Category Archives: review

CHB Reviews: Dino

The new restaurant that’s taken the place of LouLou – Dino – is now open, and last night I checked it out with Kath Hansen of PUPS.

I had only been to LouLou a few times, but Kath remarked on the “great reno job” on the inside.

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The back yard was small and cute, clean and simple.

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The bread had one of the most delicious dipping bowls I have ever encountered. The olive oil was enhanced with mashed olives, along with tiny pieces of orange rind for extra flavor.

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Kath had the chicken, as she says “you can judge a restaurant by its chicken.”  She gave it two thumbs up, for both quality and portion size (she took half of it home with her).

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I had the rigatoni, also delicious and a generous portion.

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And the icing on the cake: the staff overheard Kath mention that she was taking me out for my birthday and they brought me a gigantic piece of tiramisu on the house.

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Service was wonderful- friendly and helpful staff, a great sounding selection of seasonal cocktails (we opted for the rose, which was crisp and great for summer — but we think this place would be worth stopping in to for a fancy drink!), they already have liquor license and take credit cards (which is not so common for new restaurants in this neck of the woods).  Pricing was “around the same as LouLou,” per Kath, but “better than LouLou.”  Simply put from me: delicious food, great staff, and they have their sh*t together.

(Sorry, I didn’t have my nice camera with me!)

Dino
222 DeKalb Ave

Chocolate Croissants: Choice Market

Choice Market, at Lafayette and Fulton, was a beacon of gentrification when it opened a few years ago.  Their food is amazing, but the lines and the store setup are not.

Croissant:
chocolate croissant from choice market

Price: $2.25

Chocolate Distribution: One row of chocolate

Outside Appearance: Shiny

Description: While this croissant was a touch on the greasy side, the taste was just about perfect – buttery and light, with just a little bit of crisp in the outer bread.  This pastry offers layers of airy bread that just about melts in your mouth. One of a kind, at least in my hunt, and the price is even on the lower end comparatively.

Score: 9 (WINNER)

Chocolate Croissants: Desserts by Michael Allen

I stand firmly by Michael Allen, (Fulton nr Grand) who made my wedding cake.  This guy’s a pro and his pastries and sweets are amazing.

Chocolate Croissant:

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Price: $2.17

Chocolate Distribution: The entire croissant was filled with soft chocolate!

Outside Appearance: The largest of the bunch; smooth

Description: The best part about this croissant was the chocolate, which filled the entire pastry.  The chocolate also tastes a bit like Nutella.  It wasn’t greasy at all, but it tasted heavy and wasn’t very fluffy.  It earns points for it unique flavor, but loses a bit since I was looking for a “traditional” croissant experience.

Score: 7

Chocolate Croissants: Urban Vintage

This absolutely lovely restaurant / home decor shop, located on Grand Ave, offers food and goods at affordable prices.  I love the look and feel.

Chocolate Croissant:

chocolate croissant from urban vintage

Price: $3.21

Chocolate Distribution: Two rows of firm chocolate

Outside Appearance: Textured and matte

Description: Two generous rows of chocolate, but the most heavy/bready of the bunch.  Their pastries come from Balthazar (Bittersweet on DeKalb also gets pastries from Balthazar). UV lost .5 for having the highest price of the bunch, but gained it back for having the friendliest service by far during the croissant testing period.

Score: 7

Chocolate Croissants: Outpost

Outpost Lounge on Fulton near Grand has been a favorite of mine for years now.  Great decor and a nice outdoor space make it a great coffee homebase for people in eastern Clinton Hill.  They also offer cute coffee drinks named after streets in the ‘hood.

Croissant:

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Price: $2.72

Chocolate Distribution: One row of chocolate, but the chocolate was soft and blended nicely with the bread.

Outside Appearance: Smaller than the others and on the greasy side.

Description: This croissant was a little greasy, but the croissant itself was flaky and light.  Despite being the smallest of the bunch, the flavor was great. Service took longer than expected.

Score: 8

Chocolate Croissants: Provisions

Provisions offers a lovely variety of goods on Fulton at S. Portland in Fort Greene.  I love them for party meats and cheeses (delicious selection and great, helpful staff), but full on grocery shopping will break the bank.  In the front at the register, they also sell pastries and coffee.

Chocolate Croissant:

chocolate croissant from provisions

Price: $2.50

Chocolate Distribution: Two rows of firm chocolate

Outside Appearance: Textured and matte

Description: I enjoy the double rows of chocolate, but the croissant is a little bit heavy.  Consistency is “bready.” This is well-suited for someone who is looking for a heartier taste.

Score: 7.5

The Quest for the Best Chocolate Croissants

The chocolate croissant: my most favorite breakfast pastry!  And these days, readily available in the neighborhood and nearby Fort Greene.

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a choc croissant bender, and so I decided to compare the local offerings to see which establishment offers the best one.  Under consideration: price, fluffiness, appearance, the grease factor, quantity of chocolate.  Over the next few days, I’ll share my findings.

I’ll be highlighting five offerings.  I probably won’t be able to try them all, but feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

A Bistro: YUM

Abistro on Carlton in Fort Greene is one of the tastiest restaurants in the area.

a bistro

Hidden behind a simple white gate, you might have just passed by without noticing.  Don’t let the exterior fool you.  This tiny, cozy space offers some of the most interesting food around, not to mention  some of the friendliest service. It’s a family affair – chef and co-owner Abdoul Gueye mans the kitchen, while his wife serves patrons.  The couple’s young daughter is often on hand, too.

It’s also BYO, which helps save some cash, and communal table often spark discussion between diners who didn’t arrive together.

I’ve recommended this place to many locals and people visiting from other neighborhoods who are looking for a unique dining experience. What’s your favorite dish?

Abistro
154 Carlton at Myrtle

CHB Previews: Roman's

outside of roman's, formerly bonita

It’s pretty obvious that Roman’s is just doing a soft opening, but that didn’t stop the husband and I from hustling right over last weekend to check it out.  I’m calling this post a “preview” as opposed to a “review,” since it’s really just first impressions.

First of all, it was awfully strange to get a table immediately on a Saturday night in this small and formerly bustling space.  Obviously there’s no signage up yet, but I’m used to sitting on the window ledge drinking margaritas for awhile.

A few small interior changes have been made – the wall behind the bar has been been completely redesigned and restocked, new light fixtures have been added and a decorative wall was erected between the dining room and kitchen.

The menu, for now, is pretty bare bones.  It’s small plates, and it needs explanation / guidance from the wait staff.

the menu

It’s a small-plates setup, which often ends up in a trial-and-error ordering experiment. (How many plates do we need?  Are we going to be stuffed or left hungry?).  We started with the “heirloom radish,” which consisted of a chopped radish and a few other radish-like roots, salted and served with creme fraiche.  It was light and fresh, though a few bites were oversalted and others were not salted enough.

heirloom radish

For second courses, we split the sauerkraut soup and the panette.  Both were delicious.  The soup was well-favored without being sour, and included a delicious bite of some sort of meat (pork?) and an egg.  The panette, small penne pasta, was served with a delicious sauce and toasted pine nuts.

Our third course was a stuffed meatball.  Delicious, but small.

For dessert we went with the dark chocolate, assuming it would be some sort of torte.  But in actuality, it was a pile of dark chocolate with some almonds.  For $6.  I looked at Will and said, “This is good chocolate, but it’s… a pile of chocolate.”

I’m really interested to see how Roman’s develops.  I was unable to get a good grasp of the vibe they were going for.  Partly, it seemed to be trying to mimic the trendy 1920s thing that’s been pervading popular culture these past few years.  But the cuisine suggests otherwise.  The bill was fairly pricey for the quantity, but I’m game to go back once they have a regular, full menu (and they are already taking credit cards).

If you’re wondering about the name, it’s clearly a reference to Rome, Italy.  Not only is the food described by the waitstaff as being Italian-influenced, but the outside of the menus feature an illustration of two infants being suckled by a wolf.  My renaissance-literature-professor husband informed me that it was a depiction of Romulus and Remus.  (Romulus was, according to Roman mythology, the first King of Rome).

CHB Reviews: Macbeth at the Irondale Center

Tonight, Mr. Lesterhead and I (I am using his laptop) checked out Macbeth at Fort Greene’s Irondale Center.  An interesting interpretation, and I loved the choreography and sound (they use a technique called “Soundpainting”).  But since Mr. LH is a renaissance lit PhD, I thought I’d let him do the formal review:

October 1st, 2009

Macbeth is appropriate to autumn and October. Macbeth’s colors are red and black; the poetry evokes the lengthening of nights and shortening days; and it’s full of witches and ghosts. Perfect for the month of Halloween! I went with Lesterhead to see Strike Anywhere and ANITYA’s joint production of “Macbeth Variations II” at the Irondale Center in the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church on Lafayette and South Oxford St. in Fort Greene tonight. The production definitely set the mood for a spooky October.

There are a few things you might want to know before you go see the play. First, Strike Anywhere and ANITYA are based in New York and Paris respectively. Second, this is an interpretation of Macbeth, not a staging of Shakespeare’s play. It is performed in both English and French. Unfortunately the Irondale Center, unlike the Met, doesn’t provide subtitles in glowing green LED in the banquette in front of you. For those who either know French or know the text of Macbeth or both, this isn’t an issue. If you speak English but not French and don’t know the play well, it can be confusing. Third, the philosophy of the joint company prioritizes improvisation. As they say on their website, it’s never the same play two nights in a row. So if you think “classic” when you think Shakespeare, this may not be for you. On the other hand, if the classics bore you but you feel compelled to get cultured anyway, this production is both edgy and old skool.

I would give you my take with no chaser, but I happened to overhear a conversation as I was walking out of the theater that I think says it all about what this show accomplishes. Three men, all in their mid-20s, were walking ahead of me on the sidewalk as we left the theater, and this is what I heard. (I’ve given them names. If this is you, and I gave you the wrong name, email the blog’s adiministrator.)

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