Bunny opened in the summer of 2018, and yet this Bed-Stuy spot has old-school charm. It’s owned and operated by a married couple from Istanbul and Hamburg respectively. Together they serve Turkish and German dishes, a combination New Yorkers rarely see under the same roof barring the occasional döner place. Bunny only accepts reservations via Instagram DM, the menu changes nearly every week, and you better show up to dinner with cash or a Venmo account. If it’s starting to sound like an essential location in a character-driven indie rom-com, you’ve got the right idea.
Like many family-run businesses spread across the city, Bunny is filled with regulars. Some of the wine listed on the menu was recommended to the owners by a diner, for example. On the patio, parents reach across the table to hand coloring books and bites of currywurst to their children. At the four-seat bar, someone will be sipping Campari sodas and chatting with the staff. The person taking your order may very well run the restaurant. And when they ask what you think of your mini eggplants, roasted until silken and then served chilled with basil and tomatoes, they’ll genuinely want to know the answer.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dining at Bunny. In fact, you’ll probably have a different meal each time you go. Think of the food as an ever-revolving door of Turkish and German staples tweaked to show off seasonal produce or something just plain old inventive. Neon green wasabi tobiko adds unexpected crunch to a mammoth slab of hot chicken schnitzel. Thick Bavarian mustard sweetens a mash of curried potatoes stuffed into filo pastry cigars. A salsa made with the drippings of smoked eggplant accompanies juicy lamb kofte kebab and simple grilled pide bread.
Despite the regulars and the 1980s records spinning behind the bar, Bunny stays relatively quiet. From your table you’ll be able to hear faint sounds of knives on cutting boards, oil sizzling in skillets, and the dinging bell at the pass whenever an order is ready. All this kinetic energy amounts to a perfect date night spot. Bring someone who appreciates schnitzel the size of a large oven mitt, three friends who you usually hang out with on a couch in an apartment, or possibly your family members who always insist on ordering their own dedicated entree.
Bunny is the sort of family-run neighborhood jewel you won’t find clogging Instagram feeds. That’s all the more reason to visit. If you’re sick of a certain Brooklyn restaurant scene that runs on Resy alerts and Aesop soap - or, more simply, you’re in Bed-Stuy wondering what to do for dinner on a Thursday night - remember Bunny.
Piping hot, flaky, and standing up-right like they’re showing off, these filo pastry cigars are the perfect way to start any meal at Bunny. They’re stuffed with quazi-mashed potatoes that have a spiciness that counteracts the sweet, zingy Bavarian mustard pool beneath. If you closed your eyes while eating this, you might think you were in the midst of a hybrid between a samosa and a soft pretzel dipped in mustard.
A good rule of thumb at Bunny is that you should order eggplant whenever possible. Take this cold salad as an example. Bunny roasts two mini eggplants to the point where you can smush the velvety center with the slightest tap of a fork. Then they chill the eggplants, dress them with fresh tomatoes as well as broiled ones, and add a citrusy vinaigrette to make everything feel fresh and cohesive. It’s the kind of cooking you’d find at the best dinner parties, where olive oil leads the way and everyone leaves happy.
There’s usually a dip with crudite available for snacking. If you’re with a group, munch on this creamy feta while you split a bottle of wine.
We’ve eaten our fair share of schnitzel (how can you argue against the appeal of a dish that’s essentially the equivalent of a massive chicken tender?), but never met one quite like this. Bunny doubles down on crunchiness by adding a plop of popping wasabi tobiko to an already crispy piece of chicken. Eat everything with a bit of the Bavarian mustard-drenched cabbage slaw.
Our favorite part of this herby lamb kofte is the smoked eggplant salsa its served with. The combination of charred eggplant drippings, roasted red pepper, and onion make each bite of pink-in-the-center lamb pop with acidity. Take a piece of the grilled pide and swipe up all of the vegetables on the plate like you’ve been tasked with cleaning the plate with a piece of bread.