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Bien Cuit -- new French bakery on Smith St

It's a very stylish, rarefied bakery, with a definite sense of serious dedication. I adore their chocolate croissants. Agree with the criticism of their plain croissants (I still feel Almondine is the city's best French bakery for croissants and baguettes).
Their breads are extremely crusty, to the point that I sometimes feel that I'm in danger of cracking a tooth. The campagne is delicious (I ate almost a quarter of a loaf within 10 minutes). The baguette suffers from a.) crustiness b.) a less than perfect interior chewiness.
Nevertheless, it's a welcome addition to Smith Street.

85 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Bien Cuit
120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Jan 18, 2012
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Best coffee - Cobble hill, Carroll Gardens, Heights, Slope, etc?

Pedlar really is in a class by itself. Though everyone in Brooklyn, it seems, now serves Brooklyn-based roaster Stumptown, Pedlar's baristas seem to serve it better than most (Stumptown's own baristas at their Manhattan location on 29th St. are the best in NYC). Unlike Williamsburg, which boasts superb coffee bars at Blue Bottle and Gimme Coffee, there is very little to write home about in your new neighborhood. Van Leuwen Coffee on Bergen St. serves Intelligensia, but prepares it erratically. Despite its "green" vibe, Ecopolis on Warren St. is only OK. I haven't tried the Counter Culture now being prepared at the shop run by Seersucker on Smith St., so I can't comment. I have yet to find a single decent place in Park Slope, a neighborhood you'd suspect would be overrun.
Interested to hear what others have discovered.

Cafe Pedlar
210 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
81 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Ecopolis Cafe
180 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Sep 30, 2011
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Breezewood--any hope for a good dinner and breakfast?

Traveling through this week and am in desperate need of recommendations. Thanks

Sep 11, 2011
BGRose in Pennsylvania

Van Horn Sandwich Shop now open

I'm afraid I found it a bit dry and tasteless. And the price is way too steep, particularly when compared with the fabulous fried chicken sandwich which can be found at Ft. Defiance in Red Hook, for just $9.

Fort Defiance
365 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

May 12, 2011
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

7 Layer Cake

I too have been on a quest for the 7 layer cake "of my youth," with exactly the same properties you describe. It seems the only places these are available now are suburban delis. The "best" (and this is a rather variable term, given the small pickings now around) is available from Ben's at this site:
But I should warn you that a lot depends on the freshness of the slice you order, since it seems to be baked in 2-foot "logs," with each slice carved from this massive unit until it's finished. That's led to some pretty good pieces (if it's from the beginning) to rock-hard pieces from the end.

Jan 30, 2011
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Best Blackout Cake

though I haven't had it in twenty years, I remember with great fondness the blackout cake from Lord's Bakery on Nostrand Ave.

Nov 02, 2010
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Maida Vale [London]

By the way, the coffee cart is called Indie Coffee--and now that I've had the chance to try coffee all over London, I'd say that the owner Peter makes some of the best Flat Whites in the entire city.

Jul 29, 2010
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

Lantana, Fitzrovia, London

I've been all over London on quests for great Flat Whites (they're virtually unknown in the States, though a few places in Brooklyn, where I'm from, are starting to put them on the menu). Lantana is right up there at the top of my list. They use their own blend from Monmouth and their baristas are superb. Love their breakfast menu as well, particularly their banana bread toast and brioche toast with yogurt and pears.

Jul 29, 2010
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

Maida Vale [London]

I wanted to thank everyone for the replies below. I've been here for a week now, and just thought I'd provide some updates.
Our favorite place so far is Red Pepper on Formosa St--a relatively inexpensive Italian restaurant with some of the best pasta we've had since Italy. Delicious cod as well. And terrific desserts.

Found a fabulous coffee spot--a young guy who runs a coffee cart Tuesday-Sat at the Church St. Market (he's outside no. 50 T-F then moves further east on Saturdays). He uses Square Mile beans and makes extraordinarily good lattes, fully the equal of the legendary Gwilym's cart at the Columbia Road Flower Market on Sundays.

The Lahore Restaurant at 2-4 Gateforth Street claims to be related to the Original Lahore Kebab House on 2 Umberston St (it's listed as a branch on their menu) but based on a meal there, I find it somewhat hard to believe. Food was average at best, without any of the distinctive qualities I've read about concerning the original Kebab House.

Also been to Amoul's, which is a wonderful place for distinctive home cooking. They do make fresh croissants first thing in the morning when they open. I wish I could join in the chorus of praise regarding these, but I found them way too dense (congealed almost, instead of flaky). The chocolate croissant still had the same consistency, but did use a wonderful chocolate interior.

Jul 10, 2010
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

Maida Vale [London]

I will be teaching in London this summer and will be living in Maida Vale. Not much on the board about the area--I'm wondering if anyone has some suggestions. I'm interested in good breakfast places (particularly with good coffee, which I know is difficult to find outside central London) and in inexpensive dinner spots (Italian and Indian cuisines would be great). Thanks for your help.

Mar 29, 2010
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

Cafe Mei Mei breakfast

Starting this past Monday, Cafe Mei Mei has begun serving breakfast on weekdays from 7-2. The selections are drawn largely from their brunch menu. We went today and had a wonderful time. The place is lovely in the morning, with sun streaming in from the back windows. The food was sensational and the prices can't be beat--my fried eggs (3 in all), beautifully prepared with jalapeno and gouda, was $6, and the corn-crusted french toast (among the best I've ever had) was $7. Special fresh-squeezed juice today was blood orange, which was at peak flavor. Coffee was Stumptown (what else? they now own all of Brooklyn) and at least for the moment, is free.
Given the fact that there is almost no place in the Cobble Hill area to have breakfast on the weekdays--let alone a good breakfast at a bargain price--I feel that this is something well worth checking out.

Feb 18, 2010
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

early March in Montaulk

Any recommendations for lunch and dinner? Willing to travel to Hamptons or Sag Harbor. Looking for good seafood (I know it's the wrong time of year) or Asian/Italian.

Coffee: Best beans in Brooklyn?

Stumptown beans, which can be purchased at Cafe Pedlar (on Court at corner of Warrne) or at Frankie's lower down on Court, are by far the best beans in Brooklyn and all of the city, especially now that they are roasted not far away on Van Brunt St. (not for sale to public at roastery, yet). Nothing else compares.

Aug 28, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Piccadilly Circus--dinner for American college students?

Any recommendations for an inexpensive place for dinner (10-15 pounds maximum) in the Piccadilly Circus area that would be not too touristy for a group of fairly sophisticated, New York City college students? Any cuisine is fine, but would prefer a place that isn't too spicy so that everyone's taste can be accomodated.

Jun 21, 2009
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

[London] Rock & Sole Plaice

As an American visitor, and a lover of fish and chips, I must, sadly, second this opinion. We first went about 5 years ago--and loved the place (though even then prices were surprisingly high). But this time we were quite astonished at the deterioration. Not only was our cod and plaice greasy,, but it was dry and tasteless, and overwhelmed by the almost burnt batter. Possible explanation? when I went to the counter to pay, I noticed they had many already cooked fish just sitting under a heating lamp, waiting for the "crowds" of customers who might show up. A definite must-to-avoid.

Jun 18, 2009
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

Best Ice Cream in Brooklyn

Yes, it's Bassett's from Philadelphia, and it's nothing special (despite the cachet of an "out-of-town" somewhat hard-to-find brand. Go across the street to the Chocolate Room's homemade ice cream.

Jun 17, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Lucali- what is the situation when they open?

right now, they're serving artichoke hearts. Though they're not fried, like Di Fara's, they're still wonderful (and expensive--$8). But well worth it.

May 28, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

University College, London recommendations

I'll be living near the University College of London this summer and would welcome any recommendations. I'm looking for inexpensive meals (15-20 pounds per person), particularly Indian, Thai, and Japanese.

Apr 06, 2009
BGRose in U.K./Ireland

Coffee an' donuts--Westport

always been a tremendous fan of this small, strip-mall coffee shop, which serves the best cake donuts around. My devotion is such that I'm more than willing to drive the 90 minutes or so from Brooklyn to savor their heavenly powdered sugar, cinnammon, and plain varieties. Went up this weekend (after not having been in about 8 months or so) and was surprised that the quality was a bit off. The plain donuts were, just that, plain. Powdered sugar, which still had its distinctive cruch (one of the signatures of Coffee An's donuts in the first place), was a bit bland. Chocolate tasted stale (a first in a store which regularly makes new batches every hour or so).
Wondering if anyone else has noticed a slight drop-off in quality. Hoping it's just a momentary blip.


had a wonderful dinner at Chestnut in Cobble Hill. They have lots of selections in the $23 range (I had a superb buckwheat crepe and gravlax appetizer, ravioli stuffed with pumpkin seed for the main, and three different homemade ice creams for dessert), and you can get the rest of their menu for $30. Gracious service, inviting atmosphere, and tremendous food. A great bargain as well.

Mar 27, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Cafe Peddlar?

I was their "first" customer for the "soft" opening today--official is Friday. It was, as to be expected from anyplace serving Stumptown Coffee, wonderful. The barista was a former manager at Gimme Coffee, so preparation of the latte was superb.
Design is typical of Frankie 457 (who own the place)'s aesthetic--warm and understated. They're modeling it on a Viennese coffee bar I hadn't heard of, and painted the walls with an imported Dutch paint that gives the place the feel of a cozy hearth in Amsterdam (minus the dope).
This is a fantastic addition to the neighborhood--other than Frankie's, which for those of us in the Hgts/Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill area is a bit far away, it's now possible to get superb coffee, perfectly prepared.
They also plan to open an identical coffee bar when Stumptown opens their Red Hook roastery in a few months on Van Brunt St.
And I think it's Cafe Peddler, affectionally named for the late Jim of Jim and Andy's vegetable stand next door. By the way, they don't intend to have any kind of sign.

Mar 11, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Sichuan Garden--1/2 price Sushi

It's my own fault--why would anyone go to a Chinese restaurant on Smith St. (and not a particularly good one) for sushi? Well, I'll admit I was drawn by the offer (and the fact that they used to be a Japanese restaurant, and not a bad one). At any rate, I should have known better. While the prices were great, the sushi was, predictably, quite awful. The soft-shell crab tempura roll was not only soggy and cold, but seemed to have been fried a few days before. The eel-and-mango roll was composed of under-ripe mango and over-ripe eel. And the yellowtail roll seemed to have been made with some kind of yellowtail spam. Definitely not worth the price! I'm waiting for the aftershock to kick in.

Mar 06, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Decent americano near Carroll Gardens?

I would recommend Frankie's 457 for espresso--don't know about their abilities with Americano. They have great baristas and they use Stumptown Coffee (which will soon open its own roastery/cafe) in Red Hook. But I don't know if they're open in the mornings.
Other than that, the area is a coffee wasteland until you get to Williamsburg (Gimme Coffee--also located on Mott St.)

Feb 04, 2009
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

The Chocolate Room: Transcendent

I've never eaten there, so can't comment on the service. But their chocolate cake and cupcake (which is basically a smaller version of the cake) are superb. So is their bittersweet hot chocolate (which I understand will soon be available as a mix).

Dec 04, 2008
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Boerum Hill Food Company closed

Hard to believe that's true, given their affiliation with Saul and the large crowds I've always seen there. More importantly, they had recently upgraded their coffee operations, becoming the area's only Stumptown Coffee outlet (until, of course, Stumptown's rumored Red Hook roastery opens). As a result, they now served the best espresso and latte for miles around. Real shame if they're gone.

Dec 04, 2008
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Thanksgiving dinner

Looking for an interesting place, with an inventive approach, to bring family for Thanksgiving dinner. Should also have some traditional items at around $50 a person.

Sep 17, 2008
BGRose in Manhattan

Thanksgiving dinner in Park Slope, Cobble Hills, Hgts

Looking for a good place to bring family for Thanksgiving dinner, at no more than $50 a person. Looking for an interesting menu, that would also include traditional items.

Sep 17, 2008
BGRose in Outer Boroughs

Best Gelato

just got back from a week in Rome and a week in Venice, trying different gelato places once or twice a day, including the major ones mentioned on the Italy board. Most were great, though I'm amazed at how many clearly pre-packaged, fairly blah places there were (often with the biggest lines). We found a place off-the beaten path in Venice that had by far the best--so much so we rushed back that night, taking an hour detour just to taste their out of this world extra dark chocolate sorbetto. Yes, you're right--it was GROM, which I knew looked vaguely familiar from my having seen (but never had a chance to go in) the Bleeker St. location. Hope they taste as good as they did there.

Jul 18, 2008
BGRose in Manhattan

Baths of Caracalla, Rome

Any recommendations for dinner around this area?

Jul 04, 2008
BGRose in Italy

Oceanside--dinner suggestions?

Would welcome any suggestions--have not been able to find much on the board. Thanks