September 28, 2009

Buttermilk Channel

Buttermilk Channel is a classy joint, so I made a classy pose. Shut up, I'm working on it.

But seriously, first off, it's well decorated. The navy exterior, the interior painted the color of buttermilk, the wooden bar and brick wall. Lovely and relaxing. The service is attentive and generally friendly, and the owner is very nice (he chatted with us for some time after he saw my aunt measuring the bar with an actual measuring tape, and then gave her some tips on sconces...yep).

The brunch menu is southern-tilted, with house-made sausage, biscuits, scrambles, pancakes, pork chops, and more. They also offer your usual burger and salad options, and all entrees are $6-15, and include coffee/tea and a mimosa or bellini. One of the better brunch deals I've had, considering the menu, atmosphere and complimentary beverages. I ordered the ABC Grilled Cheese, with apples, bacon and cheddar. It came on grilled bread, and was predictably salty and could have used more apple, but the bacon was good quality and perfectly cooked. The tiny salad that came with it was actually very good.

We ordered a side of biscuits, which I was fairly impressed with and would repeat order. I also sampled a bit of Jennifer's pork chop and cheddar waffles (the pork chop was HUGE), and it was really delicious-- juicy tasty pork, and predictably delicious waffle (how can a cheddar waffle be bad..I'm sure it could happen, but it shouldn't). The tiny bit of Rich's corn beef hash I tried was also good (below) and my cousin Walker gave their fries his seal of approval.

I will note that I had dinner there once, and though this is not that review, it was also good. I will definitely be back for another relaxing brunch (note that it is only served on Sundays) time and time again. -Laurel

One afternoon, our friend Rich and I were going to meet up and head over to Reis 100 in Park Slope, where they have a 100 different types of sandwiches. Since Rich is a sandwich fiend, I thought he would thoroughly enjoy it. However, due to the MTA induced fate we often find ourselves wrestling with, it was going to take forever for him to get there from LIC. So Laurel was kind enough to invite us along with her family to Buttermilk Channel.

To be honest, I might have lured Rich to the restaurant under false pretenses...I promised him Country Fried Steak, as well as biscuits and gravy, both of which they do not have (but hopefully due to us meeting the owner and begging him to add them both to the menu, I'm hoping this might change). Either way, I do not think he was disappointed at the vast array of food we ordered and sampled off each other. I mean, seriously, he looks so happy in that picture above, right?

So, the food. This place definitely takes the first part of their compound word to heart. Everything had a ton of butter. That's what made the porkchops so tasty at least...the coating of butter and crumbs on the outside. The meat inside was less than spectacular - tasted a bit bland in fact. But coupled with the coating and the cheddar waffles, it was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend this dish. It is the most expensive one, although at $15 and including coffee and alcohol, it's not that bad.

The biscuits were good, and I wish I had eaten a whole plate by myself, but alas, I had to share with everyone else. Also, we ordered a coffeecake, which came out in the odd form of a small muffin. Soft and gooey, with great flavor. They also have donuts, which we didn't try, and now I can't remember why...

The wait staff is super nice and very patient. Our waitress was nice enough to give me my alcoholic beverage after we had all eaten, because apparently I can't read and didn't realize a free drink comes with the meal. This place is well decorated, and everything has a very classy feel to it. Before even meeting the co-owner outside, I got the feeling whoever owned the place knew exactly how he/she wanted it to look and feel: homey and inviting. A lot of restaurants don't think it out, and just slap a bunch of tacky crap into a room and wonder why no one comes. This guy really knew what he was doing - he even remembered the name of the paint he used on the front.

Go here and enjoy.- Jennifer

Address: 542 Court Street between Nelson and Huntington (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)

Website:, Yelp

Cash, Credit

Delivery: No

Open Late:
Open for Dinner, Sunday, Tues-Thurs, 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-12am; Open for Brunch on Sundays only 10am-3pm

Large Group Friendly:
Somewhat, they take reservations for 6+ people

Bar/Happy Hour:
Full Bar, Drink included in the brunch price

September 24, 2009


In yet another attempt to eat at Superfine and finding it closed, Laurel and I ventured over to reBar after we were told by our friends Davis and Amanda that they served brunch. We walked in to find a small coffee bar set up beside a staircase. We were pointed up the stairs to a large open area with a bunch of tables, and a divided bar, as well as another off et dining area. After being told to sit wherever we liked, we chose a table as far away from everyone else as possible so the waitress would have to walk really, really far, and our food would be room temperature (okay, not really, but we could have done that because there were a lot of choices).

The menu offers pretty standard brunch, along with salads and pressed sandwiches. And as we always seem to want the same sweet/savory frenchtoastpancakeswaffles/scrambledeggsomeletbaconsausagepotatoestoast, we decided on this particular trip to mix it up a little bit. Instead of the typical, we chose pancakes with strawberries and walnuts, and chose an omelet with BBQ pulled pork, manchego cheese and carmelized onions. That's right. We're different.

The pancakes were very tasty - soft on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside. The walnuts were candied and a nice touch, although quite the texture difference from a soft pancake. The reBar omelet was the real risk taker here, obviously. And I must say, I kind of liked it, but it was really, really weird. In fact, as Laurel and I were eating it, we kept saying over and over "I'm not sure what is happening in my mouth right now." It's basically a flavor explosion that is neither amazing nor disgusting, despite the list of ingredients mixed with eggs. It's just...yet again, really, really weird.

Also, as a recommendation: if you decide to get the reBar omelet, don't get something sweet. It will just make your taste buds keep going 'WHAT THE HELL?!' as you switch back and forth. Also, the BBQ in the omelet is a little sweet, so the extra isn't needed. But I do recommend trying it, if any of those ingredients sound good to you. Your mouth just kind of...has to adjust to the difference. Once it does though, I promise you'll be satisfied.

I'm dying to go back to reBar and drink, actually, as I think it would be a great place to dance (if they have dancing?) and/or get in a fight (as a note, I need large spaces for my fights). Go to DUMBO and try it! -Jennifer

reBar was a second choice for brunch one weekend, but the menu looked encouraging and the space is kind of awesome. It's huge and open with tall ceilings and wood floors, a place you'd want to have a party in and then have a break dancing competition. These are how all of my parties end, but it'd just be more convenient/classy at this joint.

The menu is your standard brunch, with a little higher than they should be prices.. like most places. I have to agree with Jennifer's assessment of the reBar Omelet.. it was just plain weird. I don't think I'd order it again, I'm still weirded out by that thing. It's just.. unnatural. The accompanying salad greens and potatoes were just okay, and the pancakes were also okay. Nothing was amazing, or even overly noteworthy, but not bad, either.

The service was lacking. The waitress did the classic disappearing act, where she started out attentive and then completely vanished. So much so, that we had to walk around for a while to find someone to pay. Did we mention that there was NO ONE there? Two other tables the whole time we sat there. But I think they have wireless, so it'd be a cool place to sit with coffee and a laptop during the day without be bothered (by anyone, including the waitstaff), or, as I said, break dance. -Laurel

Address: 147 Front St. between Pearl St. and Jay St. (Dumbo, Brooklyn)

Website:, Yelp

Payment: Cash, Credit

Delivery: No

Open Late: Mon-Tue. til 2:00 a.m.; Wed-Sat. til 4:00 a.m.; Sun. til 2:00 a.m.

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Full Bar

September 22, 2009

Tue Thai Food

Recently, an adventure over in the West Village proved to be a rather yummy discovery. One night, Crystal, Laurel and I decided to grab a bite to eat after a comedy show. After much walking, we found a cute, somewhat cheap little Thai place somewhere in the midst of the confusion that is the West Village.

One of my all-time favorite appetizers of Chinese restaurants (I say this because I've never seen these in a Thai restaurant until we went here, and I just read the Wikipedia page and apparently it's a new commodity in Thai restaurants), is Crab Ragoon. Fried wontons (or just the pastry that makes wontons) stuffed with crab and cream cheese, which you dip in duck sauce. They are de-licious, and not usually offered in authentic Chinese restaurants. At Tue, the crab ragoon is a bit spicy, which added an extra flavor I thoroughly enjoyed. They're not too expensive either, six pieces for $6.

For dinner, I ordered the "World Famous" Pineapple Fried Rice ($9). Although being apparently famous throughout all the lines, it was pretty standard. It had pineapple, raisins, cashews, onions, roma tomatoes, lime, and a choice of meat. I went for the chicken, which was a bit tough to the bite, but had a good flavor. Either way, while good, and not too expensive, I'm pretty skeptical that this restaurant's pineapple fried rice is actually heard of in say...Thailand.

Either way, the decorations are adorable, and rather inventive. The light (pictured above) was really cool and gave the restaurant a bit of an arty feel. Also, the staff was super nice and very attentive. I recommend it if you're walking around the West Village. -Jennifer

Our visit to Tue was born out of a bout of incredible indecisiveness. We walked around and around the West Village, declaring this too expensive and that too whatever, when we finally came upon Tue. Thai didn't sound too bad, the prices were good, and it looked cute. Aaaaaand done.

The menu is largely standard (price and selection-wise), with appetizers, a couple of soups and salads, curries, noodle dishes, and rice dishes. I ordered a yellow curry with chicken, which was $10ish.

It was a hearty portion, with a good amount of veggies (onion, cabbage, green beans, carrots) and chicken, which was a little overcooked, but fine. The sauce was lightly sweet from the coconut milk and a nice amount of spice, but it didn't wow me with flavor. The rice was perfectly cooked in a ball on the side. Overall, it was solid, but, as Jennifer said, nothing amazing.

The service was friendly and dependable, and the decor is way cute-- not your standard too modern and plastic Thai place. If I lived in the area, or needed a quick bite of Thai food in the area, I would recommend--but nothing to go out of your way for. -Laurel

Address: 3 Greenwich Avenue, between Christopher St & 10th St

Website: Yelp

Payment: Cash, Credit

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Til 11pm Daily

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: No Alcohol

August 20, 2009

Autour du Monde (with Guest Reviewer Davis)

Always on the lookout for a great brunch place close to our apartment, Amanda and I popped by Autour du Monde one weekend. It was a bit late for brunch, so we wound up being alone in the place with the owner (whose name is sadly escaping me). We chatted him up while enjoying our meal, and left very satisfied.

The atmosphere inside is comfortable, with large windows along the outer wall, looking out onto the street. A large semicircle of a bar sits in the middle of the room. As far as the menu consisting of items "around the world," you can expect French and American-influenced entrees.

When Jen suggested we grab something go eat for lunch a few Sundays ago, Autour du Monde sounded like a great idea, and I'm glad I had another chance to try this place out.

They offer a free drink with most of the items on their brunch, though I had the burger, which isn't on that list. It came on a massive, buttery brioche bun, and cooked to perfection. The heavy bun helped absorb the overly juicy patty, avoiding the sad, soggy mess you typically get during the second half of even the best burgers. The side of fries served their job suitably.

If you're in the mood for an affordable, tasty brunch off the beaten path, I definitely recommend dropping by Autour du Monde. - Davis

Autour du Monde is a cute little French spot in Clinton Hill near Clinton Ave. I love their logo, although it's done with the Kristen font, and that font kind of sucks. Still cute enough to make me want to pop in. I had the pleasure of going with my friend Davis, who had been there before. Autour is locally run - Davis pointed out the owner during the meal - with a large, open space, and a large bar.

They've got brunch down pretty well. I ordered the omelet with a side of bacon. It came with home fries and a small salad. I also ordered a large glass of fresh orange juice. Everything came out fast, and was cooked just right, although it's not hard to mess up this standard meal. The omelet however, was a work of art considering it had nothing in. I'm always impressed when people can flip omelets or pancakes just right and this cook obviously can.

The waitress was very nice and attentive. This place is good and worth checking out if you are in the area. I'd like to go back another day soon; I feel like what I got was basic and I have plenty of room to explore. -

Address: 860 Fulton Street at Clinton Ave. (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)


Payment: Cash, Credit

Delivery: Nope

Open Late: til 10:30pm every night

Large Group Friendly: Yep! and doesn't seem to be too crowded

Bar/Happy Hour: Yep, and brunch includes a drink if you so choose

July 12, 2009


Simply put, this might be one of the coziest and most satisfying restaurants I've ever been to. Unsure of where to dine on a recent Monday afternoon, we stumbled upon Madiba quite haphazardly. We decided to walk to Dekalb Ave in search of some brunch - Autour du Monde was closed, and most of the other restaurants were crowded. We went into Madiba because it was considerably less crowded and the tables and umbrellas outside were cute and inviting.

Unfortunately all the umbrellas were taken, so we had to settle for inside. Luckily, however, we got to enjoy two musical artists warming up for that night's performance. They were absolutely fantastic and very nice. Also, the inside of the restaurant is adorable, with its wooden tables and old glassware, as well as the awesome coke bottle chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant is named after Nelson Mandela; Madiba is the honorary title South Africans gave him. Therefore, the entire restaurant is decorated in his honor.

As for the food, the restaurant has quite a collection of comfort food and spicy delights such as curry. A few of us jumped at the offer of Sangria, while Laurel went with coffee. Laurel and I both went for the Meal in a Pie - chicken on bottom, mashed potatoes and gravy in the middle, and a flaky crust on top ($10). It definitely lived up to its name. I was unbelievably full afterward. Davis went for the Fatcake with the savory mince. Yes, it looked as unhealthy as it sounds (pictured above). He seemed to really dig it, although I didn't get to try a piece.

Definitely give Madiba a taste if you're in the neighborhood - or take a special trip out to Fort Greene just for this little South African gem. - Jennifer

I have to agree that Madiba is super cute and from my experience, pretty tasty. I ordered the same thing as Jennifer, which we don't normally do, but it looked too good. And it was good, the mushroom gravy was especially delicious. I practically licked my plate and was pleasantly full.. but not too full to pass up dessert. I ordered Koeksisters to share, twisted little buttery pastries with a sugary lemon-ginger sauce. They were rich and light at the same time, and deliciously sweet. My coffee came with adorable little jar containers of milk and raw sugar, and was nice and smooth. My stomach was happy when we left, as was the rest of me.

The prices are reasonable for brunch (standard), and can get a little pricier for dinner, but I would be willing to venture that the price fits the quality. The wait staff is friendly and the atmosphere is airy and festive. They have lots of events and music, so I'm sure we'll be coming back to check that out as well as more of the menu. You should too. -Laurel

Address: 195 Dekalb Ave. between Carlton and Adelphi (Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

Payment: Cash, Cards

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Yes

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Yes

July 8, 2009

Bocca Lupo

I've been to Bocca Lupo several times over the years, as my aunt and uncle live a stone's throw away. We went here a few times during visits, and I rediscovered how much I liked it upon moving to NY. Jennifer and I have gone a couple of times together, so I'll stick to those experiences.

The first visit was a Sunday afternoon, and we needed a quick-ish meal between visiting my family and going to the movie. They were uncrowded and the wait staff was super friendly.The menu consists of several bruschettas that change seasonally, cheese plates, meat plates, paninis, sides (mostly veggies), and one daily pizza, pasta and risotto. We ordered some bruschetta-- butternut squash with hazelnut, tomato, mozzarella and basil, poached pear, and a sausage one. They were all delicious, but note that they are difficult to split (i.e., cut in two). The standouts were the butternut squash (nutty, lightly sweet, so good) and the sausage (salty porky goodness), but they were all worth trying.

We also ordered the banana and nutella panini for dessert to go. We were in a rush, so we ate it as we walked to the theater. Picture this: each of us stuffing pieces of said panini into our mouths while walking briskly down the sidewalk, powdered sugar EVERYWHERE, us both incomprehensibly mumbling about how freakin good it was. Yeah, we got some looks. But if we had been run over by a bus, we would have died happy in that moment.

On the next visit, the bruschetta menu was totally different, and we were disappointed. I ordered a sausage and broccoli rabe panini and we split a side of zucchini with almonds. The panini was definitely good, a stand-by for my uncle, but a little overly salty. The zucchini was a nice side, enough for two.

Probably the best part about Bocca Lupo is that it is a small neighborhoody place. The menu is dependable and has just enough options. Great place to take a date or a small group. -Laurel

As Laurel said, the first time we went to Bocca Lupo, we were amazed. From the moment we sat down and looked around at other people's plates, I was itching for some good food. The woman to the left of us was eating asparagus, and I instantly convinced Laurel we must have some. Glad I did. Lemony and cooked just right - not too squishy and not too hard - the asparagus was a great compliment to our many bruschettas.

Speaking of which, the bruschetta. All of them were supremely delicious. The butternut squash was my favorite - sweet and not at all stringy like a lot of squash can be, and the hazelnut was a great touch. The pear was the perfect amount of sweet and salty, the sausage was the perfect amount of unhealthy, and the tomato, mozzarella and basil was the perfect amount, tomato, mozzarella, and basil. We ate one at a time, each going in a different order and ranting and raving about how good they were. Ambiance wise, The wait staff were helpful and patient, and the people dining there were nice as well.

Of course, the nutella panini was off the charts delicious, especially when walking fast down a street and laughing about the intense amounts of whipped cream, chocolate, and powdered sugar all over our faces, clothes, hands...everywhere.

The second time wasn't terribly disappointing, but I was very sad the menu had changed. The bruschetta we had before was sooooo good, and I couldn't eat a lot of the options they offered second go around because of one or two leafy ingredients. And the asparagus was also gone.

We quickly searched for a substitute for the asparagus, and decided to go for the zucchini with pine nuts. Unfortunately, the zucchini was cold. It was also slightly limp and had almost no flavor. Sad. As for the panini, I desperately wanted the sausage, but I couldn't have broccoli rabe. Now that I think about it, I guess I could have asked for it without the rabe, but I remember how I wanted to preserve the flavor. That was dumb. Either way, I chose the Triple P (ok, plus M) panini: proscuitto, porchetta, piave, and mascarpone. Pretty good. Wasn't blown away, but it definitely fulfilled my appettite.

And of course we got the nutella panini. Must admit, not as good in a civilized fashion...on a table, with a fork. I actually prefer to have my food all over my body. I think it tastes better. -Jennifer

Address: 391 Henry St (Brooklyn)


Payment: credit or cash

Delivery: no

Open Late: 2 AM on weekends

Large Group Friendly: better for small gatherings, does not take reservations

Bar/Happy Hour: full bar

July 3, 2009


Jennifer had been to Beast once before for drinks and dessert, and was impressed enough to try the full menu. She was nice enough to let me tag along for dinner one Sunday, and it was pleasantly uncrowded. The front is flanked by a large bar with small tables, a large back area has lots more seating, and when the weather is nice there are a few sidewalk tables as well.

The menu is tapas-style, but with heartier fare, largely American in style and includes seafood. The prices are on the upper end of moderate, with the starts/snacks running $3-18 and proper small plates running $7-14. You're going to need at least one and a half per person, get two or include a dessert if you're hungry like we were. The wine list has a nice variety, with quatrinos (1/3 bottles) and full bottles offered at reasonable prices.

Jennifer will talk about what she ordered, but I tried it and it was delicious. You should order it. I ordered the Sweet Onion and Ricotta Tart, which came with a pear salad (pictured above). The tart has a nice light texture and a pleasant taste, but wasn't overly memorable. The pears were nicely cooked and a good compliment. All-in-all a solid vegetarian dish, but nothing to write home about. We also shared a burger, which was a solid meaty dish, and one of the better bargains on the menu. We of course ordered dessert, which was a caramel-y rich bread pudding. Very sweet, but gooey and tasty.

Check out Beast if you're looking to splurge just a bit and have some drinks and share foods with friends. Like me, for instance. -Laurel

The first time I went to Beast was after a Target First Friday at the Brooklyn Museum. The lot of us were absolutely starving and looking for cheap drinks, and stumbled into Beast after an unsuccessful search down Vanderbilt for an empty bar. This place wasn't all that empty either, but reasonably less crowded, possibly because I assume most people are a little freaked by the outside. First of all, the place is called "Beast." Secondly, the front doors are large wooden doors you would see outside of a castle or fort. Not necessarily inviting. Surprisingly nice door man, though.

We waited around for a while for a table, and it was far too crowded for the bar, so three of us were standing by one of the exit doors that leads to a small amount of street seating, directly by the kitchen, which is open into the bar. The smells and sights of the food were making all of us absolutely famished. We finally got a table, to find out they had just stopped serving dinner. The staff was absolutely fantastic, however, and after sharing my obvious disappointment at the lack of food, brought a dessert menu.

Davis and Amanda chose a raspberry cheesecake, while I automatically ordered the Bread Pudding with a Pecan Praline in it. The person I was sharing it with was completely unsure about my choice. However, after the first bite, he was hooked. Everyone at the table then dug their spoon in, and the entire table was filled with "hmmmmm," a.k.a. pure happiness. The pudding melted in our mouths and the sticky pecan praline was a nice addition to the smoothness of the pudding. Definitely a must have.

As any good restaurant should do, Beast's menu changes every so often. So when Laurel and I ventured back to try a few things I had picked out from the menu last time we went, they were no longer on there. However, they were replaced by a multitude of other scrumptious sounding foods. And of course, I had to make her try that Bread Pudding, which I was glad was still on the dessert menu.

While Laurel stuck with her tart, I chose the roast with potatoes, corn and green beans. I made a joke that I would get 3 green beans, and then I did. However, it was absolutely delicious. Small, but delicious. The meat was tender and the perfect compliment to the mashed potatoes and corn in the middle. And the 3 green beans were nicely cooked as well.

Still hungry, of course, Laurel and I ordered the burgers. They were pretty standard and I devoured them quickly, still hungry. And then we moved on to the heavenly dessert. Not quite as heavenly as I remember, but still virtually perfect. I was in a food coma at that point and forgot to take a picture, so just close your eyes and picture bread pudding that has been stabbed in the heart with a pecan praline lightning bolt and covered in sugar.

A good place to go with a large group of ravenous, slightly well to do, companions who like to drink and watch movies Sci-Fi/Action movies on USA Network. Because that's what they show in there. - Jennifer

Address: 638 Bergen St at Vanderbilt (Brooklyn)

Payment: cash or credit

Delivery: no

Open Late: bar open until 3 AM on weekends

Large Group Friendly: yes

Bar/Happy Hour: full bar

June 30, 2009


Despite my intense love for meat, I also love tofu quite a bit. I also love Thai food, although I can't eat most of it because of my pathetic tummy. Pukk is the perfect place to go for that combination.

Suggested by our friend Crystal, Pukk is a vegetarian Thai place with a unique blend of flavors, spices and choices. They offer everything from to the regular Thai food - curry, fried rice, dumplings - but with they also offer an array of other options and twists on old favorites: spinach toast, mushroom puff, massaman curry with sweet potatoes, onions and peanuts. All the "meat" is made of soy - soy chicken and soy duck.

On my first trip to Pukk, I decided to sample as much as possible. I chose before I left work: coconut mushroom soup ($3), spicy spring rolls ($4), and market fried rice with tofu ($4). The soup was good - sweet and a bit tangy, the perfect compliment to the spice and saltiness of the spring rolls. The market fried rice was standard - with onion, chinese broccoli and black pepper, as well as eggs and a cherry tomato. The tofu was delicious, not too spongy but also not tough; it was cooked just right. The second time I went back with Crystal and got the market fried rice with tofu again. Although I like to try new things, I also get nervous at Thai food it's better to stick with what I know won't make me sick.

A little small, but not usually too crowded, Pukk is a good place to go if you want to try a different spin on Thai food, and also enjoy modern decor and multicolored lights. The servers are very nice as well, and they're super quick. Might be why it's not usually too crowded. You get your food fast and then you're out of there. -Jennifer

We went to Pukk with some friends one night for dinner, and it was overall a crowd pleaser. The space is very long and modern with small tables and banquet seating lining one wall. The service was friendly and fairly attentive, but several people came by the table at different points which made it slightly confusing.

The menu is large, with lots of appetizers, soups, rice dishes and noodle dishes, and very reasonably priced. It's all veggie, but they offer meat-like options (chicken, pork or beef) and tofu. I ordered some spring rolls to share, which were crispy and had a nice dipping sauce. As my main dish I had the "chicken" Pad Se Ew, my Thai standby. It was very good, the fake chicken was fairly chicken-y and was a nice texture (weird texture is usually my issue with veg meat), and the noodles were yum. All-in-all, solid Thai food at nice prices.

I would definitely would recommend if you're in the neighborhood and in the mood, and aren't ravenous for meat. Then again, if you're ravenous for meat, I wouldn't recommend you leave the house. Order some mail-order steaks and do the world a favor. -Laurel

Address: 71 1st Ave (between 4th St. and 5th St.)

Payment: Cash, Cards

Delivery: Yep

Open Late: 11:30pm Sun-Thurs; 12:30am Fri-Sat

Large Group Friendly: Somewhat

Bar/Happy Hour: Wine, Beer

June 11, 2009


It is surprising how long it took me to eat here, considering Kush is literally across the street from my apartment. I had heard that it was good, and the menu looked interesting, and yet.. well.. the point is, I have finally been a couple of times for brunch, and now you lucky people get to read about it.

Their brunch menu has lots of options, one of my favorite being that you can get a plate with pancakes or french toast and eggs/meat. And you know that is what I did, being as I'm always torn between salty or sweet brunch. The french toast was standard but tasty, and the eggs were fluffy. The chicken sausage was good, but a little over-cooked. I loved that they served it all with fresh fruit, and it all made for a satisfying meal. The next time I went back I ordered the banana pancakes with sausage. The pancakes are big and very tall and fluffy. Honestly, they are more like cake, and were too sweet and cakey.. not my favorite.

One thing to note about Kush is the service. The seemingly main lady there is super nice and fairly attentive when she's overseeing your table. She also recognized us not only in her restaurant the second time, but on the street one night. There are some issues, though. There has been something wrong with the bill both times we've gone-- the first time they left one whole meal off, the second time they charged us weird prices.

Either way, Kush is still someplace we'll most likely be back to. For one thing, it's across the street. Also, the food is pretty good, and it has a nice and relaxed neighborhood feel. We'll report back once we try dinner sometime. -Laurel

This place is apparently known for its jerk chicken. At least that's what the girl who works there said. A lot. She was super nice, but slightly less attentive than I like. As Laurel said, she did recognize us, and that was cool. I like to be known in my 'hood. 

The food is pretty standard, and tastes pretty standard. I was impressed the first time we went simply because of the fresh fruit. You can't find a healthy option like that in the city most of the time. It's usually just a bunch of greasy (yummy, but greasy) food thrown on a plate. I, too, got the french toast with eggs, and instead of chicken sausage, I got turkey bacon. It was gross - really tough and chewy. Not a fault of Kush, as I probably should have just gone for pork. So that's what I tried to do the second time around, but the other nice, slightly inattentive waitres got it wrong, and brought me turkey sausage. It too was tough and chewy. However, the eggs were good, and the french toast was crunchy and super sweet, which I was in the mood for. 

As for the problems with our bill - the first time was fine, we just told them to add on the meal they missed. However, the second time was kind of a strange nightmare. Laurel got something far cheaper than me, and we both got "unlimited" mimosas. However, after I accidentally spilled mine on Laurel (thank GOD we live across the street so she could go change. We haven't always been that lucky), she didn't replace mine. At all. She didn't even offer to until the end of my meal when we had to go. I was kind of miffed. The miffation (Is that a word? It should be.) continued when we got the check. Our meals were both $14.95, although she got something far cheaper than me, and she got a side, which they charged an extra $4 for, so hers totaled out to $18.95. I'm honestly just confused and think that the waitresses make up their prices as they go. But let me reiterate: they are very nice. 

Despite the bill confusion, I will be back. It is very near our apartment, first of all, and second of all, they apparently have GREAT jerk chicken. I just won't be getting any unlimited drinks. We weren't anyway so I guess there's no real difference. - Jennifer

Address: 17 Putnam Ave, at Grand Ave (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)

Payment: cash

Delivery: no

Open Late: 'til Midnight Monday-Saturday, 11pm on Sunday

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Unlimited Mimosas or Bloody Marys for Weekend Brunch

June 6, 2009


This was the night of all nights. This was the night we were in Williamsburg to see King Khan and the Shrines. We decided to meet up early and grab a bite, and Erin from Laurel's work suggested Relish. I had seen it before, as it's a pretty noticeable place: it looks like a really swanky... trailer.

The inside has an expensive vibe, and it kind of is, but boy is it tasty. This diner-type restaurant offers a little of everything, much like any other diner in New York. However, it is set apart by its upscale and unique blend of all kinds of different foods: French, Italian, Greek, etc., all with a bit of an American splash. They offer everything from a Grilled Cheese Sandwich (with mozzarella instead of American cheese, and some basil, fennel and marinara) to Spicy Pan Roasted Grouper with grits. Their selection keeps going with a mix of different kinds of seafood, steak, pasta, and omelets.

Ravished with hunger, I wanted everything on the menu. Laurel and I decided to split the pork tenderloin, brussel sprouts and potatoes ($21). We also ordered a side of mac and cheese with bacon in it. I was skeptical about the mac and cheese, mainly because it seemed overpriced ($12). However, when it came out, I was in noodle heaven. Creamy in the middle with a crusty top (and perhaps a little too much bacon), this mac and cheese was the perfect meal in itself, if you are a big carbo loader. Our dining companion Casey got what I really wanted (mainly because I was still starving after splitting all that food with Laurel): Half Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme, with a side of yukon gold mashed potatoes and asparagus. The picture below makes it look small, but trust me: it was enough food for two people.

Top this off with Elderflower cocktails and you have yourself one slightly expensive but extremely delicious meal. Definitely check this place out if you're looking for a new spin on some old favorites. Maybe you'll even find a new favorite. - Jennifer

Things I remember most about this place: it looks like a big trailer, and the mac and cheese. As for the first, the inside has a long bar across one side and booths across the other. It's dark and pretty comfy, definitely nicer than any trailer I've been to. The service was fairly attentive and efficient. The menu is classic comfort food, but a bit fancier. It's a little on the pricey side, but the portions are big and we were pleased with everything we ate, so mostly worth it.

The entrees skew towards the heavier side, with options like meats and potatoes accented with creams and sauces, mac and cheese, and so forth. I would suggest you try the mac and cheese--it was excellent, and didn't need all that bacon (for once, I'd suggest sans pork). It is super cheesy and the crust on top is yum. The pork tenderloin had nice flavor but was just a bit over done, and the brussel sprouts were nicely cooked (as in, not too cooked). It was all-in-all a very satisfying (if not a bit much on the calorie-intake) meal.

Try this place out if you're feeling too skinny, or just want to wrap yourself in the comfort of cheesy goodness. -Laurel

Address: 225 Wythe Ave at N. 3rd Street (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Payment: cash, cards

Delivery: no

Open Late: Sun-Thurs til 12am, Fri and Sat til 1am

Large Group Friendly: yes

Bar/Happy Hour: yes

June 3, 2009


We attempted to go to Superfine once for Sunday brunch, and after having such trouble locating it, we found it closed for a wedding reception. We made it back another Sunday during the 5 Borough Bike Tour, and found the huge space crowded with bikers and locals. We put our name on the list (they take reservations, and I'd recommend if you have more than two people or don't want to wait) and hovered by the bar. After about 20 minutes of being thoroughly entertained by bikers getting tanked before their last 12 miles, we were seated.

The space is huge and cavernous, with raised seating and the bar sunken down on the side. Paintings and colorful lighting adorn the walls and ceiling, and a pool table sits at the front while a stage anchors the back. The stage happened to have a 50's-style bluegrass band playing on it that day. They were great, and even told corny jokes between songs. If I could play slide guitar, spoons, anything, I would have begged to join their band.

The menu is standard prices, with some nice brunch options and a slight Mexican tilt. I ordered the Eggs to Order, which comes with homefries, salad and fruit ($6.50). The eggs were cooked just so, and the home fries were good. Solid brunch plate, all-in-all. I tasted Jennifer's breakfast burrito, which was huge, and totally delicious. They also offer homemade granola and yogurt, french toast, huevos rancheros, fish tacos, etc.

I would definitely recommend this place for brunch-- have some tasty food, a little hair of the dog, listen to some bluegrass, and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park. A perfect afternoon in DUMBO. I'll be back to do just that, and maybe get some drinks and dinner one night. -Laurel

The first time we ventured into Superfine, as Laurel mentioned, it was closed for a wedding reception. When I walked in to talk to the guy, though, he was very nice and explained that coming back next week would probably be best. So that's exactly what we did.

Full of eclectic decorations of bright lights, different leveled floors and slightly awkward pseudo family portraits, this place reminded me of a delightful country western, almost beach-y place from back in the day. And the band added a lot to that too. They were so cute, and if I ever had the chance, I would totally make them be my best friends. 

Unsure of what I wanted, I decided to go off my normal path of either eggs and homefries or french toast, and go for something that I never before attempted - Mexican breakfast. Granted (and admittedly) I'm usually slightly hungover when I'm eating brunch, so Huevos Rancheros has always sounded so gross to me. However, I'm still warming up to the idea of Huevos Rancheros, so I went for something a tad milder - the Breakfast Burrito, filled with scrambled eggs, sausage, green chilies, pinto bean all in a flour tortilla topped with jack cheese and salsa fresca. There is no turning back on the mixture of Mexican food and breakfast food now, it was absolutely delicious.

Although I wasn't very hungry when I sat down, I ate the whole burrito, which you can tell from the picture, was huge. It was the perfect combination of greasy Mexican and well, breakfast. Exactly what a Breakfast Burrito should be, I suppose. I'm definitely interested in venturing back to this place. In fact, just last week, I had a craving for some more. Will do soon, and would love to go back for dinner. Honestly, however, the band better be playing, because the experience just wouldn't be the same without. - Jennifer

Address: 126 Front St, b/t Adams and Jay (DUMBO, Brooklyn)


Payment: credit, cash

Delivery: no

Open Late: restaurant 11pm on weekends, bar until 4am

Large Group Friendly: yes

Bar/Happy Hour: full bar

May 31, 2009

Doughnut Plant

If I could define my hopeful perception of Heaven in two words, they would be "Doughnut Plant." The first time I was lucky enough to try this place, Roland had so graciously brought a ton of different ones into work one afternoon. After eating and thoroughly enjoying the selections, I knew we had to venture to Doughnut Plant and try more. And boy did we.

Conveniently located near the LES, this place offers a variety of standard doughnuts including regular glazed and jelly filled, but they also offer something more for those looking to have something special in their maefs. Their Tres Leche doughnut is just like its name - a perfect mixture of evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream. Although a cake doughnut, it is in no way dry, and is very rich and has cream in the middle. Another famous one is their creme brulee yeast doughnut, completely sweet and perfect. And of course, my absolute all time favorite of any doughnut ever, their Blackout - a chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate cream in the middle oozing out into my mouth. They also have specials of the day, but they always seem to run out before you get a chance to try them.

The small, cute building gets rather full fast of hungry customers, so it's a good suggestion to get your doughnuts and run. We got a LOT on our visit, making sure to savor every bite. The pudgy guy behind the counter was ranting and raving over the Carrot Cake doughnut he was shoving in his mouth, so I might have to try that next time.

Yes, it's that good. - Jennifer

Oh man, I love this place. Their doughnuts are just so... good. Jennifer once brought me a Tres Leche donut, and it was all over after that. I had to have more.

To this day, the Tres Leche is probably my favorite donut pretty much ever. I'm not a huge donut eater, and I notoriously go for the glazed, but I think the general rule at Doughnut Plant is to go for the cake varieties. Although nothing I've tried has ever led to me regretting trying it. The Tres Leche is a nice consistency, not as heavy as you'd think, and lightly sweet with a bit of cream in the middle. I've also tried their seasonal strawberry yeast and cake donut-- both delicious, but not quite strawberry-y enough-- and the coconut creme yeast donut, which has a cream filling and coconut on the outside. Their iced chai tea is also good, but a little too sweet (especially when you're eating donuts).

If you haven't been, you have to go. Yes, I love my sweets, but I've never been donut-crazy, and I'm close to needing an intervention because of this place. Glad I don't work/live nearby, for my arteries' sake. -Laurel

Address: 379 Grand St, near Marcy Ave

Payment: cash only

Delivery: no

Open Late: no, 'til whenever they sell out, between 5-7

Large Group Friendly: no

Bar/Happy Hour: no
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