Eating upscale gourmet doesn’t have to break your wallet, thanks to the number of Park Slope restaurants offering quick-service, gourmet fast food from around the world. Whether searching through a hidden gem of a dumpling house, trendy grass-fed hot dog cafe, or authentic Jamaican pattie joint, we scoured the streets to find some of the Slope’s most creative and epicurean fast food spots. From juicy burgers to bao sandwiches, veggie dogs to hearty homemade soups, Park Slope has you covered in affordable ethnic fare from all over the globe. With our neighborhood boasting too many cafes to include in one post, here is Part II of Casual Gourmet in the Slope.
(Previously: Casual Gourmet in the Slope)
1. Bark, 474 Bergen Street (5th Avenue & Flatbush), (718) 789-1939
Bark lifts the humble wiener to gastronomical heights with a juicy, grass-fed, griddle roasted, artisanal blend of pork and beef nestled in a toasted bun (pictured above). With an assortment of upscale traditional toppings from house-made sauerkraut and smoked bacon, to sweet and sour pickled onions and homemade relish, chefs Brandon Gillis and Joshua Sharkey put painstaking effort into their recipes, and it comes through in every bite. Aside from Bark’s dogs, the skin-on fries are noteworthy, and can be topped with cheese, homemade chili, and gravy, in the spirit of Canadian poutine. Vegetarians are treated to the potato-apple-sage Veggie Dog with roasted mushrooms and chickpea topping ($7), or whole grain chickpea-roasted Veggie Burger with pickled garlic dressing ($6.25). Wash your dog down with a black and white milkshake or Sixpoint draft beer, while contemplating seconds. Oscar Mayer, eat your heart out.
2. Dumplings & Things, 375B 5th Avenue (5th & 6th Street), (718) 768-2200
Don’t be deceived by the casual and unpretentious exterior of Dumplings & Things; prepare yourself to try some of the best (and cheapest) dumplings in New York. Seriously. Pan-fried or steamed, dumplings are stuffed to capacity with flavorful ingredients ranging from simple Vegetables or Pork & Chives, to the more daring Chicken, Shrimp & Cilantro or zesty Spicy Beef & Kimchi. If you’re really hungry, add an authentic Bao—or soft yeast-bun sandwich—stuffed with Melt in your Mouth Pork Belly ($3) to your order, or on weekends–Peking Duck ($3.50). Dumplings & Things is a must if you’re in the neighborhood.
3. Gather, 341 7th Ave (9th & 10th St.)
At seasonal specialty foods café Gather, everything is made from scratch, every day. Specializing in upscale comfort food from a variety of global cuisines, the chefs use only high quality, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients for every dish. Offering beautifully prepared soups, sandwiches, proteins, salads, and sides, house-made specialties include fresh Roasted Vegetables with Sage Pesto, Lemon Chicken, Baked Mac n’ Cheese, and soups ranging from a simple vegetarian Tomato Basil or Butternut Squash, to a heartier Turkey Meatball or Ham & Bean. Full “Meals” are available for take-out, ranging in price from $12-$16.50. In addition to healthful savory cuisine, Gather also serves strong Intelligentsia coffee, Kusmi Tea, fresh juices, gluten-free cookies ($3.25), and artisanal chocolates. And WIFI!
4. Christie’s Pattie’s, 387 Flatbush Avenue at 8th Avenue, (718) 636-9746
The hugely popular Jamaican pattie is a flaky, thick, and golden calzone–shaped pastry stuffed with curried or jerked beef, chicken, or vegetables, and generally served on thick and sweet Caribbean coco bread. Christie’s–a small and functional spot on North Flatbush–pumps out some serious patties, ranging from the standard Beef or Chicken ($2.50) to the authentic Calalloo (leaf vegetable–$2.50), Shrimp ($3), or Meatloaf ($2.50). Cheese and coco bread ($2.50) are popular accompaniments, as well as homemade sides of sweet bread, currant rolls, spice buns, sugar buns, or rock cakes. Other traditional, heartier offerings include Oxtail ($10.50), Curried Goat, and Escovitch (spicy fried fish–$9.50) served with rice and peas. Swill it all down with a Ginger Beer or Homemade Sour Sop, and experience the true taste of the islands.
5. Luscious Food, 59 5th Avenue (between Bergen & St. Mark’s), (718) 398-5800
If you’re hankering for comfort food and crave the taste of a slow-cooked meal, look no further: Luscious Food “makes slow food fast.” Offering an abundant assortment of entrees, salads, sandwiches, sides, and desserts, this light and spacious café on Fifth Avenue satisfies pretty much any craving. Everything is made in-house, from stick-to-your bones favorites like Mac and Cheese with Baked Ham ($8.50), or the “Slow Ro” (Roast Beef, Caramelized Onions, Swiss & Horseradish–$8.50), to a healthy and refreshing Greek Salad Wrap ($7.50), Create-your-own Salad ($9.50), or sides of fresh vegetables and dips. With seven grilled cheese sandwich options on the menu, they had me at hello.
6. Olive Vine, 54 7th Avenue (between Lincoln & St. John Place), (718) 622-2626
You’re in for a treat at Olive Vine, whether bringing home a quick, delicious and wholesome meal, or dining in their charming back room and outdoor garden. Because of its layout, the deceptively casual entranceway belies the romantic dining area—ideal for an intimate and casual meal that won’t break the bank. With a number of authentic appetizers ranging from the traditional Hummus or Babaghanouj, to Labana (a cured lemony yogurt spread) or Foul (spiced fava beans with garlic), the Assorted Sampler ($9) is a great option, offering 5 choices of salads, and warm homemade pita bread. Other popular dishes include the Falafel Platter ($7) with tahini dressing, creamy Lentil Soup ($5) with warm pita, or if you’re really hungry—Chicken Ouzi—a phyllo pastry stuffed with chicken, yogurt sauce, almonds, raisins, vegetables and basmati rice ($12). More often than not, the server brings the check with complimentary sweet almond cake. Sigh.
Have we left anyone out, Park Slope? Write in with your favorite places to grab a quick bite!