As we know, the children of Brooklyn now have a prominent voice in the New York dining scene. Perhaps for this reason, we've seen a lot of new restaurants open up lately that appeal to both the discerning little gourmands, and their fully grown companions who are footing the bill for the fun night out. Many of these places have spiffy dining rooms, extensive cocktails lists and sometimes games and other attractions to keep the kids happy while they munch. But are these eateries really geared more towards children, or adults? Here's everything you need to know about five hip new Brooklyn family restaurants.
5) Brooklyn Farmacy
The Gist: Old-school sundaes, sodas and sweet treats, made with goods from local purveyors, and organic dairy products. But the real draw is the faithfully restored, nearly century-old dining room, which features pressed tin ceilings, a tile floor and antique wood shelves.
What's for Kids: PB & J sandwiches ($4.25), ice cream sundaes ($5.25-$7.95).
What's for Adults: The old-timey aesthetic. Seriously, kids do not care if a restaurant recalls a genteel, turn-of-the-century soda fountain. If children had their way, every restaurant would be painted the color of Shrek, with unicorn-shaped chairs, servers in pirate costumes and forks made of Skittles.
But, Is it for Kids or Adults?: Definitely for adults. Especially grown-up fans of The Music Man.
4) Crif Dogs Williamsburg
The Gist: The East Village hot dog hangout jumped the river and set up shop directly above the entrance to the Bedford L-Train. The new location features the same menu of classic wieners, as well as vintage skateboards on the wall and old-school video games.
What's for Kids: Good, simple hot dogs, the games, and also the adorable dancing dog on their website.
What's for Adults: Late night hours, $5.00 cans of Dale's Pale Ale, the "Spicy Redneck."
But Is it for Kids or Adults?: Depends on your definition of "adult."
The Gist: A menu of elevated American comfort foods, plus an elaborate entertainment room in the back. A potentially groundbreaking update of the Chuck E. Cheese-style dining room concept.
What's For Kids: Arcade games, skeeball machines, DVD players, pigs in a blanket, pasta with butter.
What's for Adults: A full bar, pizza made from a "800-year old goats' milk dough recipe," wasabi-crusted seared tuna, staff supervision in the game room.
But, Is it for Kids or Adults?: Most definitely for kids. If we can believe one blogger, the division of "bigs" and "littles" isn't working out so well: "even if we were seated up front with the kidless adults, the noise level and commotion throughout the rest of the joint still would have been way to much for me on a normal night out where I'm just trying to enjoy my dinner." That diner did however note that the game room was "cool as hell." It's still a new business, though, so only time will tell if PSBklyn can master the formula.
2) Fornino Park Slope
The Gist: This new location of the Williamsburg pizza shop serves grilled pies and many different pastas. After diners complained that there wasn't enough of options for kids, the owners tacked on some wagon wheel mac and cheese, making it instantly more accessible to families.
What's for Kids: The aforementioned wagon wheel mac and some serious $7 spaghetti and meatballs.
What's for Adults: A pricey black truffle pizza, an extensive list of antipasti, grilled meats and those pastas.
But, Is it for Kids or Adults?: Two weeks ago, it was most definitely for adults. But now, chef Michael Ayoub, the guy with the masterful hand with the noodles and entrees, is gone. People have complained about the pizzas since day one, so right now, that wagon wheel mac may be the restaurant's strongest asset. Only time will tell.
1) Brooklyn Flipsters
Specs: A Park Slope burger pub serving sandwiches in the $8-$14 range, with a few high minded options like a Wagyu beef burger, and some kid-friendly finger foods, too.
What's for Kids: Chicken strips, hot dogs, whatever the hell this is.
What's for Adults: A full bar with plenty of flat-screens.
But, Is it for Kids or Adults?: A tough call. With that name, you might expect Romper Room, but with double-stacked cheeseburgers. And yet, the extensive cocktail list and overall watering-hole vibe suggests a grown-up hangout? File under: fun for the whole family.
On the Horizon: No one knows exactly what treasures curious newcomer Vinzee's Magic Fountain will bring to Carroll Gardens. But, we're fairly certain it will either be a place where servers do magic tricks, like Ninja, a karaoke bar with food, or a (potentially earth-shattering) combination magic parlor/karaoke den/50s style diner, which might make it the perfect new family dining destination.