Hazar Turkish Kabab
As is typical of Turkish ocakbasi (kebab houses), the glass display case shows off the restaurant's kebab options.
Hazar's chicken shawarma is generously marinated and well-crisped on the spit.
"We get takeout from this place all the time. There's a lot of eating takeout in pajamas going on at home."
Chicken baked in its own fat with cumin, black pepper, and chili. That'll do.
Crisp and loaded with herbs, these falafel are most interesting for their lentil-like shape, which means even more browned crust per fritter.
These fat, creamy beans cooked with tomato and olive oil had us going back for another helping.
Another showcase—this one sweet, full of pastries from all over the Middle East way beyond baklava. We preferred the semolina- and cheese-based pastries to the others.
A thin layer of semolina cake rides over a base of salty cheese. Ask for this warmed up so the cheese reverts to its gooey, stringy state.
Cedars is one of just two places I know of in New York to get dondurma, a Turkish ice cream with a uniquely chewy, stretchy texture. It comes in flavors traditional—bitter mastic gum—as well as new, like blueberry.
Balady Halal Market
Balady boasts a substantial selection of olives.
Olive oil ziggurat
You know you're in a serious Middle Eastern market when the olive oil comes in tower form—and the individual bricks are five-liter jugs.
Down the aisle
Right by the cash register. Yes, this is an impulse buy item at Balady.
"What don't you get, Max? They sell hookah and nuts."
The Owl's Head
This new-ish wine bar looks more Park Slope than Bay Ridge, but co-owner John Avelluto has lived in the neighborhood almost as long as Allison has.
The menu focuses on offbeat, unusual wines several dollars a glass cheaper than what you'll find in Manhattan, and just as good.
An impromptu tasting
Okay, if we must. From bubbly and white to...
...this aggressive but balanced Gran Cerdo red, perhaps our favorite of the lot.
Leske's has been making bread, Scandinavian pastries, and doughnuts for over 50 years in Bay Ridge. They recently opened a second branch in Park Slope.
With a peanut butter glaze! This is best when fresh, and our favorite of Leske's doughnut offerings.
"Every night in Bay Ridge ends at the halal cart across the street or Pizza Wagon. When I was a kid I used to get trashed and go here, and it's still a drunk hangout today."
A very solid slice that hasn't changed a bit over the years.
A nice Sicilian too, with a crisp crust and sauce that seeps well into the top layer of dough.
The prices haven't changed much either. Check that 80 cent small soda!
This looks pretty much identical to all the Vietnamese spots in Chinatown, but with some subtle improvements over most of them.
The pho is exceptionally clean-tasting but rich, and the rice noodles and grilled meats are all prepared well.
Allison and Matt
Maybe the Robicellis will escape Brooklyn some day. But I suspect they'll be kicking and screaming the whole way out.