When we think about eating in New York, it’s easy to come up with a handful of restaurants or locations that are home to some of the most popular destinations. But what about the everyday New Yorker—are they really going to eat dinner in Time Square?
Of course, the answer is “no.” For a Crown Heights resident like me, discovering the Franklin Avenue restaurant scene — an easy walk from the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden — has been as tasty as it’s been exciting. The area is experiencing a renaissance, and these days, you can show up just about every week and count on being surprised with a new opening! Nevertheless, the veteran eateries still offer some of the best bites on the block.
Last fall, I experienced the best BLT I’ve ever eaten at the Mayfield. Stacked with thick-cut, crispy bacon, vibrantly-flavorful beefsteak tomatoes, and leafy, green lettuce on toasted, warm bread, this sandwich haunts my dreams. They also make a unique kale and green apple salad, tossed with sunflower seeds, a salty white cheese and lemon-flavored vinaigrette. This could be my perfect meal.
Down the street, Chavela’s turns out some of the best Mexican plates I’ve eaten outside of Mexico. One night with my out-of-town parents, we ordered nearly one of everything on the left side of the menu –all small plates! We were shocked as, within minutes, each colorful dish was paraded out, a lovely surprise for us impatient and ravenous wolves. We couldn’t wait to jump right in! The tostada was my favorite—a crunchy, corn tortilla covered with warm refried black beans, topped with lettuce, cheese, fresh avocado, cilantro and cool crema. I’ve been back dozens of times, and recommend the Chilaquiles Verde for brunch—any variation of plato don when sharing or hungry; and to wash it all down, don’t miss the sparkling white sangria. Who doesn’t love chilled bubbly wine juice on draft?
When I want to dress it up, I beg my husband to go to Bar Corvo. Effortlessly fancy with edison lightbulbs, natural wood paneling and a sweet backyard garden, this upscale, made-for-date-night-and-hipster-toddlers-alike dining room offers sophisticated comfort food with Italian influences. Drawn in by the friendly waitstaff and inviting bar one night, I tucked in to their cauliflower appetizer and knew I was in for a treat. It was crispy and succulent, with a tangy caper finish. Moving on to entrees, I have since enjoyed their squid ink pasta, baked lasagna, and summer salads, and can highly recommend their mac and cheese, despite the fact that it’s not actually macaroni. It’s penne, that’s all I’m saying.
Lately, it seems like there are so many new restaurants in and around Franklin Ave. that it’s impossible to keep up. Here’s a list of other great spots worth a visit:
Lincoln Station – Internet cafe, order-at-the-counter format, same owners as Bar Corvo. Amazing breakfast sandwiches!
Guero’s – Order-at-the-counter, great for late lunch, cheesy nachos with spicy pickled jalapenos.
Glady’s – Opened in spring 2013. The original grilled cheese is my favorite, but I am always tempted by the pulled pork.
Little Zelda’s – Coffee, homemade pop-tarts. What else can I say?
Dutch Burger – I love it when a burger place has killer milkshakes and malts. And a full bar to spike them.
Franklin Park – Attached to Dutch Burger, with an outdoor beer garden.
Barboncino – Authentic thin-crust, wood-fired pizzas