Search HPS:

This area does not yet contain any content.
Tuesday
Jul142015

Open for Business: The Perfect Potato, 172 Fifth Avenue

A Belgian-style fry shop called The Perfect Potato has opened at 172 Fifth Avenue, betwen Degraw and Sackett. There's a rather limited menu, as can be expected: just fries, poutine, and milkshakes.

European-style fries are fried to order and served in cones, and there's a wide selection of sauces: ketchup, Dijon mayo, mayo, and malt vinegar are free; coconut curry, zucchini basil, heirloom tomato, gorgonzola tarragon, wasabi mayo, sriracha ketchup, thai chili lime cashew, miso roasted red pepper, and Moroccan tagine with apricot sauces are are available for $2.

There are also several varieties of poutine (the uber-popular Canadian dish of fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds): classic (with curds made specially for the shop), mushroom, roast pork, and "hangover cure" (with gravy, curds, fried eggs, onions, peas, and candied bacon). As for milkshakes, they're available in creative flavors including peanut butter and jelly, preserved lemon, mango lassi, banana cream pie, plain vanilla, and Bourbon pecan.

The shop was absolutely packed when I dropped by on Sunday, and while nothing looked especially healthy, it all looked delicious; the fries were golden brown and freshly-fried, and the poutine looked gutbustingly tasty.So far, Yelp reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

Belgian-style frites shops aren't easy to come by in this city; the most popular one, Pommes Frites, was sadly destroyed in the East Village explosion in March and is still working to get back on its feet. That shop was nothing short of beloved, and this seems set to be a success as well.

The Perfect Potato, 172 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. Phone: (917) 909-0465.

Wednesday
Jul012015

Open for Business: Brooklyn Burgers & Beer, 259 Fifth Avenue

Park Slope's newest burger joint, Brooklyn Burgers & Beer, opened a week ago today on the corner of Fifth and Garfield. Thankfully, it looks like some real care went into both the menu as well as the design.

The dimly-lit restaurant is run by two friends, and they've sourced their ingredients from a host of local purveyors, including Baked in Brooklyn, Balthazar, and Brooklyn Brine. Grass fed meat comes from Boerum Hill-based butcher Dellapietras, and is a 50% chuck, 50% brisket blend. All patties are eight ounces.

The menu is fairly expansive; you can choose from a wide variety of patties, buns, toppings, and sauces, or choose from one of their creative burger options. Those include their flagship B&B Burger (bacon, brie, onion ring, special sauce, and arugula on brioche); The Motherload (bison patty, truffle mac and cheese, and bacon on brioche); and the Blue Moon (topped with turkey bacon, blue cheese, garlic aioli, and a sunny side up egg). Other options are made with lamb, tuna, black bean, and kobe patties, as well as fried chicken. There's also plenty of of appetizers (wings, maple bacon, fruit guacamole), sliders (pork belly, crisy fish, falafel), and sldes (three fries, corn on the cob, onion rings, cucumber apple slaw). It's really clear that it's all about the burgers here, which is a good thing.

The space is smartly laid out, and there's a very solid selection of beers on tap as well as cocktails, many of which are beer-based. So long as there's a market for burgers in this neighborhood (which there certainly is, even though there's plenty of competition), I see this place doing very well. Cheeburger Cheeburger this ain't.

Monday
Jun292015

Closed for Business: Brooklyn Central Pizza, 289 Fifth Avenue

Some sad news for brick oven pizza lovers: Brooklyn Central, the Neapolitan pizzeria that opened on Fifth Avenue between First and Second Streets in October 2012, has shut down. The windows have been papered over and the phone has been disconnected. Many thanks to the several tipsters who reached out to let me know, and for reader Gabo for forwarding the above photo.

Brooklyn Central opened with a fair amount of fanfare, namely because of their custom-built Stefano Ferrara pizza oven and the fact that the two owners, Naples-born Roberto Patriarca and Matt Hyland, were both veterans of Boerum Hill's renowned Sottocasa. Hyland left just six weeks after its opening (he's since opened Clinton Hill's super-popular pizzeria Emily), but the closure is still a bit surprising because it had a reputation for very good pizza and it always seemed to have a fair amount of diners inside. And aside from Franny's and Giuseppina's, there aren't many other places in the area to get a solid and authentic Neapolitan pizza.

That said, there are a few potential reasons for its closure: It never got nearly as much buzz as it probably should have, their Twitter and Facebook pages were lacking, the seating arrangement was awkward and the back yard never got much use, the menu probably could have used some pasta dishes and wider non-pizza options, they didn't deliver, and, of course, high rents.

The space has been on the market for the past few months; if it's been rented we'll probably be learning about its replacement soon.

Thursday
Jun182015

Beauty Bar, Ollie & Ry Spaces On The Market

Two prime Fifth Avenue storefronts have appeared on Craigslist within the past couple weeks: Beauty Bar, the outpost of the popular mini-chain between Garfield and Carroll; and Ollie and Ry, the still-new bagel and sandwich shop a block further north.

Beauty Bar, which took over half of the space formerly occupied by Ozzie's Coffee in 2012, has a solid concept but never really found a niche in an area with no shortage of great watering holes. They recently started offering free hot dogs with every $10 purchase but put an end to that, but their $5 PBR tall boy and shot of Evan Williams deal is still a certified steal. It's one of the few storefronts with a frontage that's parallel to Fifth Avenue, making for a truly great space. The 1,400 square foot space is on the market for $8,500.

As for Ollie and Ry, this is one business that sadly seemed misguided from the get-go. The two chefs who opened it in February had a good idea — sell quality coffee, baked goods, bagels, and sandwiches inspired by their Korean and Chinese heritages — but the space never really came together, they didn't develop much of an online presence or buzz, and it just never found a footing. Which is a shame: these guys really know how to cook, and their house-cured salmon is among the best I've had. Hopefully they can find a place that allows them to make the most of their talents. The 2,400 square foot space (which includes a full kitchen, two walk-ins, and bagel-making equipment left over from its time as Bageltique) is available for $6,300, which isn't a bad deal.

Wednesday
Jun172015

Open for Business: Fresh Bite, 168 Fifth Avenue

A new corner deli called Fresh Bite opened on Sunday on the corner of Fifth Avenue and DeGraw Street, in the space last occupied by bodega Magic Deli.

It's a fairly straightforward if no-frills sandwich shop, with a decent selection of Boar's Head cold cuts, cold salads, and other supplies needed to make a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches. There's also a small selection of hot foods in the steam table. All breads and other baked goods (including bagels, which looked surprisingly decent) are delivered daily from a wholesale bakery in Long Island City.

Along with sandwiches, there's a decent variety of sodas and other beverages as well as chips and salsa and other snack foods, with an emphasis on healthy and organic items. The owners are friendly and seemed quite happy to be open and serving the neighborhood. While there's certainly no shortage of places like this in the area, that doesn't mean that they're not good to have around.