I rarely take advantage of New York’s Restaurant Week anymore, but I was excited to see my adopted borough of Brooklyn launch it’s own version of the discount dining event a few years ago: Dine in Brooklyn.
This year’s Dine in Brooklyn kicked off yesterday and runs for 10 days through March 25. Depending on your dining-out budget, splurge or save (or both!) on three-course $20.10 lunch menus and $25 dinner options at more than 200 restaurants from Gravesend to Greenpoint. (Beverages, taxes and tips are extra.)
I have to admit that I was disappointed to see some of my favorite places missing from the list of participants: The Farm on Adderley and Purple Yam (Ditmas Park), No. 7 and The General Greene (Fort Green) and Franny’s (Prospect Heights), to name just a few.
Cobble Hill: Bar Tabac
Comfy neighborhood French bistro on Smith Street that always has a chill crowd. Excellent mussels, steak frites and duck confit. Late-night kitchen: 1 or 2 a.m., depending on day. Live music. Plus it’s just one block away from the Bergen Street stop on the F and G train lines. www.bartabacny.com
Cobble Hill: Apartment 138
Practically next door to Bar Tabac (and oddly listed under Boerum Hill in the Dine in Brooklyn directory), the wonderfully casual Apartment 138 serves up consistently good comfort food in heaping portions. The calamari is always tender, and the dish to return for is the BBQ baby back ribs, served with sweet potato hash and mac ‘n’ cheese. The meat falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. www.apt138.com
Park Slope: Bar Tano and Bar Toto
These two authentic “Italian bistros” are long-time favorites, and I’ve tried just about everything on both menus. Regardless of the dish, the ingredients are always super fresh and tasty. You can’t go wrong with the pizza or panini at either place. At Toto also try the calamari and the braised pork meatballs over polenta and spinach. At Tano, the best bruschette are the gorgonzola, walnuts and honey and the goat cheese and fig spread. Toto is definitely in the Slope, on 6th Avenue at 11th Street. Tano, however, sits near the Gowanus border at the corner of 9th Street and Third Avenue.
Fort Greene: The Smoke Joint
Even though my favorite bartender (who got me to try his bacon-infused bourbon many moons ago) departed for the nearby No. 7, I still love this place for some of the best ribs in NYC. All the ribs are tasty, as are the spicy wings. And an even better deal than the usual Dine in Brooklyn discount? It’s offering 2-for $20.10 lunch and 2-for-$25 dinner, so you know my scale will be creeping upward the next two weeks. www.thesmokejoint.com