Eats


LA BRUNETTEV
300 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, 718-384-5800

Williamsburg's best bistro offers French-Caribbean cuisine with some exciting and unmodified Haitian elements thrown in. Succulent pork "ribletts"—delicious by themselves—come sided with a blistering Scotch bonnet sauce called ti-malice, and spice-massaged pork loin is regaled with a dark gravy spiked with Guinness. Compulsory at every bistro, steak frites has here been enlivened with an au poivre coating, and there's also a whole grilled fish of the day for those who like their food more straightforward. Sit in the relaxing front room, or better yet, pick the rear room for its dramatic views of the BQE. $$

Location Info

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Vanessa's Dumpling House

118A Eldridge St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Chinatown

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine

96 Chambers St.
New York, NY 10007

Category: Restaurant > Cuban

Region: Financial District

Bottino

246 Tenth Ave.
New York, NY 10011

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Chelsea

Periyali

35 W. 20th St. #A
New York, NY 10011

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Chelsea

Pigalle

790 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10019

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: West 40s

Atelier, Ritz-Carlton Hotel

50 Central Park S.
New York, NY 10019

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: West 50s

Cafe Sabarsky

1048 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: East 80s

Sokobolie

2529 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10027

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Harlem

Cafe Steinhof

422 7th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Park Slope

Carolina Creek Restaurant

87 Utica Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11213

Category: Restaurant > Soul Food

Region: Crown Heights

Castro's

511 Myrtle Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Brooklyn

La Piazzetta

442 Graham Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Brooklyn

Taqueria la Asuncion

206 Knickerboker Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Bushwick

Eddie's Sweet Shop

105-29 Metropolitan Ave.
Jamaica, NY 11434

Category: Restaurant > Dessert

Region: Jamaica

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(new) LA PIAZZETTA
442 Graham Avenue, Williamsburg, 718-349-1627

The guazzetto alone would be enough to make me return to this new Williamsburg Italian: mussels, clams, and scallops in a light tomato sauce laced with garlic, white wine, olive oil, and parsley. Croutons brushed with garlic and olive oil ring the bowl and gradually absorb the extra broth. Every detail of this Neapolitan favorite is perfect. We also enjoyed the featherweight potato gnocchi clumped with mozzarella. The soaring skylighted dining room, which appears to be a converted auto body shop, is oddly exhilarating. Only the wine list falls short. $$


MA'S SOUL FOOD CAFÉ
1551 Fulton Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant, 718-221-0235

An evening's stroll down Bed-Stuy's Fulton Street reveals a culinary scene in decay, as franchise restaurants like McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and Popeye's muscle out the family-run eateries that used to characterize this noble street. In defiance of the trend, newly opened Ma's offers a traditional menu of soul food staples. The fried chicken is particularly good—fresh and moist, with a modest coating of flour, letting the skin do the crispness work. The mac and cheese and corn muffins are also particularly fine, though the tepid and undercooked ribs are a disappointment. Neighborhood kids flock to the ice cream counter. ¢


MOON SHADOW
643 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint, 718-609-1841

There are now at least 10 Siamese cafés in Williamsburg and its northern suburb of Greenpoint, and in the latter locale we find Moon Shadow. Prepared for disappointment, I was impressed with the sharpness of the flavors and the freshness of the fixin's, even at off-peak hours. The luncheon special ($5.75, served until 4 p.m.) is a delightful tuck-in, featuring a spring roll and peanut-dressed salad in addition to a choice of main dishes. Otherwise, rice-sided entrées like Massaman curry and red snapper filet with tamarind sauce run $7 to $12. $


RICO'S TAMALES
Southeast corner of 46th Street and Fifth Avenue, Sunset Park, no phone

Just south of the park called Sunset Park is a hopping new Mexican neighborhood, and at the corner mentioned above, two opposing sheds selling snacks have recently appeared. Bright red Rico's is emblazoned with the come-on "Tamales Oaxaqueños," offering a changing selection. Foremost is the chicken mole tamale, wrapped in a corn husk and rife with poultry and thick inky sauce, while chicken with rajas—roasted green-chile strips—is another triumph. Wash them down with arroz con leche, a sort of liquid rice pudding, or champurrado, a chocolate-flavored corn beverage. ¢


TAQUERÍA LA ASUNCIÓN
206 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick, no phone

Bushwick hosts quite a few micro taco spots—places that make it seem like you're sitting in the cook's home kitchen. At Asunción, a baby crawls on the floor, and apart from the deep red walls and a shrine to the Virgin up near the ceiling, there's no attention paid to decor. Known to the locals simply as "mole," the chile-and-chocolate sauce is fabulous: slightly coarse-textured and a little oily, so that a bright umbra forms around the edges, and thin enough to moisten a plate of soft corn tortillas and a big serving of rice—after you've eaten the tender poached chicken. Weekends only. ¢

QUEENS


BOWNIES
143-05 45th Avenue, Flushing, 718-463-8621

Sri Lankan food debuts in Queens with this new luncheonette, serving the brooding, spice-laced "black curries" (pick lamb); mellow, coconut-laced fish curries (pick kingfish); and breads like appams (weekends only) and outsize rotis that make Ceylonese cooking delightfully unique. The dosai are particularly good, and, outflanking its Staten Island brethren, Bownies also serves additional vegetarian South Indian specialties like curd rice—a glorious tart sludge flavored with black mustard seed and curry leaf. Also don't miss puttu, a loaf of crumbled brown rice snowed with dried coconut. ¢


EDDIE'S SWEET SHOPV
105-29 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, 718-520-8514

One of the chief summer pleasures of Queens lies in discovering and investigating antiquarian ice cream parlors. Founded in 1909, Eddie's seems untouched by modernity. The hardwood stools at the long counter were not designed to accommodate the adult butt—kids won't mind. In several flavors, the Cokes are concocted from syrup and soda, the 22 flavors of ice cream are made on the premises, and the soda jerk is well versed in the arcana of freezes, floats, sundaes, and malts. Very highly recommended. ¢


TIKKA MASALA
71-03 Grand Avenue, Queens, 718-429-0101

This combo Indian-Indonesian restaurant might be called the "Miracle of Maspeth" for its unusual menu, odd location, and semi-elegant dining room. Find plenty of South Asian dishes unavailable elsewhere, like chicken sabjee (boneless poultry in a mellow yellow sauce loaded with green vegetables), and Malai curry (lamb chunks bathed in rich coconut sauce). The Indonesian dishes are pallid by comparison, but desirable in the context of a broad-ranging meal with many diners—so bring your friends. Breads are a strong point, though the addition of sugar to several proved somewhat unnerving. $

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