Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Joel Hough's Fort Greene (and Clinton Hill)

Neighborhood Guides

Locals' guides to New York neighborhoods.

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Joel Hough's farm-to-table style has helped to define such restaurants as Barbuto, Cookshop, and most recently, Il Buco. His passion for bold flavors and fresh ingredients brought him to what's arguably the farmer's market capital of New York: Fort Greene, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Occasionally Joel ventures East for a really, really good doughnut, but on most weekends you'll find him in the neighborhood, scouring the Brooklyn Flea or rattling off one of the most mouthwatering bagel combinations we've ever heard.

Joel's Picks

Pizza: Luigi Pizzeria is the best New York slice in Fort Greene. It's gotta be the sauce!


The Smashburger. [Photograph: Nick Solares]

Burger: I know Smashburger is a chain, but it's a fine burger, cooked to order, and it trumps Five Guys and Shake Shack.

Sandwich: The Spicy Pork Cemita from Castro's Mexican Restaurant, across from the post office. If you've never had a Mexican-style sandwich, either a cemita or a torta, go get one today. Chase it down with a pineapple agua fresca.

Coffee: No question—WTF Coffee Lab serves outstanding coffee prepared in a variety of ways that are all great. I love a cold brew in the summer and usually go for a macchiato when I have time to sit and savor.

Plain glazed doughnut. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Breakfast: It's not quite Fort Greene, but Dough is slowly building its cult status in the city. The café au lait doughnut is tremendous.

Bagel: I'm not much of a bagel guy, but Bergen Bagels does a mean Pumpernickel bagel with smoked sable, scallion cream cheese, cucumber, and black pepper.

Beer, wine, or cocktail bar: Dick and Jane's is a cozy spot with good cocktails. It's a great place to take your better half or the one you are courting. And then Putnam's has a great selection of draught beer. They always have a cask beer, too!

Chinese takeout: Kum Kau is takeout only, but this place kills it. It's solid New York Chinese. Stick to the standards, like the General Tso's chicken, and you can't go wrong.

Delivery: Buff Patty doesn't deliver on Sundays, which is the only day of the week I get delivery, but this Jamaican restaurant is a must for the goat roti and patties. Their fried chicken is tasty too.


Solber Pupusas from Brooklyn Flea. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Can't-miss spot: Okay, I hate to be trendy, but the Brooklyn Flea has a pretty awesome selection of food on Saturdays. I have a serious weakness for pupusas, and the ones served up at the Flea are top-shelf and made to order. Pork and cheese is the way to go! I could spend an entire afternoon there eating and browsing the vintage goods if my kids would allow me to.