Editor's note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We'll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you're looking for. Email [email protected] with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!
Happy Tuesday! This week on Ask the Critic: Dinner near Barclays Center and throwing a British bash.
Eating Before A Nets Game
What's a great restaurant to go to before a Nets game? I love food and all kinds and types....what are your suggestions for places in Brooklyn?
You might not know it from the traffic-clogged, many-laned intersection on which it stands, but Barclays Center is at the intersection of fantastic eating neighborhoods—Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Propsect Heights, Fort Greene, and Downtown Brooklyn—all rich with restaurants and bars.
If you're willing to take a 10-minute stroll down Flatbush—and willing to get there early, as the crowds can be thick—the hottest thing going right now is the newly-reopened Franny's, now down at Flatbush and Sterling, with neo-Neapolitan pies and excellent pastas, vegetables, and other Italian-influenced fare.
For a quick bite, there's Bark—you can't lose with anything on the menu at this everything-homemade hot dog boutique. (And with vegetable specials and great, don't-taste-like-fake-meat veggie dogs and burgers, all sorts of eaters can be happy here.) Or Miriam—I love this Israeli restaurant any time of day, but their happy hour—two-for-one drinks and meze at the bar, meaning you can get 4 dishes for $8, is unreal.
Walk over to Vanderbilt Avenue for 606 R&D, with a thoughtful, concise menu in a charmingly cozy restaurant. Or The Vanderbilt, with carefully crafted cocktails and an across-the-board tasty menu, whether you're getting the sriracha brussels sprouts or a full sausage plate. Awesome weekend brunch. too.
I am a longtime reader of Serious Eats, first time question asker. I volunteered to help set up a NY alumni dinner as part of the 700th anniversary of the founding of Exeter College at Oxford. To that end, I'm looking for a particularly British restaurant (ideally in/near Midtown) where we could host such an event. Something along the lines of The Spotted Pig, perhaps, but farther uptown.
Luckily, there is something of a Spotted Pig, farther uptown: The Breslin, also from chef April Bloomfield and restaurateur Ken Friedman. It's got the energy, spirit, and affinity for pig parts of the Spotted Pig, but in a larger, more restaurant-like setting, not quite the downtown gastropub's (lovably) cramped quarters. There are Scotch eggs and a beef and Stilton pie; Old Speckled Hen and cocktails with Pimms; fries are called crisps, dessert is called pudding. It's simply an excellent restaurant—everyone's sure to eat and drink well. Plenty of "British" spots in America can seem like overpriced fish-and-chip theme parks, but not The Breslin at all.
Two other thoughts, if you're willing to venture a bit further. Uptown: Jones Wood Foundry, for bangers and mash and sticky toffee pudding. Or in the West Village, but easily accessible by subway from anywhere in Midtown: Whitehall, with a Tube-station-meets-downtown-restaurant aesthetic, a formidable gin list, and a menu with distinctly British touches. (Their sister spot around the corner is called Highlands, but we're guessing a Scottish spot is the last thing you want!)
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