Earlier this month, we hosted food photographer and blogger Jen Balisi (@IndulgentEats) at Common’s Pacific Flagship home. The challenge? Find the best eats in Crown Heights. Here is Jen’s ‘must-try’ guide (we still have no idea how she polished this all off in one weekend):
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The vibe: This hip Caribbean spot on Franklin Ave. is serving up delicious dishes in a fun environment. With bright colored decor, spiked slushes (hello dark n’ slushie!), and other tiki drinks (some served in a parrot glass!), it’s sure to bring some island vibes into your life.
Tried & loved: jerk chicken, jerk pulled pork hash, breakfast roti, dark n’ slushie
The experience: Low key spot on Franklin Ave specializing in a variety of Korean-influenced steamed buns, from pork jowl to Korean fried chicken. You can also get any of the proteins in a bowl with rice and veggies.
Tried & loved: pork jowl bun, Korean fried chicken bun
Gloria’s Caribbean Cuisine
What to expect: No-frills Caribbean spot on Nostrand Ave., specializing in roti, which is a thick wrap similar to an Indian roti pancake that’s filled with curry stew and wrapped up like a burrito. If you’re looking for bold flavors and a quick, cheap bite, Gloria’s is a great option.
Tried & loved: curry chicken roti
The vibe: Fun Dominican restaurant serving up a number of latin favorites, from pernil (roasted pork) to a variety of empanadas, which are also available for only $1 each during their weekday happy hour. Go with a group for a family style feast over sangria and latin music.
Tried & loved: picadera (sampler of tostones, Dominican sausage, fried cheese, salted beef, and crispy chicken and pork belly), pernil, yuca fries, spicy pork empanadas
The Crabby Shack
What to expect: Basically crab heaven. The Crabby Shack features almost every imaginable crab dish you can imagine, from crab rolls to crab mac and cheese to crab tacos and a crab BLT on texas toast. You can also buy crab legs by the pound.
Tried & loved: crab roll (but I really really wanted that crab BLT!)
The experience: Massive food and drink hall featuring a rotating set of 4 vendors, curated by the team behind Smorgasburg. You can post up for a morning coffee at their coffee bar or bring a group of friends to sit in their large communal tables. They also have a full bar and frequently have events, like NFL game screenings and movie nights. Of the current set of vendors, my favorites are easily Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, making some of the best Texas-style BBQ in the city, and Lumpia Shack, serving up Filipino-inspired spring rolls, rice bowls and other offerings.
Tried & loved: Mighty Quinn’s brisket, brontausaurus rib, and burnt ends baked beans. Lumpia Shack’s truffled mushroom lumpia, fried chicken & ube waffles with sunny side up egg, chicken rice bowl
The vibe: Low key cafe on Franklin Ave. serving up a variety of biscuit-based breakfast items as well asI had the “Green Eggs and Duck” which was an insane egg sandwich on a giant biscuit with soft scrambled eggs, smoked duck, avocado, and cheddar. Their biscuits & gravy looked tasty as well, where you get a giant biscuit and a mason jar filled with sausage gravy (no soggy biscuits!)
Tried & loved: green eggs & duck sandwich
The experience: While I’ve never been to Nashville, I’ve heard of the wonders of Nashville hot chicken, and Peach’s Hothouse in neighboring Bed-Stuy is serving up a seriously tasty version of it that’s moist, juicy, and flavorful. Get an order with a variety of sides for a delightfully indulgent Southern-style meal.
Tried & loved: hot chicken, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes
Here are a few more spots from Jen’s “to-eat” list that she couldn’t make it to this time around…
Vibe: Upscale, New American
Known for: Best pizza in Crown Heights
Go for: Tacos & margaritas
The Food Sermon
Must-try: The Caribbean-style lamb or salmon bowls
Known for: Nachos & breakfast tacos
David’s Brisket House
Vibe: Old-school Jewish pastrami and meats
Tilda All Day
Vibe: Inventive breakfast food in Clinton Hill
Go for: Doughnuts, doughnuts, doughnuts
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