24 Things You Really Need to Eat in Brooklyn
Manhattan? Who Needs Manhattan?
These days, Brooklyn is so hot that it’s more than just a borough--it’s a lifestyle. And nothing is more important to that lifestyle than food. (OK, fine, maybe vinyl too.) From New York classics like pizza and bagels to some of the city’s best ethnic enclaves to a fair amount of locally sourced, artisanally crafted, farm-to-table fare, Brooklyn has it all. Here are the bites we can’t live without.
1. The Classic at Di Fara
Everyone from Mayor Bill de Blasio to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has called this Midwood legend the best pizza in the city (if not the world). Get ready to wait--for an hour or more--but that’s only because owner Domenico Demarco is painstakingly making every single slice himself.
2. Blueberry Buttermilk Doughnut at Peter Pan
This charmingly un-fussy Greenpoint bakery is like a time warp. It started serving the city’s best cake doughnuts over 50 years ago and hasn’t changed a thing since.
3. Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings at Pok Pok
Sweet, sticky, spicy and funky. These utterly addictive wings will haunt your dreams.
4. Porterhouse at Peter Luger
The most iconic New York steak at the most iconic New York steakhouse. This dry-aged monstrosity (to be fair, it serves two) comes sputtering hot and drenched in clarified butter.
5. Salted Crack Caramel Ice Cream at Ample Hills
The caramel flavor in this sophisticated scoop is so intense, it almost tastes smoky. It’s a must-try (but don’t worry; it also has cotton candy for when your inner child takes over).
6. Smoked Meat Poutine at Mile End
Crisp French fries, smothered in gravy, smoked meat (think: thick cut pastrami) and cheese curds. As Uncle Jesse would say: have mercy.
7. Miso Ramen at Chuko
New York has pretty swiftly become a formidable ramen town, and Chuko has some of the best. Rich, hearty and full of perfectly springy noodles, it’s comfort in a bowl. Don’t skip the fish sauce brussels sprouts either.
8. Cheesecake at Junior’s
If you looked up cheesecake in the dictionary, it would be this.
9. Beef Rib at Hometown BBQ
You’ll have to channel your inner Wilma Flintstone here--the beef ribs are the size of your forearms and loaded with smoky, fall-apart-tender meat. Hands down the best barbecue this side of the Mason-Dixon line.
10. Bee Sting at Roberta’s
If you told us five years ago that we’d be waiting four hours for pizza in the gritty, industrial neighborhood of Bushwick, we’d have called you crazy. But that was before we tried the Bee Sting. With sopressata, spicy honey and a perfectly blistered, wood-fired crust, it’s a revelation.
11. Roast Beef Sandwich and Cheese Fries at Roll-n-Roasters
Tucked away in far-from-Manhattan Sheepshead Bay, this kitschy 40-year-old drive-in feels about a hundred miles away from hipster Brooklyn. The roast beef is juicy and piled on a fresh, squishy roll, and the “cheez” sauce flows like water. What more could we ask for?
12. Crispy Oyster and Bacon Pad Thai at Talde
We didn’t think that there was much you could do to make pad thai better. Turns out fried oysters and thick-cut bacon do the trick.
13. Tagliatelle Al Ragu at Al Di La
We love this perfect little Italian trattoria--homey enough for a family dinner, romantic enough for date night. Plenty of people come for the braised rabbit, but we like to keep it simple with a tangle of freshly made pasta coated with intensely flavorful ragu of beef, pork and veal.
14. Hummus at Mimi’s Hummus
Smooth and velvety, with a deep green ribbon of olive oil on top.
15. Brick Chicken at Marlow & Sons
The menu changes daily at this Williamsburg favorite, but you can always count on the crispy, lemony brick chicken and mustard greens.
16. Turkey Leg Sandwich at Henry Public
Be warned: This is no ordinary turkey sandwich. The leg in question is roasted, braised for hours in milk and then piled on thick Pullman bread with house-brined pickles and crispy fried onions.
17. De Rajas Torta at Don Pepe’s
Part grocery store, part juice bar, part deli, this little Sunset Park shop is quite the multitasker. We come for the authentic Mexican sandwiches, particularly this fiery combination of sausage, jalapeños, avocado, tomatoes, onions and refried beans. And a side of Tums.
18. Knafeh at Tanoreen
Leave room at the end of your Lebanese feast for this special dessert--layers of shredded phyllo dough with sweet cheese, pistachios and rosewater. And leave an extra 15 minutes, too: Each one is baked to order.
19. Butcher’s Steak at St. Anselm
This tender cut of hanger steak is one of the most flavorful--and one of the best bargains--in town. Make sure to get some of the beautifully grilled veggies on the side, too.
20. Okonomiyaki at Ganso Yaki
A thick egg-and-cabbage pancake, studded with pork belly and topped with a sweet, creamy glaze, which comes out sizzling in a mini cast-iron pan. It’s Japanese street food at its finest.
21. Square Slice at L&B Spumoni Gardens
Nothing says summer in Brooklyn like a doughy Sicilian slice, covered in tomato sauce and pecorino and washed down with a paper cup of pistachio ice.
22. Salted Caramel Apple Pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Great. All apple pies that don’t have a layer of salted caramel in them are now ruined for us.
23. Ship’s Biscuit at Saltie
Traditionally, a ship’s biscuit is a hard, tasteless cracker that sailors took on long journeys. Nothing could be farther from that than this glorious breakfast treat--perfectly soft scrambled eggs and creamy ricotta on pillowy foccacia bread.