Brooklyn is almost five times the size of Manhattan and, technically, is a little bit cooler. Where else but on the L train could one see, as I saw, a Hasidic man chanting his prayers plaintively as is his Sephardic wont when a similarly black-clad hipster sits behind him and similarly starts moaning, from a whisper to slow crescendo, Steam’s 1969 hit, “Na na na, hey hey goodbye”? Where else would a neighborhood cafe be filled with more titty then Scores? (Who cares if they’re all breastfeeding? C’mon, it’s Park Slope!) And where else, until April 11, can you get a three-course meal for $20.06? Nowhere! It’s restaurant week here in the County of Kings, dubbed ambiguously Dine In Brooklyn (is this an imperative to the general populace or an apostrophe to Brooklynites?). At any rate, the borough is expansive, the choices encyclopedic and a quick guide useful.
Park Slope: Despite its annoying kid-friendliness, Park Slope has become a destination for dining. Applewood, which was voted one of Brooklyn’s top five restaurants, offers extremely fresh nouvelle American cuisine. Around the corner, Bar Minnow fries the crap out of fishes and clams with the skill and elan befitting its Le Bernadin-trained chef, Aaron Bashy. And of course, you’ve got your 5th avenue standbys, Blue Ribbon Sushi and Blue Ribbon Restaurant, the Brooklyn embassies of Bruce and Eric Bromberg’s happy Manhattan family.
DUMBO: The new Tribeca boasts a few of its own classy joints. Five Front Street, located in a brownstone almost directly under the Brooklyn Bridge, is offering a $20.06 dinner; and the River Cafe, that lodestone of Brooklyn cuisine, is opening its hold to the hoi polloi with a lunch special. Less centrally located, Clemente’s Maryland Crabhouse way out in Sheepshead Bay takes home the prize for verisimilitude of a Maryland crab house (none of that Mary’s Fish Camp/Pearl Oyster Bar bougie imitation) and for delicious crabs.
One of the ironies of Brooklyn’s Restaurant Week is that many of the participating restaurants regularly offer prix fixe dinners in the neighborhood of $25, so perhaps the best way to approach the promotion is as an invitation to cross over one of the many bridges connecting the small island of Manhattan with the larger (or Long) island of Brooklyn, and therein to dine.