Seersucker

Fork and Strawberry Fork have been trying to make a play date for ages. Something – or someone – always gets in the way.

We are both MAD for fried chicken. And when I received an email from Seersucker letting me know that every Tuesday is Fried Chicken night, the necessity for a play date became far more urgent!

They don’t take reservations. Strawberry Fork and I arrived just before 6:00 on a Tuesday night and were let in at just after 6:00. Slowly but surely every table was full and people were waiting at the bar and outside. Even with this crowd, you are never rushed or pushed out the door. 

The staff is very friendly and knowledgable about the menu. They are ready with suggestions, but don’t hover over the table while you’re deciding. There is both sparkling water and tap water available. The sparkling is free and very crisp, served in a great light blue bottle that is constantly refilled.

As a starter, we shared the Southern Snack Tray. a large rectangular plate arrived laden with goodies – Surryano Ham, deviled eggs, pickled veggies, crudite, homemade chips and pimento cheese. The deviled eggs were great, creamy and  slightly spicy. The pickled veggies were great, but you really can keep pickled okra. It is more slimy pickled – if that can possible be.  Surryano Ham is simply a domestic version Serrano ham and nice with the deviled eggs and pickled veggies. The homemade chips were crisp and salty and perfect for scooping up the pimento cheese – which I had convinced myself – taste untasted – would be awful. It was far from awful. As a matter of fact it was pretty darn good – spicy, the pimento flavor really coming through, nice sharp cheese flavor.

Needless to say, we both had the Fried Chicken. This week’s fried chicken was a spicy fried chicken – and spicy it was. A half chicken, fried with a crispy crust and moist and tender on the inside, served on a slice of white bread – I wish I knew what the white bread was for, but that’s besides the point! Along side the fabulous fried chicken were 2 sides – savoy cabbage slaw and potato salad. The potato salad was nothing to write home about. The savoy cabbage slaw was slightly sweet, crunchy and cool. Really nice with the heat of the fried chicken.

We decided to share a dessert. We ordered the Salted Chocolate Brownie with Bourbon Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream. Not enough caramel. I don’t think the brownie was salted, but the caramel. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great. The better choice would have been the skillet pecan pie. It looked amazing!

Although Seersucker is only open for dinner Monday through Saturday and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, it is totally worth the time you may need to wait for a table.

Seersucker ~ 329 Smith Street ~ Brooklyn, NY 11231
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Burger Bistro & the Donut Burger

We absolutely adore the Burger Bistro! The service is great! The owners are great! The burgers are superb. Knork and Fork had dinner there a few nights ago, and being the nosey Fork that I am, I overheard a conversation about a special  burger for the weekend …

A DONUT BURGER

Really? When? Where? How? Have to there!

I had seen a donut burger on Man v. Food and was intrigued and grossed out at the same time. How can a burger on a donut possibly work. That being said, if anyone could make a donut burger work it would be the crew at Burger Bistro!

In a very donut entranced Homer Simpson way Fork spent the next 2 days repeating … must come back Saturday…. must come back Saturday … must come back Saturday!

Fortunately for Fork, Butter Pick was intrigued by the Donut Burger as well. Off we went … a little nervous … after all, this could be a disaster or a delight.

John greeted us, and all we could mutter was donut burger. And there arrives in front of you a beautiful combination of ingredients … a glazed donut (from Mike’s Donuts in Bay Ridge – some of the BEST donuts you have EVER had), a beef burger, cheese, a fried egg, and bacon. All stacked up, waiting for you.

Yes, yes, I know, sounds strange. But the beauty is in the combination of flavors – the sweetness of the donut, the saltiness of the bacon, the richness of the egg, and the wonderful beef flavor – my only dislike was the American cheese. First, Fork is not a huge American cheese fan, and I thought a different cheese would add just another layer of flavor. The bacon being chopped into Burger Bistro type bacon bits was perfect!

You didn’t want this burger to end. There were flavors just dancing around in your mouth.  I know this may not get to you in time to RUN to Burger Bistro, but go in, and BEG for this burger.

By the way, if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, follow the Burger Bistro, John made us privy to some super cool events and burgers coming up at Burger Bistro. You’re gonna want to be there.

7217 3rd Avenue ~ Brooklyn, New York ~ 718.833.5833 ~ @theburgerbistro
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Burger Bistro

It’s always great when a new place opens in your neighborhood. The Burger Bistro in Bay Ridge is a great new place. The food is good, the concept simple, the prices reasonable, and the staff and owners friendly and accommodating.

Fork and Knork’s first trip to Burger Bistro was so terrific we’ve been back 4 times, send all our friends there and have even had burgers delivered.

The concept is simple – make ’em burgers, and make ’em good. And these are good.

The place is simply decorated. There is a great mural on one long wall that you casually glance at, across from that – on the other long – wall is a mirror. When you look into the mirror, and face it who can’t glance in a mirror, you realize that the mural is actually drawn backwards and when you look at in the mirror you can see the full mural. Very clever.

On each table is a glass with wax pencils. Which on your first visit seems strange. When the waiter comes over with the laminated menu, he explains that you check off the boxes of what you’d like to have and the kitchen takes it from there. Interactive and fun.

You have a choice between beef, lamb, or turkey for your burger. There is also a special burger of the day. You choose how you want it cooked, the cheese, the toppings, even the bun. There are also sides, appetizers, and, if you’re really good, ice cream and cookies for dessert!

Knork started with the Chopped Salad. Very generous sized salad, fortunately not all iceberg lettuce. There were chopped tomatoes, cheese, artichoke hearts. The salad was crisp and very fresh. Good dressing that didn’t drown the ingredients.

Fork ordered the Bistro Potato Chips. They had been an appetizer, but have now been relegated down to the sides. The chips are really good. Thick cut. Chewy and crisp at the same time. My problem with the chips? They aren’t served with  dipping sauce. I can understand the charge for the sauces on the burger, but the chips should come with something. Doesn’t even have to be a choice of sauces, a little somethin somethin would be good.

Knork’s Burger. Great beef burger, but Knork is a purist (and culinarily challenged) and therefore his burger BOOOOOOR-ing.  All the burgers are served with a  little salad. Balsamic dressing, very yummy.

In recent visits though, Knork has fallen for the Rib Eye Steak Sandwich. Really good quality steak, well seasoned, perfectly cooked. The only complaint Knork has about the steak sandwich is the bun is round and the steak is sort of oblong. He spends some time cutting and tucking and then munches away happily.

Fork also ordered a beef burger. But with the list of 9 cheeses and 9 toppings, how can one be expected to have a plain burger. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. For this trip, Fork chose cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon. Really doesn’t get much better than that. There are also caramelized onions and frizzled onions which definitely have Fork’s name on them for another trip.

There is no easy way to choose between the fried offerings. There are French Fries, Bristro Fries, Frizzled Onions, Sweet Potato Strings and the above Potato Chips. The fries are really good. Skinny and crisp, tender ont he inside, a generous serving. The frizzled onions are amazing. Stick some on your burger and life is complete. Like a deconstructed onion loaf and not even close to as greasy. On other trips we’ve had the sweet potato strings – sweet, crisp, addictive. The Bistro Fries are the French Fries all dressed up in seasoning. Now, here we have a problem. Most times the seasoning is great – that is to say, lightly seasoned. Our last trip there was so much seasoning on the fries that they were nearly inedible. You notice Fork said nearly, we were with Jam Spoon and quite frankly, there isn’t ever enough seasoning or pepper for Jam Spoon!

What could be better to end an all American meal than ice cream and cookies! There is a daily special for both the cookies and the ice cream. You get to pick your cookie flavor and the ice cream flavor. On this trip Fork paired double chocolate chunk cookies and dulce de leche ice cream. Great combo.

In keeping with the delicate palate of the Knork – an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie with Vanilla Ice Cream.

The only downside we have found with the Burger Bistro are the cookies. Our first dinner, the oatmeal cookies were burnt. The second time stone cold. The last time the special cookie was a ‘short bread type cookie – like a sugar cookie’. Nope. It was soggy. Nothing like a short bread and absolutely nothing like a sugar cookie. It was just – well, yucky is the best word.

They use a high quality ice cream. It’s creamy and not very airy. That perfect dense scoop.

All in all, this is really a great place. Great service, great burgers, great fries. If you’re in Bay Ridge, get on over there!

Burger Bistro ~ 7217 Third Avenue ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.833.5833
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Calexico Carne Asada

One of Fork’s most favorite food trucks in New York is the bright yellow Calexico truck that can be found most days on the corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in Manhattan. How happy was Fork when Calexico opened a brick and mortar shop on the Columbia Street Waterfront. Yes, it’s taken Fork a while to get there, but the cutlery finally got there! Calexico Carne Asada is located on Union Street between the BQE and Columbia Street, which is on the border of the Carroll Gardens and Red Hook neighborhoods.

Bright and sunny, great staff, great decorating, Calexico is a wonderful place for a quick lunch, take-out or delivery when you’re too tired to cook! Sadly, Fork lives a smidge outside the delivery zone!

The food is incredible. The tacos are all on 6″ tortillas. The burritos are massive. The rolled quesadillas look wonderful, as do the tortas.

For this trip – and trust me, there will be MANY more – Fork and Knork  decided to stick with the taco menu. You stand in front of the boards with so many choices and get overwhelmed with anticipation. Starting in a central category, makes everything seemingly so much simpler. Yes, we plan on eating our way through everything on this menu at some point, but you have to start somewhere!

While we were waiting for our order, Fork spied a salsa bar over in the corner. Fork quickly ordered a side of chips so all of the fresh salsas could be tried. The salsas were wonderful. Fresh, all green, varying degrees of heat and sweet. The chips, not so much. Sadly, they were really stale. But do not let this little, teeny, tiny fact, stop you from going here. The food is AMAZING!

All tacos are served on two 6″ soft corn tortillas with cabbage and pico de gallo.

Both Fork and Knork ordered the Carne Asada taco. Marinated skirt steak and an incredible avocado sauce are added on top of the cabbage in the warm soft tortillas. There was the house condiment pico de gallo, wonderfully fresh with a little kick too it. Fork added cotija cheese for just an extra layer of flavor. The skirt steak was amazing. Well cooked, nice bark on the outside, beautifully tender on the inside, and whatever they marinate it in is great! The pico de gallo gives it a pop of freshness. The avocado sauce was really interesting. Easier to deal with than chunks of avocado and just as fresh and delicious. The cotijo cheese just made it a perfect package with a little tang and saltiness. A squeeze of lime and you were good to go!

Knork ordered a Pulled Pork Taco. Slow roasted chipolte pork with sour cream and pickled red onions. The pulled pork was tender and flavorful. The chipolte added a nice smokiness to the pork. Again, warm 6″ tortillas, cabbage, topped with the tender pulled pork, runny sour cream and then topped with pickled onions. Every single bite gave you the greatest flavors.

And lastly, as a special of the day, were Carnita Tacos. Fork loves carnitas any which way you serve them. Carnitas are bits of pork that are braised and some bits fried. You have tender and succulent right next to crispy and flavorful. Totally amazing. Again, a generous portion of meat nestled inside 6″ tortillas, shredded cabbage. But, on top of this taco was an amazing cantaloupe salsa. THe sweetness of the cantaloupe was so refreshing and perfect against the carnitas. Lots of lime and cilantro and you were in taco heaven!

You can add lots of extras to top the tacos, burritos, tortas, etc., including ‘crack’ sauce. Which, true to its name is like crack – you just keep wanting more of it and trying to figure out what else you can put it on!

Fork keeps a menu for Calexico in the car – just in case we know we’ll be passing Calexico and want to make a quick stop for take out!

Calexico Carne Asada ~ 122 Union Street ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.488.8226
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Buttermilk Channel

One of dishes that lure Fork and Spoon to a restaurant every time is the promise of great fried chicken. It was this very promise, Brooklyn’s best fried chicken and cheddar cheese waffles that drew Fork and Spoon, followed along by Knork and Spork, to Buttermilk Channel.  Buttermilk Channel is in Carroll Gardens and gets its name from the stretch of water between Brooklyn and Governor’s Island. It was said that this stretch of water was so rough that milk going to market would turn to butter before reaching the other side.

Let’s start off by telling you, they don’t take reservations, and on the weekends they are packed all the time! According to the bartender, people are already there and waiting at the door at 4:30pm. During the week is better. Before 7:00 is better. Be willing to eat outside or at the bar. We faced an hour wait or sit at the bar. The four of us commandeered the corner of the bar and had a grand old time – until everyone waiting for a table decided that standing at our end of the bar was a good idea and putting their drinks down in the middle of where we were eating. Nice manners.

 Trust us, even with this slight annoyance, the food is fantastic and this is definitely a place to go!

Iced tea, fresh, cold, huge glasses, and bottomless. We always find surprising the places that offer bottomless iced tea and those that don’t. We would have thunk higher end restaurants would not – and for the most part they do and the more casual places would – and surprise, surprise, they don’t. Enough about tea!

In looking at the menu, there were so many wonderful dishes that Fork and Spoon wanted to try. The only solution? Order a few small plates and one main course. Always works for us! As we were drooling over the menu and waiting for Knork and Spork to finally decide what to order, our wonderful waiter/bartender brought over a plate of popovers. Light and airy, tender, buttery, yummy, sprinkled with sea salt and a slightly sweet syrup. What a great way to start a great meal!

Knork and Spork don’t really like to share, so we let them do their own thing. For starters Spork ordered the Maine Butter Clam & Corn Chowder. The chowder was lovely, smelled delicious, and Spork actually shared a spoonful. It was delicious and fresh. The clams were delicate and buttery. The chowder creamy and smooth.

We all also had Maple & Bacon Roasted Almonds. It’s worth the trip to have these! They’re served in a small sundae glass, but there is nothing small about their taste or flavor.  Almonds are oven roasted with bits of bacon. This alone would have been enough to send the Cutlery into heaven, but there, of course, was more. The bacon and almonds are then candied with maple syrup. What a combination – nuts, bacon and maple syrup. And as you reach for these almonds over and over you occasionally grab something that you think is a small nut, but it’s a nice surprise, a hunk of bacon covered in maple syrup! A little sea salt sprinkled over the top just elevates this a little further. Fork and Spoon now know the reason why these are served in a small glass – you could eat bucketfuls of these and then have no room for the goodness yet to come!

Our second nibble were Hush Puppies with a Green Chile Aioli for dipping.  Again, served in a small sundae glass, what appeared were four perfectly golden brown and crispy spheres of deliciousness. These were not dry. They were moist and totally unlike any hush puppy Fork had tasted before. They weren’t coarse from the corn meal the way hush puppies usually are, they were tender and smooth on the inside. The outsides were perfect. Just the right amount of crunch, sprinkled with sea salt, with flecks of fresh herbs throughout. The green chile aoili sat at the bottom of the glass. Each of the hush puppies just sitting at the edge of the aioli. The aoili was spicy and tangy and so wonderful with the smoothness of the hush puppy.

Our last nibble was Mustard Glazed Grilled Bacon. And, yes, it was as good as it sounds. This was amazing.  Thick slices – no, slabs, really – of house-cured, meaty, flavorful bacon. The bacon is grilled so that it was crisp on the outside, while still tender on the inside. Now, take it from a piece of Cutlery that has tried to grill bacon, this is no easy feat. We nearly burned the backyard down grilling bacon! From now on we’ll let someone else do the bacon grilling! The mustard glaze was sweet, tangy, and spicy at the same time, large flecks of mustard seeds throughout. Each rasher of bacon equally covered. The bacon was served with a simple salad of sugar snap peas, micro greens, a light dressing and hearty whole wheat croutons – well, more like soldiers that croutons. Perfect for sopping up any of the mustard glaze that may have attempted to make an escape. More, please!

Knork does not play well with others. Knork doesn’t share, nor like to have dishes photographed, but Knork occasionally goes along with the program so he’s invited along. On this adventure, Knork refused to try the dish that we all were drawn to Buttermilk Channel for, the fried chicken.  Knork ordered the Creekstone Farms Delmonico Rib Eye with Greenmarket Potato Salad & Horseradish Vinaigrette.  The steak was small, especially for the price. Knork said it wasn’t very tasty. The potato salad was just plain old potato salad. We were very sorry Knork was disappointed. Fork and Spoon and Spork all did a little homage to Grace Adler and did the ‘Told Ya So’ dance – though quietly and behind his back.

Fork, Spoon and Spork all had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Cheddar Waffles and Savoy Cabbage Slaw. Buttermilk Channel us known for their fried chicken. It’s been written about, blogged about, featured on television, and is one of the leaders of the fried chicken craze in New York City. We were served a large half chicken, with the crispiest coating imaginable. The coating was flavorful, well seasoned and nicely salty. The chicken nestled inside the coating was very, very moist. One wouldn’t think one could have both, the serious crunch factor and the moist chicken, but they managed it. The fun doesn’t stop there. The fried chicken sits on top of a cheddar cheese waffle. The waffle is light and fluffy, with a light crispness to the outside. There isn’t so much cheese to make the taste overpowering, but enough to give you a subtle notion that there is cheddar cheese there. The powdered sugar on the waffle is so great with the salty coating on the chicken. Next to this is a scoop of savoy cabbage slaw. Great dressing. Really rounds the dish out. And that little pitcher? That’s maple balsamic syrup. Drizzle a little of that on everything and anything and you have just entered nirvana. Best part of this chicken? It’s available for take-out! Call up, order, run in and grab and you have yourself a feast any time the spirit moves you.

Spork had to have an ice cream float for dessert. For a kid from Brooklyn, there is no better dessert than an ice cream float, but add the grown up Manhattan Special Soda instead of root beer and you’ve now crossed the line into adulthood.  This was no small float either. Gigantic glass, filled with vanilla ice cream and Manhattan Special Soda. For those of you who don’t know Manhattan Special, it’s an espresso flavored soda, definitely not for the faint of heart.

Fork and Spoon shared two desserts. If we had realized the sheer size of these beforehand we would have opted for one, but once in front of us, we trudged on like the troopers we are.

Dessert One –  a Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Brown Sugar Crumble and Vanilla Ice Cream. The tart shell was crisp and buttery. The filling was sweet and tart, a nice combination of rhubarb and strawberries. The crisp topping was brown sugary and buttery and very crunchy. Put a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top and you have a dessert worth stuffing your face for.

Dessert Two – Doug’s Pecan Pie Sundae. Our waiter/bartender recommended this, and it was very good. But very, very, make-your-teeth-ache, sweet. Another giant fountain glass. This time the glass was layered with what can only be described as pecan pie filling (everything but the crust) and vanilla ice cream. The coldness of the ice cream made the caramel pecan pie filling hard and become gloriously chewy and candy like.  This is not a dessert for one person, certainly not one person who had just eaten everything we ate during dinner.

Please, if you want to only pick one place in Brooklyn for dinner and you are a fried chicken fanatic, this is the place.  The fried chicken is knock your socks off good! I know the cutlery in Fork’s draw will be enjoying take-out from Buttermilk Channel for many moons to come! Call. Go. Take out. Eat. Enjoy.  Let us know what you think!

Buttermilk Channel ~ 524 Court Street ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.852.8490
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Le Petit Oven

Knork and Fork sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Okay, without making you all too nauseous, Knork and Fork wanted to do something special for their anniversary, but Knork wanted to stay close to home and Fork wanted an adventure. The perfect solution was Le Petit Oven. Located just off Third Avenue on 69th Street in Bay Ridge, this restaurant is truly a hidden gem that Fork is so happy to have FINALLY discovered!

We had passed this lovely 11 table restaurant many, many times, always looking in the window and drooling over the wonderful menu in the window. Had we ever gone in? Nope. Must have been tarnish clouding the senses.

Sitting and watching Chopped one night before our big event, we were delighted and surprised to see Kat Ploszaj, the chef and co-owner of Le Petit Oven, as one of the contestants (she didn’t win, but she should have!). This was a sign. It had to be. This would be the place.

We didn’t have a reservation, and now after Chopped, you really should make one, but we were early enough to be able to get a table. Kat’s partner and co-owner Nicole Guarino is so friendly and welcoming that you instantly feel like family. As we sat and looked at the menu, we watched other diners stroll in. They were almost all greeted by name. We chatted amongst the tables while looking at the menu. They have a great selection of beer and a wonderful wine list. Nicole is very knowledgable about wines and can help with any pairing. AS we overheard her say, she won’t serve any wine she wouldn’t be happy to drink herself.

The menu changes constantly, depending on what motivates Kat when she goes to the markets. It is amazing to watch her in the kitchen – alone – cooking and smiling. You can see the passion on her face and you can certainly taste it in her food.

There is a three course tasting menu available for $35 (a serious bargain) or you can order a la carte. Either way, you are in for a true treat.

For starters, Knork order Duck Spring Rolls. What arrived were four small spring rolls. Golden brown on the outside, crispy crunchy in texture. Knork eyed them suspiciously, thinking ‘they are so small’ – no, this was not said aloud, but after all these years I can see the squirrels running on the treadmill and know what is going on in that head. But just one bite and that look disappeared. They were out of this world.  Filled with tender duck, deep fried to absolute perfection. A sweet chili sauce was served on the side to dip the spring rolls into. They may have been small in size but they really packed a lot of flavor.

Before taking our order, Nicole told us about some changes and substitutions on the menu. One of the things substituted was the soup – which is okay, Fork doesn’t like soup. What was offered in its place was Patata Con Chorizo. It sounded too intriguing to pass up. And we were right. What arrived was a stew-like bowlful of warm and spicy and flavorful. In the thick and tomato-y base were chunks of potatoes, onions, and spicy chorizo. It was so simple and so complex at the same time. There was a lovely smokiness to the dish, but still had a bright freshness to it.  Minced chives were sprinkled on top. Fork wanted to grab the bowl and a loaf of bread and sit alone greedily sopping up what was left in the bowl. You will be happy to know, Fork refrained.

Truth be told, at this point both Knork and Fork wanted the same entrée.  Does Knork not understand the concept of ordering different things so as many dishes as possible can be tried? More level tines prevailed and two entrees were ordered.

Knork ordered the Skirt Steak.  What arrived were perfectly cooked, thin slices of skirt steak. The seasoning was slightly Oriental and really good. The steak was served over white asparagus and a tiny dice of carrots. To make this even more perfect was the soy glaze on the plate. It was – well, umami is the word that comes to mind, so does delicious and more please. The down side of this dish was the crispy potato pancake. It was SO salty it was inedible. The potatoes were great. The crispiness was great. The flavor itself was great. But the salt content – oh, my, my, my.

Must say, though, everything else was so wonderful that they get a total pass for the potato pancake. What’s a little salt between friends?

Fork ordered the Pork Belly. This was the dish that Fork spied each time Le Petit Oven was passed, each time the menu was looked at online. Before even walking in Fork knew this was a dish that had to be ordered. And there was absolutely no disappointment about this dish. Everything at Le Petit Oven is beautifully plated. A lot of attention to detail goes into each dish and how the food looks on the plate. This dish was no exception.  There were layers of flavor and goodness, each different and excellent on their own, that all worked deliciously together. At the bottom was a layer of mashed potatoes; creamy, buttery, rich, perfect. On top of the potatoes was an Asian flavored slaw. Light, refreshing, and cutting through the richness of the potatoes and pork belly. And, let’s not forget the star of this dish, the pork belly. This was a very generous slab of pork belly, very tender in the center, not too ridiculously fatty like a lesser quality of pork belly would be, all leading up to a wonderfully crispy top. This was a little slab-o-heaven.

As always, there has to be room for dessert. There were two desserts that night. Didn’t that make selection fairly simple? I let Knork go first – although Fork already knew what Knork would order – so that two different desserts would land on our table.

Fork ordered the Panna Cotta.  The panna cotta was thyme infused and seriously silky. The thyme was just a background note, but it added so much to this simple, elegant dish. The panna cotta was served on top of a mixed berry compote. Not too sweet, fresh and fruity, simple and a perfect accompaniment for the panna cotta. And just when you think your mouth is as happy as it can be, your spoon scoops up a bit of mango puree and you suddenly have an extra layer of flavor from a burst of tart sunshine. The mango absolutely shot this dessert over the moon. So simple, so fabulous.

Knork ordered Bread Pudding. A lovely square of bread pudding arrived. Fork wanted to dive into the bowl (more restraint). Not soggy at all, as many bread puddings can be. The bread pudding sat in a luscious pool of caramel. Just the right amount of burnished, sweet buttery caramel to play with the rich denseness of the bread pudding. Sprinkle toasted chopped pecans on top and a dollop of freshly whipped cream and you are in dessert heaven.

This was without a doubt the best one of the best meals Fork has eaten while out to dinner in Bay Ridge in a long time – heck, while out to dinner in Brooklyn in a long time! 

The food is delicious. The service warm and inviting. The music is great. If it weren’t for that pesky check at the end you would have thought you were sitting and sharing a meal with friends. We all chatted between courses, talking about the neighborhood and the restaurant. We all craned our necks as beautiful dishes came out of the kitchen to see what each ordered, and much time describing dished to each other so we were all able to share in each other’s experience.

Le Petit Oven is open on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for dinner. Do yourself a favor, try this restaurant, your taste buds will thank you. Maybe we’ll see you there – we’ll be the ones ooh-ing and aah-ing in the corner!

276 Bay Ridge Avenue ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.833.3443
Petit Oven on UrbanspoonLe Petit Oven in New York on Fooddigger

Bark Hot Dogs

At the northern end of Park Slope, on Bergen Street, just off 6th Avenue, sits the unassuming Bark Hot Dogs. Very plain front. So plain, that during the day, with the neon sign off, it’s easy to walk right past Bark. But don’t get the idea that these are dirty water dogs or some burnt weiner at a backyard BBQ. These are Bark Dogs and they are amazing.

Bark’s mission statement is simple – only use high quality, local, and sustainable ingredients. The meat for the burgers is freshly ground every day. The pickles, relishes, and sauces are made onsite. Each hot dog and hamburger – cutlery cannot live by hotdog alone – is slow cooked to order on the griddle.  There is nothing fast about this fast food. The only things not made onsite or for Bark is Heinz Ketchup, French’s Yellow Mustard, and Hellman’s Mayonnaise – some things cannot be perfected.

Keeping with the Local and sustainable ideology of Bark, they use only recycled products in their restaurant and ask customers to recycle when finished eating as well. The interior was designed using reclaimed materials.

Looking through their website, they list all of the local ingredient resources they use – from New York, Heritage Farms for the pork, Hartmann’s Old World Sausage makes private label hot dogs especially for Bark, dairy, fruit and vegetables all from the tri-state area, and let’s not forget the all important Il Laboritorio de Gelato ice cream used in their incredible milkshakes!

Bark is a no nonsense, easy going place. The seating, sadly, is those dreaded  high tables and stools, but in this situation, in this place, they work. Up to eight people can eat at each table. There are two tables for two on the side. And, for those who cannot live without being tied into the internet,there is free wi-fi.

You walk up to the counter, stare at the menu hanging on the wall and order. You almost feel like a Lemming – standing, staring, head slightly cocked to one side, in exactly the same stance as all your fellow diners waiting to or trying to decide what to order. It isn’t that ordering is difficult, it’s just seriously difficult to narrow down your choices. You order, get your drinks and sit and wait. After your order is cooked to perfection, it’s brought over to your table by one of Bark’s very friendly staff.

For drinking is soda and beer. The soda is supplied by the wonderful Foxon Park beverage company in Connecticut. If you haven’t tried these sodas, please do, they are really yummy! The flavors are very crisp and clean. The beer is from Sixpoint Craft Ales brewed right in Brooklyn. We didn’t imbibe on this trip – it was a little early even for the most adventurous of cutlery.

Now here is where it becomes fun! The hot dogs are made from a combo of pork shoulder, pork jowl and beef shoulder. They are slowly cooked on the griddle. When they are done, as if they need any help in the taste department, they are brushed one of the house specialties, Bark Seasoning Butter – pork fat that’s smoked and rendered into lard, then whipped with butter and sea salt – cardiac arrest on a brush! The hot dogs are then served on New England style hot dog buns – that is to say, no crust on the sides and slit on the top – which have been toasted and, of course, buttered. For those faint of artery, there are all beef hot dogs and veggie hot dogs as well and they are not brushed with the nectar of the gods.

This trip to Bark was to celebrate Jam Spoon’s birthday. Fork, Shish Kebab Stick and Knork decided Jam Spoon should have an all American birthday celebration.

Knork – being a hot dog purist – ordered the Bark Dog, which is topped with sweet pepper relish, mustard and chopped raw onions.  It was gone in seconds so Fork is assuming it was liked. The only remark? It’s a regular sized hot dog for a foot long price. Perhaps it’s pricey, but Fork dares you to find a hot dog this good anywhere else!

Fork ordered a Bacon Cheddar Dog. Already knowing that this meal was not going to be calorie conscious, Fork figured go big or go home. Really, what’s a 20,000 calorie meal between friends!? So what if the tines don’t fit into the jeans anymore! Truthfully, this hot dog was worth every single calorie laden bite. The hot dog was grilled to perfection. The skin crisp from the griddle with that perfect snap you want when you bite into a hot dog. Dripping on top was a wonderful, gooey cheddar cheese sauce made from Grafton Village Cheddar in Vermont. Sprinkled on top of that was braised bacon, crisp, salty, adding another amazing layer of flavor to this wonderful hot dog. And just when you thought the fun was over – chopped, pickled red onions . Look at that hot dog! Is that a beautiful, mouth watering sight or what!? 

Now, for some reason Shish Kebab Stick and Jam Spoon ordered Bark Burgers. Why? I don’t know. But from the look of the burgers, the silence that was coming from the two of them, and the blink of an eye way the burgers disappeared, they must have been good. The burgers are made from organic beef from Wrighteous Organics in New York. They are a mixture of beef short ribs, beef top round and pork jowl. After being grilled to perfection, the burger is served on a sesame seed bun with shredded lettuce, chopped Bark dill pickles, Bark bread and butter pickles, red onion and a secret special sauce. Burger King watch out, there is definitely a NEW Whopper in town.

Fries. Did we mention the fries? The basic building block of Bark Fries are the salt and pepper fries.  Dark and crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. Just the right amount of salt and pepper to make these potato perfection. Trust me, if you thought the Golden Arches had good fries, you ain’t had nothing yet. These need to be eaten by greedy handfuls. Bacon is a seriously recurring theme at Bark, and you can have these salt and pepper fries with bacon, like Shish Kebab Skewer did. Same yummy bacon that made an appearance on Fork’s hot dog is crumbled on top of the fries. From there, we had another order taking the fries to yet another level – fries with cheddar AND bacon. Salty, cheesey, bacony, goodness. Can it get better? Well, yes it can and Bark takes fries steps further. First you have gravy fries, same crispy goodness, smothered in a hearty gravy. You have Chili Cheddar Fries, self explanatory. Which, by the way, you can add bacon to either or both of these if you are so inclined. The head of the fry insanity at Bark are the Disco Fries – same thin cut, crispy fries, smothered in gravy AND cheddar cheese. Add bacon to the Disco Fries and you get a side of defibrillator.

There is definitely a trip back to Bark for Fork and Spoon. There’s a Crispy Pork Sandwich on the menu!  Bark takes Heritage’s pork shoulder, belly, and jowl and press it into a seriously porky patty and deep fry it to a noisy, crispy perfection. The patty is topped with a crisp slaw and thin rounds of Heirloom hot peppers to give it an extra kick. As if it needs more, it’s then topped with whole-grain mustard and bread-and-butter pickles, and served on a soft seeded bun. There is so much going on here it has to be tried!

There is Brisket Chili and Baked Beans – both made in house each day. Onion rings. And they make breakfast! So many things to still try. They may need to make bigger stools by the time we’re done!

Bark is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner from noon to midnight. Breakfast is served only on the weekend. Friday and Saturday you can get your bark on until 2:ooam.

Bark Hot Dogs ~ 474 Bergen Street ~ Brooklyn, New York ~ 718.789.1939
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Bark Hot Dogs in New York on Fooddigger