Today, for our weekly 10 best list, I came up with a list of my 10 favorite Brooklyn restaurants–not the best, necessarily, but the places that I love and go back to over and over. All of the places I’ve chosen have great food, but a favorite restaurant might worm its way into your heart for other reasons too–a particularly warm owner, ultra-affordable prices, or just the way it makes you feel at home.
As with any other list, it’s idiosyncratic and if you asked me tomorrow, it might be different. But for today, here are my favorite Brooklyn restaurants. And please post your own in the comments.
10. Motorino, 319 Graham Avenue, 718-599-8899
The most delicious of the bubbly-crusted bunch. If the brussels sprouts and speck pizza offered, pick that one.
9. Top Cafe Tibet, 1510 Cortelyou Road, 718-941-2725
A small, homey place with an excellent, filling paysar momo–a giant dumpling filled with spiced ground beef and an entire boiled egg. Or go for a warming bowl of thenthuk soup, which flutters with confetti-like, hand-torn noodles.
8. AM Thai Chili Basil Kitchen, 359 McDonald Avenue, 718-871-9115
This take-out joint excels at anything with mock duck, and I never leave without an order of hot pot dumplings, rich with ground peanut and radish.
7. Yemen Cafe, 176 Atlantic Avenue, 718-834-9533
I’d go for the fassolia alone–a savory mash of white beans with onions and tomatoes bound together with scrambled eggs. Each plate comes with wonderfully puffy, charred Yemeni flatbread.
6. Metro Cafe, 4924 Eighth Avenue, 718-437-7980
I love this family-run, friendly Sichuan joint, with its oddball Japanese snacks (one of the owners used to work at a Japanese restaurant) and ultra-fresh dishes replete with garlic, ginger, chiles, and Sichuan peppercorns. Try bean curd and Chinese celery or braised fish fillet covered in a slick of chile oil and ground peppercorns.
Heading further into Sunset Park, coming right up….
5. Yun Nan Flavor Snack, 774 49th Street, 718-633-3090
Run by an extremely friendly couple, this small shop offers wonderful rice noodle soups and cold rice noodles, but I always get the hot and sour dumplings.
4. Stone Park Cafe, 324 Fifth Avenue, 718-369-0082
Endearing in its dependability, Stone Park turns out nothing but delicious stuff. I’ve never once had a carelessly cooked meal here. Mornings bring bluefish cakes with poached eggs, one of the only brunch dishes I’ve ever loved. The burger is fat and juicy, and so are the fried oysters. The mammoth pork chop is the paragon of the form.
3. Ba Xuyen, 4222 Eighth Avenue, 718-633-6601
The oily mashed sardines, the fat, sweetish pork meatballs, the caramelized barbecue pork…you can’t go wrong with any of the sandwich fillings at this banh mi shop. Each crisp-crusted baguette is also loaded up with pickled carrot and daikon, and tons of cilantro, while the pate and mayo squish together deliciously.
2. Luigi’s Pizza, 686 Fifth Avenue, 718-499-3857
Bandying claims of “the best” around gets ridiculous–I don’t know if Luigi’s is the best pizza in Brooklyn, but I do know that it’s my favorite. You must get a fresh mozzarella pie to really appreciate the place. I’m partial to the fried eggplant and garlic topping. Gio, the second-generation owner, pulls the crackly-crusted pizza from the oven and applies liberal squirts of his secret sauce olive oil, flavored with herbs from his father’s giant garden in Staten Island.
And, finally, my favorite, at least for today….
1. Grand Sichuan House, 8701 Fifth Avenue, 718-680-8887
I go to this place for what I think is the finest Chong Qing chicken in Brooklyn–the morsels of chicken fried crisp and juicy, the flurry of dried red chiles toasty and hot. We also always get the awesome, tingly dan dan noodles and Chengdu fish, unless it’s cold enough outside to get the hot pot. I always leave feeling high as a kite, hopped up on chiles and peppercorns.