Yemen Café's ambience recalls that of a cafeteria—the bare tables are dominated by families whose gigging toddlers race around the dining room, and the ice water and sweet mint tea are self-service. The casual atmosphere makes it that much easier to focus on the food here, which is soulful, delicious, and a great bargain.
Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Saul Bolton opened Red Gravy with the desire to pay homage to the Italian-American experience. The menu is inspired by recipes and traditions that immigrants brought from the shores of Southern Italy to the blocks of Southern Brooklyn; changes were made only to reflect the different ingredients available in their new homes.
The components of the French Dip ($12) at Iris Takeaway don't quite take off until you dress them in jus, but once you do, you're on your way to a satisfying sandwich.
With its huge barbecue platters, hefty burgers, and meal-sized appetizers, Waterfront Ale House unabashedly serves up the style of "go big or go home" classic American pub fare not suited for dainty eaters. Still, it's not the size of the plate, but the little touches that make good food great—and this longstanding bar has perfected just that.
Sahadi's is without a doubt one of the city's best markets, an unbelievable collection of everything Middle Eastern and beyond. "Sahadi's is a Middle Eastern market wonderland," frequent shopper Erin says, "there are just no adequate words to describe it." Take a look around the shelves in our tour.
Sam Sifton may have left the New York Times' Dining section, but has hasn't stopped eating out. The now-National Editor tells us where to eat in his Red Hook neighborhood and beyond, including a sandwich "best consumed with a Manhattan Special coffee soda and two tabloid newspapers in 30 minutes or less, sitting in the front seat of an American-built vehicle."
Iris Cafe's new takeaway shop in Brooklyn Heights is like the best version of a neighborhood bodega. There's a deli in the back with sandwiches and salads made-to-order, rows of colorful drinks in the fridge case, and chocolates near the register. All of the products featured here are either locally sourced or personal favorites of owner Rachel Graville (and she has great taste).
It's almost impossible to resist an avocado-based sandwich, and the Avocado Sandwich ($8.50) at Iris does not disappoint.
Mayo joins avocado on seven-grain bread for an extra creamy bite of toast.
In a world of serviceable but average turkey sandwiches, this one stands apart as one we can really get behind.
You almost expect to see a beet salad on every menu these days, but this one's unlike any other you've met. Forget the predictable goat cheese and walnuts. These roasted beet wedges are carefully layered with paper thin, shattery shreds of cocoa tuile. Chocolate and beets together? And you get to call it a salad? The sweet, earthy beets actually work really with the delicate, slightly bitter cocoa sheets.
At cozy Cafe Catania in Brooklyn Heights, the sandwich list is impressive. But I'd recommend you skip the menu and go for a manager's suggestion: their sarde a beccafico on semolina with a bed of arugula and a healthy squeeze of lemon ($11.75). Pricey, but more than worth it.
Boerum Hill's standby for Mexican standards, Fast and Fresh Burrito Deli is not quite in the same league as the taquerias of Sunset Park, but it's nothing to scoff at if you need a serviceable torta or a pair of tacos in a pinch. The deli's breakfast tortas ($3.50 each, $4 after 11:00 a.m.) make for an particularly good meal on the go, offering a few options for mixing and matching.
Bedouin Tent's leg of lamb sandwich ($8) rolls just-baked pita around green letttuce, tomato, onion, and (of course) slices of roasted leg of lamb. The well-done lamb meat is powerfully seasoned, particularly heavy on black pepper and roasted garlic and nudged to a higher level of flavor by the house's tasty lemon-mint mayonaise.
Walk into Tazza just north of Atlantic Avenue (that barely Brooklyn Heights zone), and you'll find a chalkboard wall menu covered in sandwich options. This one with roasted eggplant and tomatoes is on a soft square of focaccia, which thankfully doesn't suffer from that depressingly dry, dense chew that so many focaccias do.
[Photographs: Andrew Strenio] Colonie opened on Atlantic Avenue back in February, and the neighbors have been loving it up ever since. It's across from the Shell station in a beautiful space that has a live fern wall in the...
The Heights Cafe is a pleasant brunch spot, worth visiting as much for its proximity to the Brooklyn waterfront as for its simple, satisfying fare. Their menu aims to go beyond the standard bacon-and-eggs dishes as well, with creative touches meant to liven up classic dishes.
The sandwich itself is not much besides pastrami: a few shmears of mustard keep things together on Jewish rye. If you're still unconvinced this is the real deal, try their black and white cookies, homemade daily and with icing so freshly slicked you can still see the knife strokes in the fondant.
The roasted turkey is freshly sliced off a very large turkey breast (the kind you'd find at a Pilgrim's Thanksgiving), and bacon is there only as a sidekick—if you gave it any more stage time it'd steal the show.
Iris Cafe doesn't have an official brunch menu. The sandwiches and salads are available all day, but it's especially hopping inside the Brooklyn Heights nabe cafe during prime weekend brunching hours. Look on the framed chalkboard for the Smoked Bluefish Salad ($9.50). The glistening little pieces of fish from Acme Smokehouse in Greenpoint (it's their only local fish) are salty, smoky, and buttery atop a bed of lettuce leaves, hard-boiled egg slices, and roasted asparagus.