Category Archives: Brooklyn

Okonomi: a perfect Japanese breakfast


Okonomi
150 Ainslie St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

We were told the wait was two and a half hours. We waited two full hours. And. It. Was. Worth. It.

Okonomi is a tiiiiiny little Japanese restaurant tucked away on the north side of Williamsburg. It opens from 9am-3pm on weekdays, and 10am-4pm on weekends (at night, the restaurant becomes Yuji Ramen). It serves only traditional Japanese ichiju-sansai set meals for breakfast and lunch. “Ichiju-sansai” literally means  “One soup, three dishes”  – aka a healthy set meal.


I was pretty skeptical with the raving reviews. How good could breakfast really be? I did my little Yelp search beforehand and saw all the photos. The food looked pretty and small – usually the opposite of how I like my food. We got there at 10:30am on a Saturday and already saw a long line forming out the door. Someone sat outside with a suitcase – that’s when you know the place is good. That person NEEDED to eat here before jetsetting off.


Two full hours later, me, N.T., B.J., and A.H. got seated across from this couple.


You can only order the ichiju-sansai (set menu) (~$30), but can choose your fish. We had a choice of Spanish mackerel, some kind of tilefish, and a sashimi over rice bowl. I got the Spanish mackerel, which is pictured here along with all the other dishes. (FYI those flowers were real :)) Continue reading

Traif: Asian Influenced Tapas & Bacon Donuts =O

Traif
Traif
229 S 4th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211 (South Williamsburg)

I had been wanting to go to Traif for a long time. It’s consistently rated as one of the best places to eat in Williamsburg (4.5 stars on Yelp O.O and wow two billyburg restaurants in a row for me). Traif is a “new American” restaurant that serves up tapas with Asian and bacon flavors. It is also known for its bacon donuts – that curiosity alone was enough to entice me…

Traif
I started with the Rude Little Pig cocktail, which is made with lapsang-infused tequila orange liqueur, and a pomegranate bacon rim. Can’t say it’s particularly amazing but it was a pretty stiff drink. Bacon rim sounds better than it tasted. You couldn’t really taste it at all. It was actually pretty annoying to have to deal with bacon crummies in my drink. This start aside, everything else was pretty great.

Traif
We were gifted a sweet potato-y soup from the chef. Super delicious. So creamy and vibrant – the perfect little taster to get the taste buds going for the rest of the meal. By the way, I didn’t note all the prices and the menu changes pretty frequently. Just know that each dish is about $11-$20 ish.

Traif
Toasted spaetzle with roasted mushrooms. TBH, not the biggest fan of spaetzle because of how grainy it tastes. It’s the same reason why I can’t stand whole wheat pasta. Brown rice, whole wheat bread, anything else really I’m all for. Something about grainy noodles just doesn’t make sense to me. They should be al dente, not grainy. Anyway, of all the spaetzles of the land that I’ve had, this is pretty good, I guess. Cant go wrong with cheese and mushrooms. Continue reading

Win Son: new Taiwanese joint that is def worth a try

Win SonWin Son
159 Graham Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206

I know. It’s been for. ever. I could give you some bullpoop excuse about how I’ve been really busy and feel soooo bad for not writing about all my recent food adventures, but the truth is the reason I haven’t posted in a long time is because I recently switched jobs and for the first time in my life am super happy and with what I’m doing (it’s sort of food related!) and no longer feel the need to find another way to do something I care about. That being said, now that I’m more settled in, I hope I’m better about updating because I’ve been eating at some bomb butt places lately. Win Son as the most recent!

H.K., my truest Brooklynite friend, somehow was able to convince me and K.C. to trek to East Williamsburg on a school night (I’m a brat). And it was totally worth it. Win Son is a new Taiwanese-American restaurant opened up by Josh Ku and Trigg Brown (former sous chef at Upland). The food tastes and looks like homemade Chinese food – no frills, just good, with a lot of the same ingredients used over and over again.

Win Son
Marinated Cucumbers ($5) with garlic and cilantro and A TON OF THEIR AMAZING FRIED GARLIC THINGS. Simple and amazing. Simply amazing.

Win Son
Oyster Omelette ($11) with A TON OF THEIR AMAZING FRIED GARLIC THINGS. Oysters are whole and fresh – still mostly raw even. Legit.

Win Son
Pan-griddled Pork Buns ($9) with scallions and chili vinaigrette and A TON OF THEIR AMAZING FRIED GARLIC THINGS. This might have been my favorite thing from the night. The chili vinaigrette is slightly slightly spicy, slightly sweet, slightly acidic. Super nomz. Skin is not too thin nor too thick. Pork is tender. Snaps for these buns. Continue reading

House of Small Wonder

House of Small Wonder
House of Small Wonder
77 N 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Attention fellow friends who love cute little non-traditional brunch places: I have found your next brunch spot. It’s just off the L train in Williamsburg. House of Small Wonder is a pseudo European cafe with Japanese influences. You all know my opinion of eggs bennies and scrambled eggs (rarely worth the trek out for brunch unless you’re Prune) and my deep love affair with Japanese brunches (see Sakamai and Shabu Tatsu). House of Small Wonder is another Japanese inspired brunch place to add to the list. Its menu consists of both “euro” items like sandwiches (e.g. fig+brie+apple sandwich, salumi arugula sandwich), croissant french toasts, and croque madames, as well as Japanese inspired dishes like Okinawan taco rice, tsukune don (meatball + rice), and sashimi zuke don (sashimi + rice).

House of Small Wonder
It’s decor is also the cutest! You basically enter a little greenhouse with a REAL LIVING TREE in the center of the restaurant. Every wooden surface, faded piece of art, pot of plant, and trendy diner (see B.J. in this one) is Instagram worthy. K.C., B.J., R.Y., and I got to the restaurant before it even opened (10am on weekends) to ensure we got in without a wait.

House of Small Wonder
We each started with the Lavender Latte ($5). This is one deliciously smooth, creamy, latte with a hint of lavender. It has just the right amount of sweetness to feel like a real latte and not a dessert. I give it 10 out of 10 points for warming me physically and emotionally (lots of feelings were expressed at this brunch <3). For those looking for more of a boozy brunch experience, they also offer a cocktail list with concoctions such as fizzy pear, lavender lemonade, and tipsy latte. K.C., B.Y., R.Y. – next time we do boozy?

House of Small Wonder
K.C. and I both ordered the Sashimi Zuke Don ($15), which consisted of soy sauce marinated sashimi of the day, avocado, sweet mushrooms, sesame, and egg served over sushi rice. The ratio of toppings to rice was perfect. Every bite was like a perfect bite of sushi really. The quality of fish was solid (not the highest grade but also zero fishiness). The rice was great. Highly recommend. Continue reading

Shawarma Mediterranean Grill Flame House (longest name for the tiniest place)

Shawarma Mediterranean Grill Flame House
Shawarma Mediterranean Grill Flame House (right by Prospect Park)
212 Prospect Park W
Brooklyn, NY 11215

A good while ago, before my trip to Iceland with LAW, N.T., and G.B., we decided we needed to prep for the upcoming intense hiking by doing some local hiking in … Prospect Park. So maybe it wasn’t so intense, but we pretended it was by taking a bunch of well-planned, well-cropped photos. Before we started our rigorous day in the park, we stopped by Shawarma Mediterranean Grill Flame House, which seemed to be a local favorite.

Shawarma Mediterranean Grill Flame House We got off the F train and found this tiny restaurant.  Continue reading

Fushimi: French inspired Japanese food

Fushimi
Fushimi
475 Driggs Ave (right off of the L train in Williamsburg)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Doesn’t look like NYC right? Fushimi is a gigantic restaurant (in NYC terms) tucked a couple streets behind the Bedford Ave stop on the L train in Williamsburg. I wouldn’t have known about it had I not been invited to sample their menu recently. I brought LAW along with me who also played Mr. Photographer for me. And let me tell you, it was quite an experience. 

Fushimi
The place is decorated like a lounge. Red and blue lights everywhere. I was told to ask for Sunny when I got in. So I did, and the hostess said, “you must be Tiffany,” as she curtsied/bowed to me. Service is serious. We waited for a couple minutes before Sunny showed up in a tight-fitted suit. 

Fushimi
He brought us to our table, which was in a booth with red tassels that hung off the top rim of the ceiling. The decor was very stereotypically “Asian” – I almost felt like I was in Hong Kong at a mafia-run lounge. Sunny had the chef prepare us a special menu that included some specials they planned to debut over Mother’s Day weekend. The food is fusion, which is often way too sweet and drenched in sauces for me. Fushimi was different, and was less fusion than French-inspired Japanese food. Sunny also explained that a lot of people tend to think of Japanese food as just raw fish, which he tries to dispel through Fushimi’s menu. Fushimi’s menu is therefore mostly cooked food. Something Sunny hopes will appeal more to Westerners or older folks who are not used to eating raw foods.

FushimiAll the menu items are Japanese inspired but certainly don’t stay within the realm of Japanese food. LAW started with the West Meets East cocktail ($10), which is a whiskey based cocktail that is very, very strong. Definitely a good deal given the quality of the drink.

Fushimi
I started with the Yuzu Citrus Martini, which is a deeeelicious girly drink. Yuzu is a citrus fruit commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It kind of tastes like a grapefruit and mandarin orange hybrid… very great for a cocktail because the bitterness cuts out the alcohol flavor.

Fushimi
Our food adventure begins with the Prawn Frites ($15) with coconut and macadamia crusted jumbo prawns and homemade lemon tartar sauce. The side salad was dressed in a yuzu wasabi vinaigrette.

Fushimi
The prawns were ginormous. The photo doesn’t do it justice because you have nothing to compare it to. The prawn was sweet, tender, and very meaty on the inside. I couldn’t really taste the macadamia crust but the coconut added a nice flakey texture to the crust. Good stuff.

Continue reading

An Epic Birthday Dinner at Peter Luger’s

Peter Luger's
Peter Luger Steakhouse
178 Broadway
(between 6th St & Driggs Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

I’ve been around the block now, nearly three years in NYC, and to this day, I only crave the steak of Peter Luger’s. 50% of the reason is that the steak is just so damn tasty. The steak has a crust that is so savory and charred that is also drizzled with extra steak oil before it is served. 30% of the reason is for the bacon. So damn delicious. The last 20% of my love for Peter Luger’s comes from the no BS attitude and air of the restaurant. Replace the usual white tablecloth stuffiness of a usual steakhouse with simple, rustic wooden tables.

Read more about my take on the service in my last Luger’s post before I had my awesome food camera. Pictures below are from my EPIC quarter century birthday. Continue reading

Comfort Found in Meatballs: The Meatball Shop

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeatball Shop
170 Bedford Ave
(between 8th St & 7th St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

I hope you’ve been here already by now. There really is no excuse. It’s cheap. It’s hip. It’s healthy and unhealthy as you want it to be. I’ve blogged about The Meatball Shop before, but my old camera didn’t do it justice. If you’re looking to spend less than $15 for delicious, unpretentious, hearty food, The Meatball Shop should be on the top of your list.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe menu is sort of confusing if it’s your first time. There are five types of meatballs (beef, spicy pork, chicken, veggie, and special-of-the-day), six sauces (tomato, spicy meat, mushroom, parm. cream, pesto, and special-of-the-day), and essentially four ways to eat them:

  1. Plain with sauce and bread (four meatballs per serving, $7)
  2. As sliders (one meatball per slider, $3)
  3. In a sandwich of some sort (two to three meatballs per serving, $9-$10)
  4. Over a bed of whatever vegetables the chef feels like giving you (three meatballs per serving $10)

There are also sides that you can pair your balls with, such as spaghetti, roasted greens, risotto, etc. These sides can go under your balls of next to your balls. You can mix and match as you like. That’s pretty much it. Continue reading

Eating My Catch: Fishing for Fluke in Brooklyn

Seaqueen VII
2250 Emmons Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235

This past Saturday, I got up at 4:50AM and got on the train at 5:20AM to Sheepshead Bay to board the Captain Steve’s Seaqueen VII. J.P. organized this lovely morning trip (that I almost didn’t go to until I found a Groupon deal for half the price: $35 for two, instead of $35 for one). Nothing against J.P. or fishing at all, I’m just really not a morning person. I grumpily made my way to the boat and complained about my hurting stomach and stinging eyes (my symptoms of lack of sleep).


My sleepy fingers were not excited about touching these little guys until… the first catch of the day was made. An experienced young fisher caught a 26 inch fluke. The entire boat erupted in loud cheers. In 20 minutes, cheers were happening all over the boat as more and more people caught fish. If your fluke is 19 inches or longer, you get to keep it and take it home. I started to wake up because I realized I could be bringing home dinner. That would make my trip worth it. I started trying and about two hours later, I caught something. It was a pathetic 10 inch little guy.


As small as this looks, this is actually my second catch. I only made two catches on Saturday, but the second one made the cut at a full 22 inches! My roommates on the trip, LAW, H.W., and S.S., were probably all selfishly (sel-fish-ly?) happy because they knew we would have a fresh catch for dinner. Continue reading

Ganso, Brooklyn’s ramen attempt.

GansoGanso
25 Bond St
(between Livingston St & Fulton St)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

ANOTHER ramen place I needed to try. I needed to try it so badly I was willing to trek all the way into Brooklyn for it, and not Williamsburg I tell you, DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN. So far, I have tried Totto, Ippudo, Minca, Kambi, Hide Chan, Rai Rai Ken, and Yuji, all hyped up ramen places that battle every year to be the best (let me add that Totto doesn’t get as much love as I think it deserves). Ganso is now added to that list. It is rated 4 stars on Yelp with 84 reviews, most of which rave about the “perfectly al dente noodles” and “solid ramen” bowls. One even described the the ramen as “transcendent.” Go figure.

Ganso
I came with V.P. and J.W. for a Sunday lunch. We shared the Buta Kimchi Buns ($9), which came with two buns stuffed with 9 braised pork belly, jalapeño kimichi, and spicy mayo. It only cost $4 for an extra bun (I was expecting $5). I wasn’t expecting too much from this almost conventional “pan-asian” bun filled with korean kimchi, chinese pork belly, and mexican jalapeños. Given the whole mexican korean food truck craze and the general korean-chinese mix, the concept (A.W.) of the bun seemed ordinary. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised. The pork belly had a perfect 2:3 fat to non-fat ratio. It was thickly sliced and mouth-wateringly succulent. Flavors were just right; a little sweetness and saltiness from the pork with no extra sauce (aka. actually flavored meat) and a little acidity and spice from the jalapeño kimchi. The mayo wrapped everything up in a nice creamy explosion of flavors. I really enjoyed this.

Ganso
We also shared Rio’s Wings ($9), which included 6 Bonchon-esque wings. Legit tasted like Bonchon.  Continue reading