Brooklyn isn’t the biggest borough in the city, but it has the most people. Consequently, there are a lot of great places to eat, and that’s exactly why the birthplace of Busta Rhymes deserves its own Hit List. Scroll down for our favorite new Brooklyn spots, and check out our NYC Hit List for all the other new places we like in the whole city.
At Chino Grande in Williamsburg, you can sing karaoke and eat a whole lobster with Sichuan au poivre sauce. This place is owned in part by one of the people behind Win Son, and the food here is maximalist and difficult to classify. Expect things like scallop ceviche with green strawberries, a little gem salad showered with furikake, and a plate of chilled mussels doused in aioli with some chives and peanut sprinkled on top. We especially like the charred chicken skewers, and we highly suggest you get a cocktail while you’re here. Try the tequila highball that pairs celery with absinthe (our new favorite flavor combo). Karaoke starts at 10pm, and, if you request a song, you’ll have to sing it in front of the whole dining room. So maybe down one of those tequila highballs first, and do a quick sound check before you leave your house.
One of our highest rated Philly restaurants, the Israeli grillhouse Laser Wolf, recently opened a location on the roof of the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg, and you should make a reservation ASAP. Laser Wolf is modeled after the Israeli skewer houses known as shipudiya, and they’re serving meat, fish, and vegetables cooked over an open fire. But what you’re really going to remember is the glorious platter of vegetarian salatim every table receives at the beginning of the meal. You’ll get about a dozen metal bowls of things like a potato salad with silky radishes, a smooth babaganoush, and a light, fresh fennel and orange salad that tastes particularly good on top of the grilled trout. The food is enough to make us want to come back, but the location makes this Philly import a strong contender for a new essential NYC restaurant. The seating is outdoors (but covered), and you can feel a breeze from the East River while you look out at the Manhattan skyline.
If you want to casually sip on a cab franc rosé in a warmly lit space while also enjoying some of the best small plates that you can currently acquire in exchange for money, check out Place des Fêtes in Clinton Hill. As the name suggests, this wine bar from the Oxalis team is doing its best impression of something you’d find in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. The wines by the glass are predominantly from Spain and Chile, and the limited food menu revolves around meats, cheeses, and little bites of chilled seafood. You’ll find anchovies, raw scallops on the half shell, and a meaty flounder tartare in a pool of the finest olive oil you’ll encounter all year. Despite how good the food is, we wouldn’t send you here for a full, hearty dinner. Stop by, give a few small plates your full attention, then drink some funky wine from fashionably stubby glasses as you and a friend touch base on your five year plan.
Eyval is the newest restaurant from the team behind Prospect Heights’ Sofreh, and it’s next door to Sofreh Cafe (from the same owners) in Bushwick. Starters and small plates are the move here, and you should order as many as your table can agree on. Portions are small, and the plating is chic, so your first impression might be that you’re getting pretentious food at pretentious prices—but dishes like the fava bean borani topped with sprigs of dill and the potato tahdig sitting in a rich plum sauce have a startling amount of flavor for how simple they sound. This restaurant has buzzy energy that keeps the waitstaff on the move, so it’s good for a leisurely night out with a group of friends who want to eat some of the best Persian food in Brooklyn. The energy is also infectious enough to make a solo dinner at the bar surprisingly fun.
Wenwen serves the sort of food you'd want to scarf down before getting horizontal on a couch to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the 17th time. Nothing feels precious at this Greenpoint spot—instead, the Taiwanese dishes like the spicy 886 Noodle (think of a beef noodle soup without any broth) and the extremely tender braised pork belly with big chunks of cuttlefish feel nostalgic and comforting. Unlike Wenwen’s sister restaurant 886, it won't seem like most of the diners here have an NYU student ID, but this place still feels fun, especially when you see the bathrooms that could double as private karaoke rooms and the cartoonishly large Shyboy 4XL cocktail.
The space where Peaches Hot House used to be in Fort Greene recently turned into a casual Caribbean restaurant serving jerk chicken that we can’t currently remove from our dreams. Whether you get this chicken in wing form or as an entree, it’ll be covered in a smoky dry rub and doused with sticky, spicy sauce. Island Shack’s menu shows a range of influence, with everything from Jamaican oxtails and rice and peas to Trini-style roti and curry goat. Although the restaurant is currently waiting on their liquor license, it’s already a high-energy place to meet a date or a couple friends for a group dinner (and the scene will probably get even rowdier with rum cocktails in the mix).
We’re usually inclined to be suspicious of a place that offers both a dosa and a wild mushroom ragout on their menu under the banner of “uniting cultures.” But the food at Lore is actually good. About half of the dishes at this Park Slope restaurant are Indian-inspired, including items like a dosa with some coriander-heavy coconut chutney and sea bream served with a yogurt sauce blended with mint at peak-freshness. On a menu that also includes a smash burger and brussels sprouts, these things might seem out of place—but as each dish passes the taste test, you’ll stop asking “Why?” and instead shrug and think “Why not?” Stop by this neighborhood restaurant for a casual weeknight dinner with an indecisive friend or a dimly-lit second date when you don’t want to seem boring.
If you put Kevin Durant on the absolute best college basketball team, he’d still stand out. And that's how we feel about Pecking House’s spicy and numbing fried chicken with Tianjin chilis and Szechuan peppercorn sauce. Everything else on the menu seems merely good in comparison. What started out as one of the city’s most coveted delivery operations in Queens is now popping up at Rosalu Diner in Clinton Hill every Wednesday through Sunday from 5pm-8pm. If you want some things to go along with your chicken, we recommend the cold and vinegary butter bean salad and the salt and pepper duck drummettes with pickled jalapeños. Pecking House estimates that they’ll open their own permanent space in Prospect Heights around May, but for now, you can dine in, take out, or order delivery if you live near the pop-up.
Former Win Son chef Calvin Eng just opened Bonnie’s, a Cantonese American spot in Williamsburg. Reservations will be hard to come by for a while, but try to grab a walk-in seat so you can enjoy some of the best new food in the city. The XO cheung fun arrives with an impressive sear on the noodles, but the surprise hit at Bonnie’s is the yeung yu sang choi bao. This deboned whole trout is stuffed with minced shrimp, and it has a meatloaf-like texture with some crunch from water chestnuts to keep you on your toes. The cocktails also rise to the occasion, especially the tequila-based Riptide that manages to incorporate just enough lychee, an ingredient that’s often show-stealing. We’d like to bring a pitcher of it home.
Does Williamsburg need a new brunch destination? Not really. But it has one, and we’re glad. Edith’s Eatery is the latest spot from the people behind Edith’s Sandwich Counter (which started as a pop-up at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint), and it’s part cafe, part grocery store. You can grab a table up front and eat near a row of shelves stocked with tahini, pickled vegetables, and Sahadi spice blends, or you can walk to the back where there’s a takeout counter with coffee and baked goods. We highly recommend the chicken schnitzel served alongside warm, griddled cornbread, and you should also grab yourself a buttery malawach with a side of bright green zhug. The atmosphere is extremely casual (and 1950s retro), and the tables are first come, first served—so anticipate a wait if you stop by on a weekend. Feel free to peruse the shelves until your table is ready.
We don’t normally pay friends to host parties where we get to schmooze with new people, drink wine out of tiny cups, and eat delicious food. But if we were going to pay for such a thing, $60 would be a pretty good deal–especially if it meant eating some of the city’s most exciting new food in a setting that feels like an apartment hang. That’s what’s happening at Dept. Of Culture. This fantastic Bed-Stuy restaurant serves a rotating prix-fixe meal inspired by the owner’s upbringing in the Nigerian state of Kwara. Before each of the four courses—whether it’s a ginger-heavy fish pepper soup, mushroom suya, or pounded yam with efo and spicy tomato sauce—the chef/owner shares a personal story about the dish you’re about to eat. The space can only fit about 15 people, most of whom share a communal table up front, and you can BYOB—although you might see a server walking around with some complimentary white wine. Make a reservation via DM. It’ll be a blast.
Albadawi is from the same people who run Ayat, although it’s a little more formal than its sister restaurant. Rather than order at a counter, you sit down at this Brooklyn Heights spot and have your food brought to you on terracotta plating. You’ll find some Ayat repeats on the menu—but we suggest trying something new like the ouzi lamb, tender to the bone, served alongside cardamom-spiced rice topped with almonds, peas, and herbs. Another newcomer, Albadawi’s bamia is full of pleasantly bitter okra, and it’s even better the next day, after marinating in its flavor more overnight
If Gage & Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn feels like a relic of old New York, that’s because it is. The restaurant opened in 1892, became a TGI Friday's in 2004, then reopened in 2020. The atmosphere is what makes the place—the dining room is full of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, there’s a revolving door from the original construction, and the bar up front is the perfect place to have a solo martini and some snacks. A round of clams casino with kimchi butter or a plate of devils on horseback will enhance any high-end date night or outing with a friend.
If you live in Crown Heights, visit Agi’s Counter at least twice a week to pick up pastries and an Alpine cheddar egg sandwich on a buttery Hungarian cheese biscuit. Much of the salad-and-sandwich-dominant menu here is dedicated to luxurious takes on Jewish-American classics, while other dishes feel more like distinct odes to Hungarian and Austrian food. Try the cheese-stuffed palacsinta crepes or the towering Leberkase breakfast sandwich with an over-easy egg, thick griddled pork pate, and a sweet pear mostarda. Agi’s certainly feels like a spot for grabbing and going, but there are still plenty of places to sit once you’ve placed your order at the counter. Just make sure to get a couple of pastries before you take a seat, and keep an eye out for special Hungarian doughnuts on Sundays.
Nura is from the people behind Otis, an East Williamsburg restaurant where you can eat satisfying, vaguely Italian food. We like Otis, but it’s never as busy as it deserves to be—and maybe that’s why the owners decided to go big with Nura. This Mediterranean-leaning Greenpoint spot is located in a former auto body shop, and it has high ceilings, a huge skylight, and a bar in the middle that functions as the restaurant’s town square. Start your meal with the bread basket that comes with naan and a few Parker House rolls. The basket is accompanied by a few dips—such as a bright spring pea hummus with chimichurri—and it’s perfect for sharing with one or two people. Next, get the charred prawns that come in a tangy pool of habanero butter. We’ve seen people order seconds, and we’ve thought about doing the same.