Friday, December 22, 2017

Tourist at Home: Dumbo, Brooklyn Gets Even More Chic

dumbo brooklyn, brooklyn bridge park
Dumbo view, Brooklyn Bridge Park

One of my most elegant friends just sold her penthouse apartment in Dumbo. She feel the area has lost its neighborhood feel, and is constantly overrun by tourists. As someone who lives just a few miles away, I can see her point. On the other hand, Dumbo feels more and more fun.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a lovely place to run. I trained here both both NYC marathons, and the bathrooms and water fountains were much appreciated. Although there is a bike path, it as bricked parts to slow you down, plus masses of people walking in front of you, so I tend to avoid riding here.
dumbo brooklyn, brooklyn bridge park
Empire Stores; Cecconi's on the left

The Brooklyn Historical Society opened a branch in a renovated warehouse. Last summer, it was free on Friday evenings. The upscale Cecconi's, an Italian restaurant with branches in Istanbul, London, Berlin, and West Hollywood, has outdoor tables overlooking the park and a huge space with plenty of room around the tables. My in-laws complain about cramped NYC restaurants; they would love this.

Expensive, but priceless view

cauliflower at Cecconi's in Dumbo, Brooklun
Whole cauliflower
They won't love the prices; we couldn't find a decent bottle of wine for under $70. The food is also pretty pricey, but it is quite delicious.

In fact, the vegetarian entree of a whole cauliflower, cooked in the wood fired oven, was a bargain $15 (shh). It was covered in almond aioli, and served in dramatic fashion, with a steak knife plunged in the heart.

We also had a lovely burrata pizza, with wild mushrooms but no bresaola; yummy, but expensive at $25. I couldn't bring myself to get the $26 pizza with black truffle, zucchini blossoms and goat cheese.
dumbo brooklyn, brooklyn bridge park
Pizza with burrata

Truffle was also being shaved onto a pasta special, and the entire restaurant was heady with the aroma.

The kale salad and butter lettuce salads were fine, though not that interesting.

I would definitely go back for the bargain happy hour, with lower priced cocktails and snacks from 4-7.

More to come

Another branch of the private club Soho House is opening soon in the complex. Dumbo has truly arrived.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Geography Lesson Through Food: Where is Uzbekistan?

The cool lights at Nargis

Quick, can you locate Uzbekistan on a map? And did you know that the Central Asian country has food that closely resembles Mediterranean?
Have you traveled to Uzbekistan? Take a trip via Brooklyn

Nargis Bar & Grill, a new restaurant in Park Slope (there's another Brooklyn location in Sheepshead Bay) was my introduction to Uzbek cuisine. Though it specializes in meat kebabs, there were enough vegetarian choices.

Sadly, we couldn't sample the pumpkin samosas; the dough is made with lard. But we had a huge appetizer plate, the assorted mixed spread, with four different dips and three kinds of pickled vegetables. The spread included hummus and baba ganoush and pickled cabbage.
Two kinds of bread and fresh salad

There was no bread, but we had two kinds; non-toki, a flat cracker that looked like matzo and non, a warm puffy bread.
Pumpkin dumplings

Steamed dumplings came in a vegetarian version, with pumpkin and sour cream. They are served in a steamer basket like one you see in a Chinese restaurant. When I opened the basket, we were enveloped in a cloud of spiced mist. The dumplings were delicious.
My camera lens steamed by the dumplings

We had a big fresh salad with feta cheese and a skewers of salmon. There was also a yummy side dish of potatoes with mushrooms.

Nargis has interesting cocktails. My fig and bourbon came with a fig ice cube.

The restaurant has very fast service, but we weren't rushed. After we paid, we sat for awhile, listening to music and enjoying the atmosphere.