News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
January 27, 2021
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Food + Drink

Brooklyn Restaurant News

By Lisa M. Collins
Ciro's Italian opens in the former Fall Cafe spot on Smith.

Since South Brooklyn Post launched in late 2010, the restaurant scene here has exploded, ushering in a West-Village-like newness that is sometimes discombobulating. And while the new entries have been a mixed bag, there is a feeling of repetition that is unfortunate. What we don’t need is another burger or Italian or thai place, no matter how good they might be.

Where’s the high-quality Chinese restaurant—which would be perfect for the empty space at Union and Smith streets, or howabout some Korean or Vietnamese? We could use a really good Israeli/Amsterdam falafal/salad bar… and why do our best restaurants (Battersby) have to get stuffed into tiny spaces, while the new burger joint, Burgers on Smith gets the cavernous spot formerly housing Faan, an Asian-bistro-club at Smith and Baltic?

Again–someone, please, open a great Chinese (dim sum anyone?) or Korean or Vietnamese restaurant, with high quality food.

That’s not to say we don’t have our share of newish restaurants that ARE inventive and surprising. Hats off in that regard to Karloff, which recently reopened as a bar/Eastern-influenced restaurant on Court at Degraw, after closing as a breakfast, lunch and dinner cafe serving Russian specialties; Van Horn, serving delicious North Carolina fare including its stellar fried chicken sandwich and spinach, blue cheese salad, and playing blue grass every Sunday for brunch; La Vara, a sight for the eyes, serving Spanish/Jewish delicacies; and Brucie, in which young chef Zahra Tangorra keeps things always surprising and inventive with her almost abstract yet lush approach to Italian food.

The new ramen place, Dassara Brooklyn, looked close to opening on Thursday night, on Smith.

Some folks are gaga over the celebrity-chef thai Pok Pok New York on Columbia Street (two hour waits for a casual restaurant in the Columbia waterfront district… you gotta love that. Three cheers for our under-dog neighbor, which  has struggled since the BQE cut it off.)

Just of late Smith Street restaurant pioneer Jim Mamary opened Ciro’s, an old-school Italian theme type of restaruant in the former Fall Cafe space. Mamary opened Patois (which started the Smith Street restaurant scene in 1998. Back then, New York Magazine called it the city’s best neighborhood bistro), followed by the Zombie Hut tiki bar (by the way the place has a great back garden cocktail lounge if you haven’t been), Pacifico Mexican restaurant, and the darling Black Mountain Wine House at Hoyt and Union streets, to name a few. For most, Mamary opens the places and runs them for a while before selling them. He’s our best hope to open a great Chinese eatery. If you know him well, please pass on the message.

The jury is out on Ciro’s. Is it named after the late Ciro “Jerry Bagels” Geritano?

Blogger Katia Kelly has a fascinating back-and-forth commentary on the place in her Carroll Gardens news blog, Pardon Me for Asking.


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