Where To Eat in Park Slope

October 21, 2009 | By | COMMENTS

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As we close the chapter on my Park Slope existence, it’s time to reflect on all the food that I’d eat there, day in, day out. The food in Park Slope is very good, sometimes great, sometimes not-so-great, but almost always consistent. It’s best divided into two categories: the food you should eat if you live there and the food you should eat if you visit.

If you’re visiting Park Slope, there are two essential destinations and a few semi-essential destination.

The first essential destination is among my favorite restaurants in all of New York, maybe even the country, maybe even the WORLD, and that’s Franny’s. I love Franny’s and Franny’s loves me; at least that’s the way it feels when I go there, the service is so kind and engaging and the food is just so, so good.

Now, before I show you pictures of our last meal there (it was our big celebration Farewell Park Slope dinner) you may quibble and say that Franny’s isn’t in Park Slope. Pish posh!

Ok, so maybe it’s in quote/unquote “Prospect Heights,” but if you live in Park Slope, as we did, Franny’s FEELS like it’s in your neighborhood, and you’ll go there so often that your very presence as a Park Slopian will confer upon Franny’s official status as a Park Slope restaurant. So THERE.

Now, the food. You must order appetizers: they use only seasonal, local ingredients and somehow they finesse the maximum flavor out of items you may otherwise shrug off as not that exciting.

For example, pumpkin. Do you get excited about pumpkin? I don’t. But here, at Franny’s, they roast it and then serve it with Parmesan and Balsamic vinegar. It’s to die for:

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Or apple salad. Who does a cartwheel for apple salad? At Franny’s, you will. They slice the farm-fresh apples thin, coat them in high-grade olive oil, and toss them with celery, walnuts and Pantaleo (which is, I believe, a goat cheese):

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If it’s your first time to Franny’s, you must order the pizza. The pizza there is just chewy enough, just charred enough, and topped with big-flavor items like anchovies and red chile flakes on Craig’s favorite pizza or clams and garlic on my favorite pizza. Hands down, it’s pretty much my favorite pizza in New York.

Sometimes, though, I order the pasta, and I’m never disappointed. On my last night there, I ordered this penne with roasted cauliflower (they used that freaky cauliflower that looks like the mutant cousin of broccoli), anchovies, pine nuts and currants. It made my head spin it was so good:

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And for dessert, you simply can’t ignore their gelato. It’s the kind of gelato that makes you roll your eyes back in your head and groan with pleasure; especially their toasted almond gelato which, miracle of miracles, they were serving that last night we were there.

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So if in Park Slope, near Park Slope, related to someone whose drag name is Park Slope, make it a point to visit Franny’s first and foremost. It’s the best.

The other best must-visit destination is, of course, Al Di La, which is definitely located in Park Slope proper.

I’ve written many times about our wonderful meals at Al Di La: a dinner there with Diana in 2006, another dinner there with Diana in 2008, the time I ate calf’s liver there with Craig’s parents, and the time I ate lunch there with my parents.

It’s a charming space, the food is exquisite, and for a special occasion in Park Slope, you can do no better.

As for the semi-essential destinations, there’s Palo Santo, where Craig and I went one Valentine’s Day and enjoyed a lovely tasting menu and then there’s Moim, which serves excellent Korean food.

Lately, two new spots opened that may become essentials in due time: there’s the Bklyn Larder, which is owned by the peeps who own Franny’s and where they sell high-quality gourmet items, such as super nice olive oil, chocolate, and jam. You can also order sandwiches there and two weeks before I left, I ordered an excellent tuna fish sandwich that’s served with anchovies:

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Oh, and looking at the picture, you can see there was also a hard boiled egg on there. And the bread was unique, chewy and soft. I liked it.

The other new spot that’s getting much buzz these days is Bark, the place to go for artisanal hot dogs. On one of my last night’s in the Slope, I journeyed to Bark alone and ate the Bark dog which came with sweet pepper relish, mustard and onions. I ordered that with a side of onion rings and a cream soda:

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The hot dog itself was truly wonderful. Normally, a hot dog is just something I stuff in my mouth with little thought or care, but this one commanded my attention. It was smoky, you really tasted the difference in the quality of the meat, and, though many hot dog lovers celebrate the snap of a dog when you bite in (see: Katz’s Deli or Pink’s in L.A.), this one had no snap, which I appreciated. It was smooth and soft and, apparently, basted with lard. That’s one killer hot dog.

And now for the places to eat if you live in Park Slope. Or, more specifically, the places where I ate at least once a week and that grew to become favorites, not because they had great food, but because they were high-spirited neighborhoody joints that fed me well and were always consistent.

Let’s start with Taro Sushi. I went to Taro Sushi at least once a week, sometimes more. It was just so damn reliable. I always had the same waitress, the same Miso soup, the same iceberg salad with gloppy dressing, and then this plate of very good, if not quite extraordinary, sushi:

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All, including tip, for $12. Not bad for a local sushi joint, not bad at all.

Then there was Luscious Food which I used to think was not very good at all but which, over the past year, overhauled their menu and began using better bread and ingredients. In my last months as a Park Sloper, I’d go to Luscious food and order their Greek salad wrap but I’d have them add balsamic dressing just because it needed a little something something. That balsamic helped.

And then there’s A.R.E.A. What can I say about A.R.E.A.? I’m kind of embarrassed that I went there as often as I did. They served very ok bagels with decent enough lox spread and as a nice Jewish boy from Long Island by way of Boca Raton, I was happy to get my bagel fix just a few blocks away from my apartment. But if you’re just visiting Park Slope for a day or even a week? You really don’t need to go there.

Finally, there’s Press, which actually rises above all the other daily dining destinations as a place actually worth your time. They serve excellent pressed sandwiches and my favorite–#17–has just four ingredients: ham, brie, apple and mustard.

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It’s a truly great sandwich and one that I will greatly miss as I bide my time in the barren, foodless West Village. (Kidding!)

Moving on…. what have I left out? Oh, of course, Brooklyn Fish Camp. I went here all the time (when I could afford it) and though my heart will always belong to Pearl Oyster Bar when it comes to this sort of food (fish sandwiches, lobster rolls, etc), it was rather nice and convenient to have such an excellent place for fish so close to where I lived. And their smoked trout BLT is very much worth getting.

And Longtan! How could I forget Longtan?! People, we ordered Thai food from Longtan all the time. My personal favorite: wok-seared udon noodles. If you move to Park Slope and you want something delivered, order this. It’s like crack.

Finally, there are the brunch spots. We ate lots of brunch in Park Slope and narrowed our brunch options down to two places, both of which we visited quite frequently.

The first was recommended by my friend Shirin Keen; it’s where I took the picture you see at the top of this post. That place is Miriam which, I can tell you now, was two doors away from our apartment. We’d go there almost every weekend and order the Israeli breakfast which, again, is what you see in that top picture. It has eggs, pita bread, Israeli salad and labneh cheese. Get it with the O.J. which is fresh squeezed.

The other place is the Stone Park Cafe which, in my opinion, has one of the loveliest settings to enjoy a meal in Park Slope. My favorite brunch dish there was the shrimp and grits; it tastes truly authentic and it’s not a typical brunch item anywhere else in the city. And if you want to know how the chef there, Josh Grinker, makes an omelet, watch him teach me here.

Phew. Are you exhausted? That, I believe, was a pretty thorough look at the dining options in Park Slope. Did I miss anything? Park Slopers, let future Park Slopers know in the comments.

As for me, I’m still in boxes here in the West Village, getting shelves installed today so that we can finally finish unpacking. But as I wrote this post and reflected on my time in Brooklyn, the food–even the just ok stuff–is definitely what I’ll miss most as I start my life anew here on the isle of Manhattan. Park Slope may not be a prime destination for foodies, but if it is your destination, be sure that you can eat very well.

P.S. Don’t forget Gorilla Coffee!

Here are the addresses and info for all the places mentioned in this post:

Franny’s

295 Flatbush Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 230-0221

Al Di La Trattoria

248 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11215-1201

(718) 636-8888

Palo Santo

652 Union St.

Brooklyn, NY 11215-1103

(718) 636-6311

Moim

206 Garfield Place

Brooklyn, NY 11215

(718) 499-8092

Bklyn Larder

228 Flatbush Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 783-1250

Bark Hot Dogs

474 Bergen Street

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 789-1939

Taro Sushi

446 Dean Street

b/n 5th Ave. and Flatbush, Park Slope

718-398-0872

Luscious Food

59 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217-2198

(718) 398-5800

A.R.E.A. Bagels

55 5th Ave.

Between Bergen St. and St. Mark’s Pl.

Brooklyn, NY 11226

(718) 230-8889

Press 195

195 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 857-1950

Brooklyn Fish Camp

162 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 783-3264

Longtan

194 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 622-8444

Miriam

79 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217-3201

(718) 622-2250

Stone Park Cafe

324 5th Ave.

Corner of 3rd Street

Brooklyn, NY

(718) 369-0082

Gorilla Coffee

97 5th Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 230-3244

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