Love it or hate it, 'Artisanal Brooklyn' is a well-deserved nickname. There have been so many tasty additions to the dining landscape in our borough that even the French took notice.
In the event that you couldn't keep track of all the commotion, here we've gathered 2012's most popular restaurant stories from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Prepare to work up an appetite (and possibly make a few reservations):
If mixed bean salad with pecorino and lemon-shallot vinaigrette, entrees like hangar steak with “cowboy fries” and tomatillo pepper salsa, or wood-oven trout with fennel, Yukon potatoes and creole sauce sound up your alley, you'll love Alice's Arbor, a sit-down café that doubles as a miniature grocery.
Feeling Trés Brooklyn? Then head on over to Le Paris Dakar for some authentic Parisian crepes and Teisseire Sirops.
Still hungry? The latest addition to the 'Choices' dynasty—which includes Choice Greene, Choice Market and the crazy-addictive Dough doughnut outpost—is Manny's. Mmmm.
Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill & Boerum Hill
Neighbors were willing to line up as early as 5:30 p.m. to get inside Columbia Waterfront District's Pok Pok NY, serving authentic Thai street food and utterly addictive chicken wings. Meanwhile in Carroll Gardens, Arthur on Smith's Italian comfort fare kept diners lingering late into the night. But the most hotly anticipated restaurant opening of the 'hood was inarguably Dassara Brooklyn Ramen and any news we printed about its playful Japanese noodles.
The organic juice bar and Mexican restaurant Salud has made its mark on Ave. H, but owner Eddie Larios is looking for more. Meanwhile, Romy Dorotan left his renowned Soho restaurant for Cortelyou Rd. to offer a wide variety of Filipino dishes at Purple Yam. And over at Mimi's Hummus, Avi Shuker and head chef Mimi Kitani talked about why they love cooking in Ditmas Park—while hinting at plans for expansion.
Fort Greene-Clinton Hill
Tio Pio co-owner Javier Espinoza revived his Spanish-American food chain's Willoughby Street location after a severe fire and eight months of recovery. When Hardee's burned down at its 358 Myrtle Avenue location, and relocated across the street, that opened the door for Burger UrWay owners Michaela Khononov and Greg Evelkin to move in and makeover the space for themselves.
The name on every Sloper's lips this year was Talde. Chef Dale Talde's eponymous Southeast Asian restaurant opened on 7th Avenue was quickly followed by piggy mecca Pork Slope on 5th and then the announcement not long after that Talde would be taking over the kitchen at Thistle Hill Tavern—creating a restaurant trinity in less time than it takes most chefs to stabilize a single joint.
In non Talde-news, the other huge reveal this year was that Calexico would be taking over the Blue Ribbon Sushi restaurant space. But with Blue Ribbon proper still just next door, this felt more like a gain than a loss.
Al di La owner's expanded to Washington Ave. with Bar Corvo this year, bringing with them individual lasagnas, their famous tagliatelle al ragu, as well as new dishes including a roasted pork shoulder sandwich and macaroni and cheese for the kids. Now they are planning a third restaurant just around the corner!
Over on Vanderbilt, two City Bakery alums began offering freshly made doughnuts, Saxelby cheese, rotisserie chicken and cauliflower infused with chicken drippings at 606 R&D and the neighborhood responded by constantly salivating.
Rosco's Pizzeria on Franklin Ave may seem deceptively simple by comparison, but take a closer look and you'll find grass-fed beef, organic flour, sopressata, roasted garlic, and wine on tap.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hamilton's has arrived. This welcome addition to 2828 Fort Hamilton Pkwy. offers a homey atmosphere, amazing soundtrack, and an eclectic but thoughtful menu of dishes ranging from seared ahi tuna with shaved fennel and garlic cream to grilled goat cheese with sauteed figs and candied pecans to kimchi rice with a fried egg on top—and a solid selection of craft beers to boot.