Dine in Brooklyn: halftime report

Monday marked the start of the tenth annual Dine in Brooklyn. Through March 21, select restaurants offer three-course meals for $20.13 (lunch/brunch) or $28 (dinner). It’s a great way to experience some of the borough’s finest establishments.

Dine in Brooklyn 2013 logoAnd experience them I have. I took advantage of the offer for lunch – and of my freelancing schedule – every day this week. My taste buds are pleased; my wallet, not so much. But sometimes you gotta spend money to save money, and with discounts of up to 50%, what better time than now?

(Here’s a map with all of the options. Whoever made it – “Traci” – deserves major props.)

Following is a summary of my travels so far. I’m taking a bus to DC Wednesday evening, so I can go 10/11 at best. Where else should I go in my remaining five days?

I’ve been documenting my quests in six-second Vine videos, which you can follow on Twitter using the tag #VineInBrooklyn.

Monday: al di là
248 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. (718) 783-4565. Northern Italian. Lunch only.

Starter: tomato and onion soup – poached egg
Entrée: cavatelli with greens – ricotta, braised kale, lemon, garlic, chili flakes
Dessert: chocolate and pear cake
Drink: campi raudii (red wine)

This was my third time here, and I’ve yet to be disappointed. What more would you expect from a Michelin-rated restaurant?

All three courses were excellent, but the edge goes to the dessert. It was so soft and buttery – a great way to finish off a fine meal. The campi raudii (I love words with double i’s) complemented the cavatelli, even though a white might have been more appropriate.

My friend Brooke went à la carte, getting the farro salad (spelt, roasted squash, cauliflower, red onion, baby spinach, toasted hazelnuts, crumbled goat cheese) and the tagliatelle al ragu. She’s a classically trained chef, so I was glad to hear her agree that the food was outstanding.

Tuesday: The Farm on Adderley
1108 Cortelyou Road, Ditmas Park. (718) 287-3101. Seasonal American. Lunch only.

Starter: Jerusalem artichoke crostini – lemon, olive oil, pinenuts
Entrée: warm quinoa salad – trevisano, pickled carrots, hazelnuts, sunnyside egg
Dessert: pear upside-down cake – financier, crème chantilly
Drink: ginger beer

I wrote about this meal in my last post. (For those seeking the quick rundown: everything was terrific, but the crostini was divine.)

Wednesday: Stone Park Café
324 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. (718) 369-0082. New American. Lunch only.

Starter: slow chowder – bacon, escargot, house-made oyster crackers
Entrée: grilled hangar steak – potato rosti, seasonal mushrooms, red wine reduction
Dessert: banana pecan cake
Drink: water

While the world was watching white smoke pouring from a Vatican chimney, I was enjoying a white chowder, the most delicious I’ve ever had: with bacon, escargot, and mushrooms.

The rest of the meal was very good, but couldn’t hold a candle to the opening act. I lucked out as it was the chowder’s last day.

I ate alone at the bar, so I made friends with bartender Robert. He gave me a lesson in stocking alcohol after a few reps came in to hawk an organic vodka. To (sort of) quote Goodfellas: “You know anything about this restaurant business?”

Thursday: Miss Favela
57 South Fifth Street, Williamsburg (South Side). (718) 230-4040. Brazilian. Lunch, dinner. Cash only.

Starter: salgadinhos sortidos (assorted appetizers)
Entrée: Strogonoff de frango (chicken in white cream sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes)
Dessert: Brigadeiro de Colher (“Don’t miss this! This is all you need!”)
Drink: caipirinha

As you might recall, I went to Brazil for a week in November. I had a fair amount of cachaça there and swore off the sugary substance for a while. But I was ready for it again by Thursday, and the caipirinha went down without a problem.

I had heard this place gets rowdy on weekend nights, so I was surprised to find the dining room completely empty when we walked in. There’s a Brazilian-beach vibe, with brasileiro decorations and Bob Marley music.

By far the highlight was the dessert: delicious chocolate goop with sprinkles. At the bottom was what appeared to be a pulverized Oreo cookie, the final kick to a nearly perfect plate. Or, in this case, cup.

My friend Paxson got the moqueca, the traditional Brazilian fish soup. He loved it.

Friday: Watty and Meg
248 Court Street, Cobble Hill. (718) 643-0007. Seasonal New American. Lunch, dinner.

Starter: watercress and Bosc pear salad – gorgonzola, toasted bread crumbs, horseradish vinaigrette​
Entrée: organic grass-fed burger with gruyere
Dessert: cappuccino panna cotta

This was an audible, as I realized last-minute that Lunetta was dinner-only.

The interior has a French bistro vibe, and the music ranged from Sam Cooke to Air. Our window table gave us a good view of vibrant Court Street.

My starter and dessert were delicious. My friend Alana got the soup and the tuna tartare off the Dine In Brooklyn menu; she thought all three plates were fantastic, particularly the dessert. I agree on this count although my burger was a bit overdone and tasteless.

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3 Responses to Dine in Brooklyn: halftime report

  1. Kathy N. says:

    Really dig this post, esp. since you’re showing food, hehe! I think I’ve finally caught up on reading your blog – had no idea there was SO much to see in Brooklyn! Being a SoCal gal, I’m relatively ignorant of many parts of NY, outside of NYC and parts of Long Island. I’ve been to Brooklyn three-four times (mostly in Prospect Park and the last visit was in Park Slope, I think), and each time, it was a brief stop for a meal with a friend or two. I never took the time to take in the area. Love seeing the old buildings. Keep it going!

  2. Keith says:

    Thanks! Yes, there’s a lot to learn, and I’ve still got much to cover.

    Glad I had someone show me how to embed my Vines!

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