Has it really gotten to the point where Manhattan needs a bar that celebrates the culture of Brooklyn? Apparently it has. We were skeptical of The Brooklyneer in concept alone - it's got a big mural of the Brooklyn Bridge on the wall, and a bunch of food on the menu that's named for the neighborhoods there. It's almost so ridiculous that for a while we were convinced it was all just an elaborate joke from the people at The Onion - "Manhattan Bar Serves Food From Brooklyn, Idiot Foodies Actually Eat There."
After getting over the initial ridiculousness of it all, we've actually warmed up quite a bit to this idea of Brooklyn on Houston Street. The Brooklyneer is most definitely a bar with food, not a restaurant with a bar. But in terms of bar food in New York City, this is some of the best around. It turns out that Mile End hot dogs and artisan pickles are hard not to like, and they make a few sandwiches here that are straight up amazing. The place has also proven to be useful hangout, despite the fact that it can be a crowded mess some nights. They've got all of our favorite beers on tap (Captain Lawrence, Kelso, Sixpoint, Coney Island) and a drink we think about all day Agua Escondida, which almost makes it worth battling all the nine to fivers hanging out here after work.
Oh, and for all you crazy intense soccer fans out there, The Brooklyneer is the place to watch. They take their fútbol very seriously, so you and all your MLS fan friends can come watch "matches" here. Just kidding. We all know there's no such thing as MLS fans.
Even if you're not eating a meal, you should be ordering the bacon caramel popcorn as a bar snack. We promise, you won't regret it.
Choose from an assortment of pickled veggies like green beans, garlic cherry tomatoes, okra, asparagus, deviled eggs, country pâté, Napa cabbage kimchee, and all kinds of other goodness from Brooklyn Brine, Pickle Guys, Satur Farms, Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn Cured, and more. Five items for $14 on a big wood platter to share sounds mighty good to us. We've sampled all the pickles (whiskey sour, half sour and bread & butter), the chipotle carrots, deviled eggs, and fennel beets and thoroughly enjoyed pretty much all of it.
Oh yes, this thing is amazing. We love the spicy brown mustard dipping sauce, and the mustard is spicy enough to clear up your sinuses and make your eyes water.
An impressive, think outside the box bar-salad. The nicely sized tub of greens comes with cayenne roasted walnuts, cherry tomatoes, radish sprouts, shaved Cabot white cheddar, hard-boiled egg, and buttermilk-avocado dressing. Eating healthy never hurt anyone.
Most Mexican restaurants can't even make a good taco in NYC, so we were pretty psyched to find that The Brooklyneer makes a sneakily good one. We suggest both those of the Pork Carnitas and Grilled Beef. The Brooklyn Brewery braised meat is topped with house-made salsa verde on fresh Buena Vista Tortilla Factory corn tortillas. These were a unanimous crowd-pleaser.
This sandwich reminded us a bit of our favorite Brooklyn bar-room hangout, Post Office. This "Greenpoint" sammie is made with Steve’s kielbasa, Pickle Guys sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and spicy Russian dressing. It's simple, delicious, and terribly unhealthy.
It's not surprising that the hot dogs at The Brooklyneer are good - they're Mile End all-beef wieners. If you can handle a little fire, The Spicy Kimchee Dog is where it's at. Also, we love the classic Brooklyneer Dog with mustard, ketchup, and Buttermilk Channel bread and butter relish.
These sliders are as good as any slider you'll ever find at a bar, and where else are you going to order sliders unless you're at a bar? The Red Hook Sliders with pulled pork shoulder and Sixpoint Brownstone Ale BBQ sauce are ridiculous. The meat is moist and incredibly flavorful, and the little potato bun is soft and a tad greasy. The Sunset Park Sliders are equally enjoyable. Slow-roasted pork shoulder, smoked ham, gruyere, Pickle Guys half-sour pickles and spicy mayo. Definitely get some of these for your table to share.