Put some popcorn in front of Andy Choi, the executive chef of Cherry, and he's hooked. Give him a Jameson neat with the popcorn and he couldn't be much happier. While Choi has worked in kitchens from upscale places like Le Cirque to downtown's trendy Momofuku Ssam Bar, he simply craves good, unfussy food when he's home in Kensington, Brooklyn. He moved the to changing neighborhood a few months ago, and with a few stops in nearby Park Slope, Choi chatted with us about his favorite spots.
Pizza: If I'm in Kensington, I order from La Forchetta. I read some reviews on Yelp, and I just ordered it for delivery. It's my go to delivery now. I like to get spinach and chicken with broccoli. The crust has enough crunch and enough chew.
Burger: I like to get the burger at The Farm. It's really good farm-to-table style food. It's seasonal. The fat ratio to the burger ratio just makes your mouth water. They're also big and served on brioche bun. I order it rare with lettuce, onion and Swiss cheese.
Sandwich: I'll to go to Pork Slope, typically on a Sunday. I like their shrimp po boys and the pulled pork sandwich. The pulled pork is just cooked perfectly. It's not dry; it's falling off the bone good. The shrimp po boy...for me, I love seafood, so any seafood in any shape or form, I can't get enough.
Coffee: When I go for coffee, I like to go to Gorilla Coffee. Just black coffee. I walk when it's nice out and take my daughter, probably once a week. It's a good family thing to do. At home, my wife gets Stumptown.
Bagel: I like the Bagel Hole. At other places they'll do their baking early in the morning and that's what they have. The reason that drives me to the Bagel Hole, they bake all day long, so you're pretty much guaranteed a fresh bagel all day. The bagels are crusty on the outside, pillowy inside. Especially with Brooklyn water. I'll get a toasted everything bagel with lox and cream cheese. That's a Sunday thing for me as well.
Breakfast/brunch: For brunch, I also like to go to the Farm or sometimes Vanderbilt. I like that they do a lot with homemade sausages. As a cook, I respect charcuterie and the art of sausage making. They did a merguez that was really good. The spice blend they used was really nice. It wasn't too overpowering in your face like some merguez can be. It was very well balanced.
Delivery: For delivery, we really like to get Szechuan Garden. Our regulars are beef and broccoli, Singapore mai fun, and house fried rice (they use white rice then fry it, not that yellow rice). We tried everything almost once by us, and this one was by far the best one and closest.
Dive bar: High Dive. It's a dive bar. It's a little grungy. What drives me there is they give free popcorn. I'm a popcorn fanatic. If you give me free popcorn, I'll be there. Theirs is run of the mill, lightly buttered but salty. It's addictive. You can't stop and you have to keep drinking. I usually get Jameson neat.
Ice cream Amorino but that's in the city. That's the one I'll ever go to. I actually don't eat much sweets.
Can't-miss spot: My favorite is definitely Pork Slope. Their selection of beer and just the food they have. It's pork centric, but it's very approachable. It's good to go with a group of friends and share beers.