Vanderbilt: Brooklyn’s Restaurant Row

BK

It seems that lately everyone is a “foodie”. Step into any bar throughout the country during happy hour and you’ll catch conversations over who has the best Korean tacos or Vietnamese sandwiches. Brooklyn, especially, is known for its unique and large gourmand culture.

This culture, this identity that many native Brooklynites lay claim to is not without good reason. Vanderbilt Avenue, in the tree-lined, Brownstoned neighborhood of Prospect Heights is home to some of the New York’s finest restaurants and bars. The selection of eateries reflects the diversity of the surrounding community. Here you can find anything from classic Italian fare to Latin fusion cuisine, all along a stretch of specialty shops and pubs.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite haunts to share. Selecting such a small sampling among the numerous choices one has along Vanderbilt is sure to cause some derision. After all, New Yorkers are extremely defensive and passionate about their food. However, think of this as a sampler appetizer: not an authoritative guide to the best of everything, but rather a summary of what you can find.

Cornelius

On the corner of Pacific and Vanderbilt, you’ll find a mahogany-lined restaurant named Cornelius. Locals flock here for its fine selection of whiskeys, but you will more than likely feel right at home with its great American, home-style food.

Great specials on Oysters are a big crowd pleaser here, but you’ll also find simpler favorites such as mac and cheese with bacon and delicious pulled bbq pork sliders. The ‘pubstaurant’, as the owners affectionate call her, harkens back to an early 20th century Americana. The kind of fun-loving classiness that propelled the U.S. through the prohibition days are in full effect here.

Mitchell’s

Quality soul food can be hard to find this far north of the Mason Dixon, but Mitchell’s has no shortage of it. Southern staples such as collard greens and what the Village Voice called the “Best Fried Chicken” in 2011 are sure to please your inner southerner.

Obviously in this day of health-conscious eating, it’s hard to fathom a restaurant that still serves up tons of carbs and butter is so popular. Mitchell’s is small, but incredibly large in heart.

Luz

Luz is an anomaly. Restaurants that proclaim that they’re fusion-this or fusion-that usually slip right off our radar, but the fact of the matter is that this eatery has just plain old great food. The head chef, Jorge Adriazola, has created a menu as diverse as his own background of Italian and Peruvian descent.

Delicious caramelized chicken is served unpretentiously upon simple white plates. True fusion dishes such as the “Chino Latino Ceviche” take such an integral Latin American dish and elevate to the heights of the finest cuisine that France or Italy could produce. Don’t miss the Salmon Escabeche either!

Franklin Park

Ok, you got us. Technically Franklin Park is a bar, and a great one at that. This is the kind of bar that every city in America should be so lucky to have. Built from the remains of a old, dilapidated service garage, Franklin Park sports not one, but two bars with an incredible outdoor patio to enjoy its solid selection of suds.

Connected right next door is Dutch Boy Burger, home to some of the greatest onion rings we’ve ever had. Eating fine gourmet food and great wine is a passion, but many times you yearn for the simple burger done right and a frosty microbrew. This place is definitely the spot to spend those long summer evenings with friends.

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