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DNA Footwear Coming to 230 7th Avenue

An outpost of DNA Footwear, which specializes in Uggs, is headed for the space last occupied by A&P Laundromat, on Seventh Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets. The owner told me that he expects it to be open within a couple weeks. 

There are three other locations of DNA, the closest one being Fifth Avenue and President Street. 


Park Slope Restaurant Shutters, Merges with Green Kitchen

Park Slope Restaurant, the diner that's been at 492 5th Avenue (between 11th and 12th) since 1974, has closed up shop and moved a few doors down into Green Kitchen, which opened in April. 

Green Kitchen's menu, which focuses on healthy salads, wraps, sandwiches, and the like, will stay the same, but the complete bill of fare from Park Slope Restaurant will be served there as well. Both establishments are owned by the same person, and merging two similar restaurants less than a block from one another doesn't sound like such a bad money-saving idea.


Friday Foodporn: Moutarde's Windows

Since re-opening in June with a new look and menu, Moutarde, on Fifth and Carroll, has actually been serving some much-improved French food, which is a good thing considering it's one of the few French restaurants in the neighborhood. My favorite aspect of their renovation, though, has to be the breads and desserts on display in the front windows every day. Bet that's been good for business.

Moutarde, 239 5th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-623-3600.


Then & Now Thursday: The Carleton Club

On the corner of Sixth and St. Marks, just opposite Flatbush Avenue, sits the stately Carleton Club, a landmarked Renaissance Revival building first opened in 1890. It was one of a handful of clubhouses for the rich and well-connected to sprout up in the area around this time (i.e. the Montauk Club), and generally provided wealthy businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and politicians with a place to have a drink, shoot some pool, and hobnob with the neighborhood's other wealthy hoi polloi. 

Along Sixth towards Flatbush, 1911. The Providence Apartments are visible in the background.
The club didn't last very long, and was renamed the Monroe Club and the Royal Arcanum club in later years. In 1907 the building was purchased by Roman Catholics and became home to the Cathedral Club, which it remained until 1974, when the building was renovated and converted into condos. I'm not sure if any of the interiors are still intact, but the exterior still retains the clubhouse's former glory. 

Top picture: Brooklyn Eagle, March 9, 1890.


Business of the Week: Al di Là

Ask ten Park Slopers what the neighborhood's best restaurant is, and most likely seven or eight will tell you Al di Là, a rustic trattoria on Fifth Avenue and Carroll Street.  It's cozy, authentic, romantic, not too expensive, and, most of all, delicious.

Since opening in 1998, Chef Anna Klinger and her husband Emiliano Coppa (who manages the front of house) have attracted a loyal following to their menu of northern Italian specialties that rarely, if ever, changes. Pastas include malfatti (ricotta and swiss chard gnocchi) in a brown butter and sage sauce, and a traditional tagliatelle al ragu (below), which has to be one of the most satisfying plates of pasta in all of Brooklyn. As a main course, sliced steak with arugula, braised rabbit with black olives and polenta, and whole young chicken with fennel salad and mashed potatoes are always good options. 

Tagliatelle al Ragu
They don't take reservations, unfortunately, and prime-time waits can stretch to over an hour. In 2004 they opened up a small wine bar just around the corner, though, and it's an ideal spot to pass the time (grab one of the seven tables and eat there if you can, the tiny dining room in there is one of the most romantic spots in town). 

They recently started serving lunch every day except Tuesday, and a lazy afternoon is one of the best times to go. It's rarely crowded during this time, and the sun streaming in brightens up the space. The lunchtime menu includes salads and sandwiches (go for the pork belly), as well as most of the dinner menu's pasta dishes (the veal ravioli in a lemon butter sauce, below, is a standout).

Veal Ravioli with Lemon Butter Sauce
Al di Là is one of those places that could easily rest on its laurels and let quality decline, as a crowd is basically guaranteed every night either way. It doesn't, though. Klinger constantly strives to deliver a flawless plate of food every time, and it's exactly that precision and consistency that cements its reputation as one of the best Italian restaurants in Brooklyn, if not the entire city. 

Al di Là Trattoria, 248 5th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-783-4565.