To get everyone through the dog days of summer, we've asked our readers to tell us about a favorite, somewhat oddball restaurant, bar, or place of note that perhaps exists mostly off the radar. We'll be running submissions throughout the week, so please send in further recs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack the Horse Tavern, 66 Hicks Street, Brooklyn Heights
Jack the Horse tavern is a well kept secret, even among Brooklyn Heights residents who might never find it if someone didn’t show them the way. Located on totally residential corner on Hicks Street, Chef Tim turns out consistently impressive food that should draw far more people from outside the hood. The dining room is small, and is pretty crowded most nights with a mix of long time customers and tourists who luckily stumbled in off the promenade three blocks away.
The unquestionable winner on their menu is the mac and cheese app, a mix of cheeses including an incredibly smoky gouda lightly topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. You will see one on almost every table, and it is truly the best mac and cheese in town (I have had many, many.) The smoked gouda injects a rich bacon-y flavor, and my vegetarian friends cannot believe there is not meat in there somewhere.
They also have a top flight burger topped with asiago and pickled onions. If you go early in the week before they run out, you can get it on a homemade English muffin. On a recent visit I also enjoyed an amazing Halibut special ( they do seafood really well) I have been going to JTH for about two years, and I always take visiting friends there. I would just like to see the place get a little of the attention it deserves. It really feels like a secret New York spot, and when the windows are open to the quiet street in the summer, an early evening dinner there is the most relaxing in town. Try the “behind the knees” cocktail with Prosecco and St. Germain, it is special.
Vai, 225 West 77th St., Upper West Side
I really like VAI, on W.77th & Broadway.
Chef is also the owner and very attentive. He's cooked in a lot of great places and the menu is very good...semi-casual, nice outdoor seating, good branzino, pesto, crudo and other good apps...can be hard to get into on the weekends, so we usually go earlier in the week.
Luna Rossa, 552 Court St., Carroll Gardens
Neapolitan pizza a few blocks South of Frankies in Carroll Gardens. So. Good. Under the radar and priced accordingly.