I'm all about eating at home, but I do enjoy a night out once in a while. In this economy it's more like once in a blue moon, which makes it even more important to support the local restaurants you do not want to see close down. Think of it as a small scale stimulus. Here's a shout out to my favorite Park Slope spots that are doing a great job in a terrible market. Hang in there! Send me a comment about a great restaurant near you. It might come up in a Google search, so it is a nice way to show some love.
This is as authentic as it gets in Brooklyn. Not fancy, but good service, a kid's menu, a solid Margarita and old school Coca Cola in large glass bottles with...real sugar!!! The spicy pork tacos, oh man, great eating and the price is RIGHT. Last week my family of four went and the bill was 33 bucks, including the aforementioned Margarita. They deliver, but I like the juke box of Mexican music.
My favorite spot for a proper lunch. For 10 bucks (13 including tax and tip) I like the sushi special which includes a generous roll, 4 different pieces of sushi, salad, soup, and green tea. Their approach is fusion, and the result is a good blend of familiar favorites and nice surprises. For a dollar more you can get a variety of choices in one of those lovely bento boxes. Love that.
Thai Sky 386 5th Avenue near 6th Street, (718) 788-7889
In an attractive setting you can get a multi course Thai lunch with salad and appetizer for 6 dollars. 7 if you add chicken. My favorite? Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken and the Sky Fish Cake. Not exactly low in calories, but wholesome and quite tasty.
Best slice in town, and there are a lot of shops in the hood that offer cheery pies. Consistent and friendly, the only place I call for delivery, they are on speed dial. It is a breakfast standard in my house. Really. Shiraz goes great, but not in the morning.
I have to admit I greeted the opening of the vegetarian/vegan restaurant on the corner of my favorite block in Park Slope with a touch of cynicism and suspicion. You know how us omnivores can get sometimes. After one meal, however, I was converted. Lots of flavor, substance and variety. WiFi during business hours. 10 bucks covers a meal with change to spare for the tip jar. Very green without trying too hard. Nice vibe.
Be a hater all you want, but Starbucks treats tea drinkers with the respect we deserve. I cannot tell you how may tepid cups I've tasted that reek with coffee. Never in Starbucks. The staff here in the Slope is welcoming and very patient.
Brook Vin 381 7th Avenue, near 11th Street, (718)-768-WINE or 9463
Opened by the owners of the wine shop Big Nose Full Body (I still cover shifts from time to time) Brook Vin is smart, tasteful, and friendly. The perfect place to relax in these stressful days. The wine list is expertly chosen with a serious eye toward value, (love the Hopler Pinot Blanc) the cocktails are carefully crafted but not pretentious, and the food? Chef Dave Townsend is rocking it. He creates small plates with talent, care, and a deep understanding of seasonality and sustainability. Thank you. Don't miss the homemade salumi.
In the dark ages of the 1990's, I lived near the one in SoHo, then we moved to Brooklyn which is the NYC equivalent of salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Hallelujah, the restaurant followed us, opening right here on 5th Avenue. How Blue Ribbon combines family friendly with such a grown up and sophisticated atmosphere, I'll never know, but they do. And you cannot beat the mix of folks, Brooklyn in all it's diverse glory. A revolving choice of specials adds variety to their tried and true menu, but I almost always order that same thing anyway: a half chilled lobster and a warm goat cheese salad. I shamelessly eat every single morsel. Also, they offer the best kid's menu in town at an excellent price.
Whether you live in Brooklyn or Oakland, spread the word about your favorite spot with a comment below. Let's get stimulated! Thanks.