Jenny and I moved to Brooklyn because we had friends there, but what really clinched Carroll Gardens for us was the asiago on the cheese plate from Paninoteca — not to mention their panino with hardwood smoked bacon, tomato, red onion mayonnaise and arugula.
I have been saying for years that northwest Brooklyn has the best restaurants in the world, and now New York Magazine agrees with me. Or at least they agree that Brooklyn has developed a whole cultural milieu in the last few years, which they profile in their Brooklyn Style issue, and food plays a big part.
Beyond the classic red-sauce Italian, pizza and delis, and beyond the endless variety of low-cost immigrant eats, Brooklyn has developed a new high style, based on a couple of Manhattan haute cuisine restaurants and ultimately rooted in Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse revolution. New York calls it the New Brooklyn Cuisine, or NBC for short, and lists their top 15 favorite purveyors of the stuff.
The fine Frankies 457 Spuntino, just up the street from us, takes second place. We’ve eaten there a couple of times, but it can be hard to get a table on weekends. At number 5 is The Grocery, where Jenny and I had the tasting menu and agree that it was one of the finest dining experiences of our lives. Convivium Osteria, in Park Slope, takes eighth place for its rustic Italian fare; it’s where I first tried rabbit. And in 12th place is Chestnut, another Smith Street establishment where the food is always fresh and creative.
As for the others, I haven’t tried them. Yet. And the list leaves out plenty of other contenders, like the sophisticated Crave. But it makes its point: these days, Brooklyn is a delicious and even inspiring place to eat.
Update: Brooklyn food is about to get better. According to Curbed, the owners of Fairway say the Red Hook store is all set to open within a week to ten days after city inspectors approve the place. So it’s coming soon! Yay!
Also published on Medium.