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COLUMN: A brief guide to the food scene of Brooklyn, New York



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A view of the Brooklyn Bridge from SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill's outdoor patio.  Varda He Buy Photos

My most regular haunts in New York City, whenever I come back, include the borough of Queens, where I live, and Manhattan, known to locals as "the City", where most interesting things in New York usually happen. 

This summer, however, I had the opportunity to intern at a medical service company in downtown Manhattan, only a train ride away from the borough of Brooklyn.

A chance visit after work to an ice cream shop in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn ignited my curiosity to explore. For the following weeks, I rampaged through review sites and prowled the Brooklyn streets looking for the restaurants that caught my fancy. Among those I’ve visited, here are three of my favorites. 

Republic of Booza 

Address: 76 N. 4th St., Brooklyn, NY 11249

This quirky ice cream shop offers its customers traditional Middle Eastern ice cream, which is known for its elastic properties that The New York Times compares to fresh mozzarella. In fact, the word “booza” directly translates to ice cream in Arabic. 

Believed to be more than 500 years old, booza originates from the eastern part of the Mediterranean and is made from ground orchid roots, mastic tree sap, and milk. The concoction is pounded with large wooden pestles and stretched by hand, resulting in ice cream so thick and flexible that one can twirl it about with a spoon. 

Apart from classic favorites like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, the shop also sells more experimental flavors for its bolder patrons, several noteworthy ones being Sichuan white chocolate, saffron peppercorn, mint tahini chip and red miso. 

SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill

Address: 55 Water St., Suite 1A, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Housed in a renovated warehouse, this trendy Miami-originated club-restaurant serves globally inspired small plates with a spectacular view of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. As the restaurant name suggests, it also features a seafood raw bar, sushi, sashimi and an open-fire grill. 

I tried ordering the American wagyu slider. According to the menu, it comes with tonkatsu sauce, quail eggs, mushrooms and caramelized onions. The dish ended up being a flawless combination of all of the aforementioned parts — the mushrooms and wagyu patties were grilled just right, the tonkatsu sauce added a dash of flavor and the quail eggs were the icing on the cake. 

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria 

Address: 1215 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224

Mere blocks away from the Coney Island beach and boardwalk, this pizza place’s street facing windows also features a view of the Wonder Wheel. Grimaldi's is part of a New York City-based pizzeria chain that specializes in pizza made in coal-fired brick ovens, which result in the thin, crispy crust they serve at to the restaurant. The pizzeria is also noteworthy for only selling whole pies rather than slices. 

Despite Coney Island’s popularity, Grimaldi’s most famous location is under the Brooklyn Bridge, where guests can indulge in the pizzeria’s signature whole pies while listening to a jukebox full of Frank Sinatra classics. Legend has it Sinatra enjoyed Grimaldi’s pizzas so much he would have them flown to Las Vegas. 

If you ever find yourself in New York City, don't merely be content to check out places listed on tourist guides. Keep an open mind, explore a bit and a surprise discovery might be around the corner.

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