New York City may be rife with some of the best restaurants in the world, but only 76 of them can boast the coveted award of a Michelin star. Out of those, nine are in Brooklyn.
Some are the kinds of neighborhood restaurants that you wish were perched on your tree-lined corner, while others are fancier, special-event establishments with pricey tasting menus, esoteric ingredients and innovative cooking techniques. But all have one thing in common: a shared passion for creating and cooking some of the best food this side of the East River.
If you’ve suddenly come into a large sum of money (congratulations), you might consider spending those dollars at Aska, Williamsburg’s two-Michelin-star restaurant. The only way to dine here is by choosing from one of two menus: the Aska tasting menu sets you back a nice $265 for a multi-course feast. Here, chef-owner Fredrik Berselius dreams up modern Scandinavian dishes made using exotic ingredients and novel techniques, such as cured lamb heart or roasted king crab and potato burned in leaves. No matter what, expect a filling meal.
Blanca, is a tiny, covert restaurant housed in Bushwick’s beloved Roberta’s. Instead of pizza, though, the kitchen at Blanca produces 25 to 31 courses, four nights a week, for $198 per person. Pull up one of the 12 chairs and feast on novelties such as a ribbon of pancetta strewn with black peppercorn, roast duck with beet mole and a plush Hawaiian sweet roll laced with pineapple juice.
Claro is a love song to Oaxaca, but one sung in Gowanus instead of Mexico. After all, the corn found on Claro’s menu (as well as the dishware and tiles) is flown in directly from Oaxaca. All the cheese and sausages are made in-house. Dishes include masa (dense, doughy corn) showered with chorizo and queso fresco, and crisp tostadas crowned with yellowfin, orange and a tangle of chicharron. When the weather’s warm, guests seated in the backyard can watch as cooks press tortillas and slide tlayudas, memelas and tostadas onto the wood-fired comal.
Located in Bushwick, Faro is all about pasta. Flour is milled in-house and used to produce dishes such as curls of squid-ink spaghetti twisted with crab and uni cream, and caramelle, candy-shaped pockets bursting with guanciale and beef ragu. Everything, from the grains to the produce and meat, is sourced from local farms and cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Housed in a 120-year-old brownstone in Clinton Hill, The Finch is a seasonal American restaurant. Dishes are small and easily shareable, and include a pink trout tartare gussied up with apple, kohlrabi and smoked roe, and duck breast and leg confit dressed with carrots, cardamon and smoked bread pudding. Once the plates are cleared, you must stick around for at least one dessert, which could be lemon custard crowned with blue elderberries, or carrot cake with crème fraiche.
A husband-and-wife duo are the brains behind Meadowsweet, an American restaurant in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. Here, chef Polo Dobkin dreams up dishes such as smoked St Louis ribs slick with bourbon barbecue sauce, and chicken galantine (a deboned and stuffed chicken) flanked by potato dumplings and escarole, while his wife Stephanie Lempert is at the helm of the beverage operations. Many vegetables served in the restaurant are sourced from Meadowsweet Farm, the pair’s farm in upstate New York.
From the team behind the beloved Speedy Romeo, Oxomoco slings innovative Mexican food using the same kind of wood-fired techniques found at the pizza parlor. There are a slew of purple-corn tacos – from beet ‘chorizo’ to chicken al pastor – plus charred carrot tamal and grilled branzino. At brunch, you’ll want to order the not-to-be-missed hamburguesa pombazo featuring a puck of meat crowned with smoked onions and queso asado, hugged by a soft roll.
This steakhouse has been around far longer than Williamsburg has been cool (it first opened in 1887), and is brimming with smart-suited waiters toting bubbling steaks, crackly onion rings and bowls of creamed spinach. There are few steakhouses in New York City that are as charming or storied as Peter Luger, so live it up here with the famous porterhouse for two followed by apple strudel, piled with a mountainous pillow of homemade schlag (whipped cream).
There’s no restaurant in New York City that boasts views as perfect as The River Café. It’s perched beneath the Brooklyn Bridge on a barge off Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the restaurant’s soaring windows boast an unobstructed, unending spectacle of the Manhattan skyline, bridges and the Statue of Liberty. As boats float along the river, you’ll dine on foie gras terrine, poached lobster and strip steak flush with puffs of bone-marrow duchess potatoes. Brunch, lunch and dinner are fixed price menus, which include desserts like warm soufflé and goat’s cheese cheesecake.