetness. Although they can be very delicious and make a great side dish to many Latin American meals, they are not something I would recommend if you just came out of a triple bypass. On that note, I am quite certain that the maduros at The V Spot are a lot more healthier. Once we got our order I immediately noticed that these maduros were not oily or greasy at all. Perhaps they were baked? The maduros on their own were sweet and delicious however I did miss that sweet crispy crust from a typically fried maduro. What really made these maduros stand out was the coconut curry sauce. You get a really unique flavor from the combined sweetness of the maduros, the coconut, and the curry. If it was up to me, I would serve this sauce with maduros everywhere!
Buffalo Chicken: Ok so maybe they didn’t look very much like buffalo wings. Actually, when we were served this appetizer it looked more like mini chicken drumsticks. Now I cannot say with certainty what The V Spot used to make this buffalo chicken but usually seitan or tempeh is involved when it comes to faux chicken. The chicken had a great crispy crust and you would be surprised about the texture because it came pretty damn close to actual chicken. If you close your eyes you could probably believe it’s chicken except for the slight chewiness. I always like to try something initially without any sauce to get an idea of its true flavor and this buffalo chicken was really flavorful even without the buffalo sauce. The buffalo sauce added a nice amount of spice and tasted like your typical buffalo sauce. I then proceeded to try the chicken with the “blue cheese” dip. Clearly it’s not real blue cheese but the flavor definitely comes pretty close to the real thing. I just wish the dip was thicker and creamy because it seemed somewhat watery. In any case, the buffalo chicken made a great appetizer without having the actual guilt from consuming a bucket of real chicken wings!
Sesame Seitan: I guess if I were to compare this dish to something then I would probably say it resembled beef teriyaki. The sauteed seitan had a great texture! It was tender and in my mind I immediately associated it with beef. The onions, broccoli, and scallions were crisp and flavorful. Overall this dish was very flavorful but at the same time I thought that it was extremely too sweet. That sweetness came from the agave sesame sauce. Luckily the soft and fluffy quinoa helped in reduce the sweetness but I would have preferred it if they went easy on the agave sauce. The sweetness seemed to dominate this dish.
V Spot Burrito: This is one of my personal favorites at The V Spot because it so closely resembles an authentic burrito. You have your guacamole, brown rice, black beans, vegan sour cream, and salsa but the real magical ingredient is the vegan carne molida. Carne molida translates to “ground meat” which is usually beef or pork. Obviously The V Spot did not harm any animals in the making of this burrito but I was really impressed over how close their vegan carne molida resembled actual ground beef, both in texture and in taste. The burrito was very flavorful but if you want even more flavor then order it with some vegan cheese!
Not all vegetarian restaurants are created equally! Often times people will think that just because a restaurant is vegetarian that it must be healthy. Not true! Some places will use artificial ingredients and all sorts of other strange cosmic elements in order to enhance the flavors of their food. Other places may decide to use large amount of sugar, salt, or MSG. Have you ever taken a look at the ingredient list on some of those vegetarian burgers or vegetarian bacon?! You’ll need a Ph.D in chemistry in order to figure out what you just ate. Not so at The V Spot! The V Spot takes great pride in offering its customers the most freshest or organic ingredients without any kind of artificial fillers or flavor enhancers. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative after a weekend of mass gluttony or you simply want to wet your feet in vegetarian cuisine then you should definitely give The V Spot a try! It’s not very often that one can walk away feeling good after scarfing down some buffalo chicken and a burrito.
P.S. Try their breakfast. I love their vegan pancakes!
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!
370 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(Btwn 5th & 6th St)
If I had a nickel for every time I walked by this place and said to myself “This place looks gorgeous! I really need to eat here one day soon.” then I would probably have $342 in my pocket. There are times when you can walk by a restaurant and simply stop in your tracks to gaze at its beauty. You may know nothing about what type of cuisine they serve, you may not even know if the food is any good but the atmosphere alone compels you to step inside. This was exactly how I felt about Juventino after we finally managed to set foot inside. I knew nothing of their food and prior to going there I did not scour the internet for any kind of info. We entered Juventino completely blind and not knowing what to expect and sometimes that can truly be rewarding. My only question was “Will their food be as good as the place looks?”.
Roasted Garlic: As opposed to the usual bread & butter one might expect, we were pleasantly surprised to receive this instead. A roasted garlic bulb, some bread crisps, and a small plate of butter with what appeared to be sage leaves on top. I love garlic in any which way shape or form but there’s something really delicious about fresh roasted garlic. It was sweet and buttery and worked so well with the crisps. Speaking of butter, I had almost forgotten about the small plate of butter. This was no ordinary butter! Incredibly creamy and smooth, this butter was sweetened with what I thought to be nutmeg. Combine the butter, the garlic, and the crisps and you have one delicious appetizer. I could easily have eaten that entire plate of butter on my own and those sage leaves I had mentioned earlier, they were fantastic!
Oysters: I was immediately impressed with the wonderful selection of oysters on Juventino’s menu. Now I am no oyster snob and I do not pretend to know what every single oyster out there tastes like which is why it is always so pleasant to see an oyster menu that has descriptions of each type. I love all kinds of oysters but I will usually lean toward the sweeter variety. I ordered 3 Kumomotos and 3 Hama Hamas. The oysters were incredibly fresh and were served with a wonderful onion and pepper vinaigrette sauce which was definitely a very nice change to the usual cocktail sauce usually served with oysters. The oysters were fantastic and delicious! I can definitely see myself returning for some oysters and drinks at Juventino.
Bouquet Salad: Quite frankly this could have been a better salad if it was not for 2 problems. Although the vinaigrette dressing was light and tasty, the crispy capers were a major distraction because to put it simply they were like like little balls of salt. Regular capers would have been just fine in my opinion or at least capers without an entire day’s worth of sodium content. Secondly, this salad was leafy and when I say leafy I mean you could probably use these leaves to build a small rain shelter. A machete, instead of a knife, might have proven to be more useful in attempting to eat this. I usually do not prefer my vegetation to be jungle-sized. Unfortunately this salad got a definite thumbs down.
Australian Lamb: After we finally finished our battle with the overgrown salad, this magnificent piece of meat arrived! A beautiful, juicy, and perfectly cooked- medium rack of lamb. The lamb was incredibly tender in the middle while lightly crisp on the outside. As most meat eaters already know, it takes nothing more than just salt & pepper to season a high quality piece of meat and achieve great flavor. Now I am not some organic fanatic or anything remotely like that however I always notice a difference in taste when eating organic meats. This lamb was very fresh and although I cannot really describe it, the flavor of meat is so much better when it’s not injected with more steroids than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Should the natural flavor of the lamb not be enough for your taste buds then one application of the sauce, in which the lamb was served, will most definitely take you to new heights. A sweet and rich sauce which somewhat reminded me of the sauce on the Filet For Two at Flatbush Farm as mentioned in my last posting. The accompanying Israeli couscous was excellent as well. I have always enjoyed it so much more than regular couscous mostly because of the shape and the slightly chewy texture. The slightly bitter greens were also a nice contrast to the sweetness of the sauce. Overall it was probably one of the best lamb dishes I’ve had in a long time. Don’t be shy and make sure you take each lamb chop into your hands and get every last morsel off of it!
Roasted Free Range Chicken: I am not usually very excited whenever I see roasted chicken on a menu. Often times I have found it to be a very boring dish with many places serving it quite dry and with hardly any flavor. However lately I have had several encounters with really delicious roasted chicken and Juventino is definitely going on that list. First of all the presentation is quite lovely to say the least. A piece of roasted chicken laying on top of what one might even call, from a distance, sushi rolls. Fear not because it’s definitely not sushi but additional chicken that reminded me a little of chicken rollatini. The chicken was prepared in a very interesting style called sous vide. This cooking technique involves placing the seasonsed chicken into a vacuum sealed plastic pouch and cooking it slowly at low temperatures. The result was a piece of chicken that was succulent and juicy. The flavor and seasonings had penetrated the meat completely so each bite was tender and delicious but the flavor definitely did not end there because accompanying this bird was a white truffle honey sauce. Lightly sweet and simply OMG! The roasted veggies were divine in that sauce as well. It was so good that I even had to dip a piece of my lamb into it. So much for standard boring roasted chicken! Fantastic and highly recommended.
Creme Brulee: I used to be a creme brulee fanatic many years ago. Eventually I had eaten so much of it that I got bored with it and eventually stopped ordering it altogether but once in a while I will give another go. I have to say that this was an above average creme brulee. I don’t like creme brulee that’s served at room temperature or even cool. It should be served hot to warm and it should have a smooth, creamy, and very rich consistency. This creme brulee definitely met all of that criteria with flying colors. It was rich and buttery goodness that I would easily recommend to any fan of creme brulee.
Black Sesame Bar with Dark Chocolate: From black sesame bubble tea to halva, I really enjoyed sesame based desserts. They are usually dense and very sweet so it’s no wonder I was intrigued by the dessert offering at Juventino. The Black Sesame Bar has a nice brownie-like consistency. It was sweet but not as sweet as other sesame desserts I have had before. A bit of orange marmalade on top adds a nice little bittersweet tang. What really makes it yummy is when you add some of that creamy chocolate to it. The combination is delicious even though I am not a fan of dark chocolate.
I am so glad that I finally made my way to Juventino! It’s a beautiful space that reminds me of some restaurants in Cape Cod. Although we sat inside because it was a blistering hot evening, Juventino has a wonderful outdoor space which is just as beautiful as the inside area. The food (minus the crazy salad) was excellent. The large oyster selection was an added bonus as well. There is no doubt in my mind that I will return for another dinner or perhaps try their brunch. If nothing else go to Juventino, sit outside, have many oysters, and have many drinks.
76 St Mark’s Ave, Brooklyn 11217
(At Flatbush Ave)
If one day you should ever be feeling particularly carnivorous then I highly suggest you make a stop at Flatbush Farm. Not only will you find some of the most delicious, freshest, and organic meats but you will also find a restaurant with one of the most pleasant and beautiful outdoor seating areas. I always feel like I am on vacation somewhere each time I dine outside at Flatbush Farm. On this occasion I had one particular meal in mind. It was definitely a good thing that my friends and I were starving!
Oysters: Flatbush Farm has a great daily selection of oysters. We started off with half a dozen fresh Malpeque oysters. Why only half a dozen? Because we needed room for what was to come next! These oysters were definitely a nice start. Sweet and slightly briney, perfect with a pint of some cold beer.
Filet For Two: This should not even be called a meal but instead it should be called a feast! To this day I am still puzzled as to why this magnificent entree is called Filet For Two because clearly it can easily feed 3 people. Not only is this a feast for your stomach but it is a feast for your eyes because when you see this thing being set down at your table you will need a moment of pause to take it all in visually! 16 oz of some of the most beautifully sliced filet mignon laying on top of a bed of short rib kale ragout. This ragout is just outstanding! Very rich and just exploding with flavor, it is probably one of the best ragouts I have ever had. Besides the kale, you will also find find additional veggies such as fava beans, corn, and something called a fiddlehead. Fiddleheads are the young coiled fronds of the fern plant and not only are they really tasty but they are full of good stuff such as Omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A and C. Last but not least is the incredible bone marrow that you will find inside 2 very large split bones. It’s hard to know where to begin describing this sensational dish. The filet mignon simply melts in your mouth and is perfectly seasoned on its own. Should that not be enough flavor for you then dip it in the ragout for a taste of meat heaven! Once you finish off the filet you can move on to the short rib which is oh so tender and delicious! Somewhere during that time you should be scooping out some of that buttery bone marrow and spreading it across one of the crispy flatbreads. Combine some bone marrow and short rib for something really amazing. This meal is absolute meat indulgence. Every last bite of it is pure pleasure. I highly recommend this dish to any meat lover but be warned, it’s a huge feast so you better come hungry!
I can go on talking about the Filet For Two for hours and hours but that might take away from the many other fantastic entrees at Flatbush Farm such as their incredible pork chop or their fabulous duck or their daily steaks. Also be sure to try their mussels because they are one of the best I’ve ever had. One thing I do find a tiny bit disappointing is that the desserts at Flatbush Farm are somewhat underwhelming. I’ve tried them numerous times and each time they were just ok but the coffee is definitely great. If you have a craving for some fresh organic meats as well as other tasty tidbits then head over to Flatbush Farm immediately if not sooner! Trust me, you will not regret it.
437 7th Avenue at Lincoln Place
New York, NY 11215
For over a year the corner of Lincoln Pl. and 7th Ave has been vacant. Although I had never frequented the former establishment, Ozzie’s Coffee, I would always walk by and admire the beautiful antique interior. You know my love for anything old school Brooklyn and NYC. I’ve heard that the corner was once occupied by a pharmacy almost 100 years ago and Ozzie’s maintained much of the the look and feel of the old pharmacy. Cafe Dada opened several days ago and although they did a full interior renovation, I was very happy to see that they left some of the beautiful antique fixtures from the now long gone pharmacy. What is Cafe Dada? It’s French-Hungarian food in Park Slope of course!
Croque Monsieur: The Croque Monsieur is basically a ham & cheese sandwich that you will find in almost any French cafe nut it is so much more than just your average ham & cheese sandwich. It is also one of one my favorite things to eat if I’m having a French brunch. A high quality bread is essential and Cafe Dada sure does have some wonderful bread with the perfect amount of chewiness from the crust followed by a softer center. Typically the bread is fried with some butter until it’s golden brown. Gruyere cheese is then applied to the bread and allowed to melt right into the bread. The sandwich is finally finished off with some ham and Bechamel sauce which is a white sauce created by adding milk to a mixture of butter and flour. Clearly if you’re on the brink of arteriosclerosis I would not recommend this sandwich! There are countless ways this sandwich can be made and I am not sure of the method Cafe Dada uses so my apologies to Cafe Dada if they prepare it differently. No matter the method, Cafe Dada makes a great Croque Monsieur. The sweet nuttiness of the Gruyere melted into that fabulous chewy and slightly crunchy fresh bread on its own is already delicious but then you’re hit with the lovely flavor of that fresh ham and creamy Bechamel sauce! The sandwich is delicious and definitely filling. I actually prefer this sandwich with a poached egg on top which is also know as the Croque Madame but I do not know if Cafe Dada can do this. I will inquire the next time I go! I would have also preferred the cheese to be slightly burned and crispy but that’s just a personal preference. A great Croque Monsieur otherwise!
Budapest Sandwich: Since we had already tried something from the French selection it was time to sample something Hungarian next. We went with the Budapest Sandwich. Hungarian salami, garlic butter, hard boiled egg, tomato, and red bell pepper on a baguette. This sandwich reminded me a little of my childhood because I recall eating similar salami sandwiches when I was still living in Belarus as a boy and even once we arrived here in the U.S. in 1980. Overall the sandwich was good but I think it could be great after 2 small changes. I have to say that eating a baguette sandwich is exhausting work. Yes the bread is fresh and tasty but I simply think it’s just too hard and too tough for a sandwich with so many ingredients. Once the numbness in my jaw subsided, I found myself having to reinsert ingredients back into the sandwich because they constantly kept falling out. Secondly, that delicious salami was heavily subdued by so much bread and the other ingredients. Please add more salami because it was great salami!
French Onion Soup: And back to French cuisine we go! One of the best French Onion soups I’ve had in a long time. Wonderful and sweet caramelized onions in a very flavorful stock. Often times I find the stock to be extremely salty but this was right on the money. Also instead of the usual croutons, there was a slice of bread soaking with the onions and broth. Covering all of that goodness was some of that Gruyere we had in the Croque Monsieur. The French Onion soup definitely gets a thumbs up from me.
Eggplant & Garlic Spread: As you know it is quite rare that I mention anything regarding service but I have to say the service was great especially when we were treated with an unexpected tasty surprise! We were asked if we wanted to sample their Eggplant & Garlic spread which was currently not on their menu. Mashed up eggplant with bits of garlic and mayonnaise on a slice of their wonderful country bread. It reminded me a little of Baba ghanoush if you subtract the mayo. Very tasty!
White Chocolate Passion Fruit: As usual no good meal is complete without some good dessert. Cafe Dada has a wide selection of desserts but I decided to go with the White Chocolate Passion Fruit, mostly because I love white chocolate. Great sweetness from the white chocolate, a nice tartness from the passion fruit, and a rich and smooth custard. A rich and sweet dessert. Just the way I like it! I would definitely get this again.
Latte: Wow that was a pretty awesome latte! I do not need to say much more except that I kept thinking there was some mystery ingredient added to the coffee. Perhaps crack?
I think this is a great start for Cafe Dada. I enjoyed a lot of what I tasted, minus the sore jaw from the sandwich. The food is rich and tasty so you better toss that diet out the window. I am very curious to return for dinner and try out some more of their food. Cafe Dada is also a great place to just sit down while having one of their delicious lattes with some dessert.
175 7th Ave, Brooklyn 11215
(Btwn 1st & 2nd St)
I remember when I first tried Sweet Melissa over in Carroll Gardens. It was right next to one of my favorite sushi spots, Osaka. It’s usually quite rare to find good dessert in a sushi spot other than the typical green tea ice cream so going next door to Sweet Melissa’s was the obvious thing to do if you wanted some serious desserts. That was many years ago and I believe that the Carroll Gardens location is now closed. Luckily all was not lost as there was a second location in good ‘ol Park Slope. Over the years, Sweet Melissa has greatly expanded their menu beyond just the dessert arena. It was time to see if their savory food was as good as their desserts.
Sour Cherry & Almond Granola: A very nicely toasted granola with a great crunch. It consisted of whole almonds, dried sour cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and of course yogurt. I think these were all wonderful ingredients but at the same time I think the overall flavor was mostly tart in what was an already tart yogurt. In my opinion, some raisins or perhaps some honey would have balanced out the tartness and added some light sweetness. You may enjoy this dish if you don’t mind the sourness but personally I would have preferred it to be sweeter.
The Parisian: This was not your everyday ham & cheese sandwich. There were strips of honey baked ham, Camembert cheese (very similar to Brie), slices of green apple, and some virgin olive oil all packed between two slices of focaccia bread. Many contrasting flavors for sure. From the light sweetness of the ham to the light moldy taste of the Camembert. The green apple adds a wonderful unexpected crunch and its tartness contrasts the sweetness of the ham, cheese, and focaccia. A tasty sandwich for sure. Did I mention that there’s a green salad on the side? Minor details.
Sweet Melissa has some pretty excellent desserts. You should definitely give their bread pudding a try. Their coffee is pretty good too. The Parisian was a delicious sandwich so I think I will definitely try some other items from their brunch menu when I’m not there stuffing my face full of bread pudding.
SkyIce Sweet & Savory
63 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11217
(At St Marks Ave)
The first time I walked by Sky Ice I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it. I took a glance inside and from what I gathered it was an ice cream/dessert place. Having walked by it another time, I saw a blackboard on the street that indicated they were serving savory Thai dishes as well. Clearly Sky Ice was not just a dessert spot. Last week I managed to convince a couple of my friends to sample this place with me. What followed was a mixed bag of reactions.
Diced Beef: To be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember the name of this dish and that’s ok because as nice as it may have looked, it was totally lackluster. The beef was somewhat dry and almost bland to the taste. Furthermore, the beef was basically served at room temperature. I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be served or if it was just sitting there waiting to be picked up by the waitress. Either way I think it should have been served hot. The accompanying rice was no better. Slightly dry but overall insanely overloaded with tumeric or cumin (I always confuse the two). The only thing that slightly gave any flavor to the beef was the dipping sauce which was a tad tart. I think this dish may have been a special since I cannot seem to locate it on their regular menu. Thumbs down and not recommended!
Salmon Chu Chee: I thought we were in some serious trouble after that tasteless beef. Luckily, it was salmon to the rescue! Cubed chunks of salmon in a sweet and spicy curry sauce with broccoli and a side of white rice. The salmon was prepared well. Moist, tender and not overcooked. The curry was quite flavorful with a rich sweetness as well a nice spicy kick. I can’t say that this dish was spectacular but it was definitely good and a huge improvement after that beef. It made me believe that perhaps they do serve food with flavor.
Chicken Wings: Your standard sweet and spicy wings. Pretty good but nothing to rave about either. Would have been nice if they were crispier as well.
Ice Cream: I had heard from a friend of mine some time ago that SkyIce has amazing ice cream. After the beef, salmon, and wings we weren’t quite sure if we should attempt something else but I managed to convince my friends that SkyIce is known to have very good ice cream. Reluctantly they agreed to give it a whirl as I went up to the counter to order the ice cream. One of my favorite ice cream flavors has always been coffee so when I saw Thai Coffee ice cream I knew I had to have it. I also needed to try something new and unique as well and when I spotted Black Sesame Seaweed my curiosity got the best of me. I got one scoop of Thai Coffee and one scoop of Black Sesame Seaweed. That coffee ice cream was delicious! A very rich and strong coffee flavor with a hint of something unique in it. Now it was time for Black Sesame Seaweed. I honestly did not know what to expect from it but I was preparing for the worse. I took a spoonful into my mouth and my tongue was immediately attacked by a wave of saltiness. Just as I was preparing to say “This is nothing but salt!”, what followed was a fantastic rush of sweetness from the black sesame! When the two flavors met it was definitely OMG fantastic! If you try nothing else at SkyIce then you must try the Black Sesame Seaweed ice cream. It may sound awful but it’s pretty awesome. I’ve been seriously craving it lately!
I have a feeling that SkyIce really does have some hidden gems. The salmon was definitely a hint in the right direction. I feel compelled to come back and try some more of their food again. Something inside is just telling me that they really do have some delicious food and I need to find out what it is. Their food selection seems quite extensive and I only mention that because of their very confusing menu situation. I think I must have looked at possibly 3 or 4 different menus there. They really need to consolidate them! However, should their food turn out to be meh, I will still return for some more of that amazing ice cream!
620 Vanderbilt Ave
(between St Marks Ave & Bergen St)
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Another supporter of locally grown food and ingredients is Milk Bar. Owned by a couple of Australians, Milk Bar has been one of my favorite brunch spots in the Prospect Heights/Park Slope area ever since my friend introduced it to me a couple of years ago. So here’s what chowed down on at Milk Bar!
Full Eggs with avocado: I love this dish so much that I just had to post multiple snapshots of this masterpiece! Featuring two of my favorite things, poached eggs and avocado, this brunch plate will not disappoint. Two thick cut pieces of toasted bread with Gruyere cheese, smoked ham, poached eggs, avocado, and tomato. Man this thing is good! What I found really interesting was the smokiness of the ham. When I took a bite of that ham combined with the Gruyere cheese the combination had me thinking that I was eating Gouda. As usual make sure you break those wonderfully poached eggs and let the yoke run over everything. You’ll want the bread to soak up some of that yolk! And speaking of bread, the bread has a fantastic crunch while being soft in the middle. It slightly softens with the runny yolk on it but that’s definitely a good thing. You will also notice that this dish is pretty large. I had no problems devouring the entire thing but just in case you’re not a glutton of my nature you may choose a half order instead. A very very fulfilling brunch with textures from crunch to creamy and flavors that will simply make you go Mmmmmmmm!
Lamb Sandwich: Man what happened?! After something as phenomenal as the Full Eggs we thought we were definitely on a roll but it seems our food ecstasy ended with the Lamb Sandwich. We saw someone nearby eating this thing and let me tell you that by its looks it seemed great. You know that feeling when something just looks so good even though you have no idea how it really tastes so you decide to order it anyway? Well that’s exactly what we did. From the sound of it, I thought it would be a winner. Shredded lamb meat with aioli sauce on a brioche bun. Well I hate to say it but after my first bite my immediate reaction was: this lamb is not only dry but sorely lacking in the flavor department. I think if perhaps there was some more of that aioli sauce in there then this sandwich might have been salvaged.
Milk Bar uses some of the finest and freshest ingredients and that is reflected in the taste of their food. Although the Lamb Sandwich was a let down, the Full Eggs are a MUST HAVE! Next time I’d like to sample some of their savory muffins, their meat pie, and their biscuits & gravy. Another one of my favorite perks is freshly squeezed OJ which you can have in a large tall glass. Last but not least is their coffee! Try their Australian Iced Coffee. You’ll love it! The space is rather small but cozy. Try for an outdoor table or just grab a seat at the bar by the window.
440 Bergen St, Brooklyn 11217
(Btwn 5th & Flatbush Ave)
So the last time I was at Melt I was there for dinner with some friends. I recall they were out of several entrees and the items we actually did order took almost an hour to arrive. Now I don’t mind waiting for food especially when I’m at one of my favorite restaurants, such as Melt, but when the food took an hour to arrive and tasted totally meh I did get concerned. Things like that do happen and happen at some of my favorite places. Every place can have a bad day or two and you know something, that’s perfectly fine! As long as it does not become a consistent pattern I will always come back to a place that has great food and Melt really does have great food! People are always in a rush to bash a place. My criteria for any new restaurant I attend is quite simple. I usually go with several friends so that I can maximize the number of different things I can try. If none of those dishes leaves me with a positive impression then yes I will probably bash the place. However, if just one dish makes a really good impression then I will most definitely return to try more. So why am I not talking about the food yet and wasting your time reading a paragraph about bad days at good places? Because Melt is a great spot with some pretty damn good food! On that note, let’s talk about the brunch I had there last weekend!
Fried Chicken Benedict: I have always enjoyed a good Eggs Benedict since I’m a huge fan of the poached egg. I really love it when a place takes a standard dish like Eggs Benedict and adds something special to it. In this instance it was fried chicken. So you’ve got yourself a crisp fried chicken breast with a poached egg on top of it that is smothered in a rich sausage gravy instead of your usual Hollandaise sauce. All that goodness is sitting on top of a nicely toasted English muffin. On the side you’ve got some wonderfully crisp bacon, some home fries with onions, and some fruit as a nice refresher. The best way to eat this is to break the egg and let the yolk flow over everything! So many great flavors attack your palette! From the lovely egg yolk to the crunchy fried chicken with that fabulous gravy. Of course you cannot forget that you have bacon waiting and ready to make this dish even tastier! The home fries were prepared just right and with a good choice to use waxy potatoes. . There is nothing more ridiculous than home fries that are still hard or crisp on the inside. Once you devour everything, the fresh melon and cantaloupe make a sweet finish.
Lobster Benedict: Very similar to the Fried Chicken Benedict with the exception that the gravy is replaced by the standard Hollandaise sauce and the fried chicken is replaced by generous chunks of fresh lobster. You still have your home fries and fruit but alas no bacon. As good as the bacon is, it would probably distract you from the sweetness of that wonderful lobster. I was also glad to see that the lobster was served warm instead of chilled. The lobster was fresh and delicious which made for another fabulous Eggs Benedict dish.
French Toast: Currently I have one French Toast king and that is Frankie’s 457. Their French Toast is divine but an honorable note should still go to Melt for their French Toast. According to the menu, Melt uses Texas Toast which is soaked in Bourbon. Could I taste any Bourbon or know of its actual presence? Not really but the toast was still tasty. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a light sprinkle of confectionery sugar on top. Definitely one of the better French Toasts I’ve had and the fresh strawberries were fantastic.
Melt continues to please with their delicious brunches! I really want to come back again but this time for dinner so that hopefully they can make up for the last disappointing dinner I had there. Go to Melt! It’s good!
88 5th Ave, Brooklyn 11217
(Btwn Warren St & St Marks Pl)
Pure Bistro just recently opened on 5th Ave in Park Slope. I’ve walked by it several times and took a quick peek at their menu. The menu consists of American cuisine with such items as sandwiches, burgers, salads, and various other tasty sounding items. From what I have heard about Pure, it seems that they are targeting healthy eating and natural ingredients which is perfect for a place like Park Slope where residents demand that their cow comes with a resume and their vegetables are grown in volcanic soil from Indonesia. On that note, let’s get to the food!
Guacamole and Organic Tortilla Chips: I worship avocados. They are like the bacon of the vegetarian world. They simply make everything better! It is for this reason that I pay homage to the food gods and the Aztecs for inventing guacamole. However I don’t think there was any kind of Aztec influence in Pure’s guacamole. It had great consistency but it was totally bland. Some lime juice, some salt, and some spice would have definitely made this a great guacamole but unfortunately it was just blah.
Vivente Panini: So after a disappointing start with the guacamole we moved on to the Vivente Panini which essentially consists of grilled chicken, mozzarella, roasted peppers, and pesto. Almost immediately I noticed the toasted bread which looked very nutty and grainy. Let me tell you, the bread at Pure is excellent! It was very fresh, soft, and hearty with a wonderful crunch from the seeds and grains. The chicken was super tender, juicy, and most importantly cut thin. I can’t stand it when a sandwich or a panini has a huge slab of meat shoved in there. The mozzarella was nice and gooey with a nice taste of freshness that can only come from good quality mozarella. The pesto was also very flavorful. It was actually so good that I was thinking of having some extra pesto on the side for dipping purposes. Overall a very tasty panini.
Garlic Skirt: Our food roller coaster continued with skirt steak. After that delicious panini I had high hopes for this steak but as much as I hate to say it our roller coaster started heading downhill. The steak was ordered medium rare. When it arrived we sliced it open and could clearly see it was cooked completely all the way through. I was a little worried but then again as shocking as it sounds I have had some pretty good skirt steaks that were well done. I sliced off a piece for my first bite. The meat was slightly chewy but tender and juicy overall. The real problem was that this steak was either insufficiently seasoned and/or marinaded (if at all). The most basic steak seasoning of salt & pepper would have given this steak some life but this piece of was definitely heavily lacking in the flavor department. The same goes for the bland mashed potatoes and spinach that came with it. Thumbs down!
Pure Burger: Next in line was the burger. Now I was really concerned since we had ordered the skirt steak medium rare and it definitely was not. The burger was ordered medium rare as well. Would it arrive prepared in the same fashion as the steak? Sure enough it was. Now before I give you my 2 cents on this burger, let me tell you what it consisted of. Once again a nice nutty and hearty looking bun, generous amounts of turkey bacon, American cheese, sauteed onions, lettuce, tomato, and finally something called Pure sauce. Did I mention that the burger was not medium rare! After my first bite, the temperature of the burger became completely irrelevant because not only was the beef tender and juicy but it was so flavorful! And that Pure sauce, which I think somewhat resembles Russian dressing, was delicious! The crunch of the turkey bacon with some of the crunch from the nutty bun was great. The sweetness of the sauteed onions when mixed with that Pure sauce was just plain ol yum! After that skirt steak, this burger totally surprised me in the best of ways. In the immortal words of Samuel Jackson: “That is a tasty burger.”.
Clearly we saw that Pure Bistro had some dishes that lacked flavor and were just OK. On the other hand, Pure had some dishes that were just surprisingly delicious! An honorable mention also has to be made to Pure’s iced mint tea and iced coffee. Both of which were refreshing and delicious. There is no doubt that I will be back to try some of Pure’s other selections.