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Crabby Dick’s
18831 Coastal Highway
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971-6153
(302) 645-9132

{Google Maps | Website}‎

Maryland is known for crabs.  To eat Maryland fresh cracked crab or crabcakes is to taste crab as it was intended to taste.  It’s known nationwide like Maine Lobster, Texas beef, & Berkshire pork (which originated from England, not the Berkshire Mountains – but work with me here!)  A few miles north, however lies a small state (the first, in fact) that tends to be overlooked for its pristine beaches, lively boardwalks, and towns like Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, and Bethany Beach, which contain a plethora of fresh seafood restaurants like Crabby Dick’s.

My in-laws told us we’d probably think it’s too touristy – and touristy it is.  You walk in to an enormous gift shop filled with crab inspired t-shirts, wall hangings, mugs, magnets, caps, and towels, etc – some with the Crabby Dick’s logo, some with the girl version (Anita Dick), and others that plainly ask, “Got Crabs…?”  The crab fan that I am I was tempted to buy one of everything, and may have followed through had my more sensible half not looked at me as if to say, “why do we need crab salt & pepper shakers?”  It was decided that some photos, plus a crabby meal would be enough.

Sitting down to eat in a restaurant like Crabby Dick’s you expect a decent meal – at least something freshly caught with mediocre sides, and some cold beer.  What we got, however was a fantastic meal – big, meaty, sweet, fresh crab legs dipped in the most perfect clarified butter, and washed down with ice cold Shock Top beer.  Even the starter Crab Balls – mini crab cakes, and Corn Balls – mini, creamy corn fritters blew me away.  And the oysters?  Don’t get me started.  Fresh, meaty, briny, plump, perfectly cold…I love oysters!  Plus, they start you out with a basket of Old Bay seasoned popcorn.  I love Old Bay too!!  There were six of us at the table, and each of us was happy…no, ecstatic over our meals.  One person ordered a combo pot of crab legs and shrimp, and couldn’t finish her shrimp, so guess who did…me!  And the shrimp were awesome – lightly dusted in Old Bay, perfectly sweet with a bit of a snap – the way shrimp should be.

We opted against dessert even though the gigantic brownie with whipped cream tower that the three cougars at the neighboring table had looked delicious, and they do serve key lime pie, we were all just stuffed to the gills.

It may be in my best interest on my next trip to Lewes to seek out a place more off the main drag, but I would go back to Crabby Dick’s in a heartbeat…and I’d buy the salt & pepper shakers too!

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Crabby Dick’s can also be enjoyed at:
30 Clinton Street
Fort Delaware
Delaware City, DE
302-832-5100

&
PORT TOBACCO MARINA
7536 Shirley Blvd
Port Tobacco, MD
301-392-0007

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Linger Cafe & Lounge
533 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1913
(347) 689-4813

{Google Maps | Website}

Jessica Pichardo runs from the backyard space of Linger Café & Lounge, her restaurant on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn where she’s chatting up a group of people to say hello to me.  She seems a bit frazzled – the polar opposite of the mood in the restaurant which is more laid back and calm.  But such is life when you run a café in a booming neighborhood; working six long days per week.  But she’s in great spirits, and is genuinely happy with her life since opening the doors of Linger almost one year ago. 

In fact, the actual anniversary is Monday, July 19th.  On Saturday the 17th though they’ll be throwing their one year anniversary bash complete with a live DJ & Break Dancing, art by Chris Mendoza and other local artists partnering up with kids art program for disadvantaged youth, and food & drink specials from 8:00 PM until midnight.  A portion of the evening’s proceeds will even be donated to local arts youth programs.

While this may appear ambitious for a local café, the food and fan base speak for themselves.  Jessica opens the restaurant six days a week starting with breakfast all the way through dinner, and beyond.  Ambition is the name of the game if you want to survive in this fickle market.  She even plays into our community’s obsession with outdoor activities with a film series beginning this month that will be held in the backyard through the summer, and will eventually move indoors.  Films will range from experimental, indie, foreign, horror classics, and cult classics.

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Jessica was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy day to answer some pressing questions I had about the restaurant, the one year anniversary, and the surrounding Boerum Hill neighborhood:

What is the concept behind Linger Café & Lounge?
I wanted a nice cross between very sexy parlor living room and modern with the intention of having people seek us out as a respite from the everyday.  You can come in any time of day and just stay for a little while or stay & LingerWe serve food all day; local wine & beer, and homemade baked goods.  It’s just sort of a neighborhood, cozy spot.

What does the cuisine center around?
It’s a mix, really.  We do anything from a really simple sandwich such as our homemade chicken pesto with local free-range chicken.  On the weekends we do a full brunch with poached eggs over shrimp saffron risotto, or French toast that we soak in cream overnight, and serve it with brown sugar, figs, & apples.  Our menu changes a lot.  We have a core offerings, but we like to play around with the rest of it based on what our customers like & don’t like.  It’s important to keep it interesting.

Are you open for weekday breakfast too?
We actually have found that serving breakfast all day works very well for us.  You’d be surprised how many people come in here ordering the Florentine Wrap or French toast at 5:00 in the afternoon.

And you also feature live music?
One of the major things that we’re looking into is making Linger into sort of a community gathering spot, and centering it around art & music.  Every month or so we rotate the art on our walls to feature local Brooklyn artists, and we also have live music a couple days a week usually during brunch.  We’re starting to also have music in the evenings now that the weather is getting warmer.  And it’s also supporting all Brooklyn talent.

Who is your customer?
We are lucky in that we are getting a really wide range of the market.  We have everyone from freelance professionals that live in the area; regulars who stop in for their morning coffee or people who count on us for their weekend brunch. We also have a lot of young couples with kids coming in.  They enjoy the backyard now that the weather is warmer.

What do you see happening in this part of Brooklyn right now and going forward?
 I see a lot of development – more & more people moving to the area.  It’s such a great central location.  We’re on the cusp of a lot of different neighborhoods (Boerum Hill/Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Downtown Brooklyn/Park Slope) within walking distance.  It’s definitely an up and coming area especially with the Atlantic Yards project happening.  I expect a lot more hustle & bustle over the next few years.  I’m excited about being one of the pioneers in this neighborhood, and one of the things that’s important to me is staying true to that mom & pop, small business sort of mentality regardless of how developed the area may become.

What is your culinary background and inspiration for starting Linger?
As a little girl my grandmother would have me clean shrimp to help her get dinner on the table.  It was a real beautiful bonding experience.  I think food is one of the simplest ways that you can touch people and force them to stop for a second and enjoy something simple.  I’ve always been really comfortable in the kitchen.  I waited tables from the time I was 15 years old, so I’ve always been in the (restaurant) industry.  I always thought that I would open up a restaurant later on in life, but after getting laid off from the Banking industry in 2008 I decided to take the plunge sooner.  I hadn’t been very happy the last few years prior, so this was my chance to really do what I wanted.  It’s been a really satisfying labor of love.

What are some of your customers’ favorite dishes?
The pesto chicken sandwich is easily a favorite.  We use local chicken, homemade pesto, and fresh mozzarella.  Brunch is also big for us – we play around a lot with our poached egg dishes sometimes over a crayfish or shrimp risotto, or sometimes mushrooms cooked down with cream & herbs.  I’m actually making a homemade hash with fried eggs for tomorrow.

Where do you see all of this over the next few years?
We’re approaching our one year anniversary in July, and we’re at the point where we’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t, focusing on tightening up the menu, and getting a positive buzz out there.  I definitely want to be the to-go place for good food and a really relaxed environment.  We’re finding the space being used more & more for private parties which is nice because it supports a sort of familiar, cozy. If I can open up the space for a group of 30 people and really make something memorable for them, I think it’s a nice way ot leave an impression on the community.  More importantly – longer term I really want to see this be a sort of focal point for art & music in the neighborhood.  We’re working a lot with local music – we’re actually starting with The Classical Revolution and their New York City following.  They’re a large group known in San Francisco; classically trained musicians – it’s like a jam session of chamber music.  We were featured in Time Out New Yorka couple of weeks ago – there was a piece on us with The Classical Revolution.  Mostly I want to help people take some time out; smell the roses and enjoy an hour.  It makes all the difference in your quality of life.

Linger Cafe & Lounge is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10AM – 10PM, Friday-Saturday, 10AM – 11PM, and Sunday from 10AM – 6PM.

reBar
147 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718.797.2322
{Google Maps | Flickr Set | Website}

DUMBO gastropub reBar (147 Front Street between Pearl and Jay Streets) is proud to announce recent changes that make it worth a first, second, or even a third look!  The addition of Jeremy Leech as executive chef, a rotating seasonal menu and a redesigned dining area kicks off a whole new era in downtown Brooklyn dining. 

Coming by way of Portland and Orlando after a successful stint as executive sous-chef at Park Slope’s Flatbush Farm, Chef Jeremy Leech brings with him an original take on American Continental cuisine.  Leech collaborated with reBar owner Jason Stevens, bar manager Luke Wheeler and maitre ‘d/wine director Bernard Bunye, to put a decidedly seasonal, organic, and locally sourced spin on dishes designed to complement beer, wine and cocktail offerings.  Whether you visit for lunch, brunch, dinner or just a little something at the bar while enjoying over one of reBar’s 15 taps and 120 bottles of world renowned beers, Chef Leech has created a fresh prospective on pub cuisine.  Lovers of libations need not fear, reBar still features the creative cocktails and outstanding wine selections (many Sustainable Agriculture, Organic, and Biodynamic Farming-produced) that made it the winner of Best New Bar of the Year (2007) by Time Out New York magazine.

Stop in for lunch and enjoy the new $8 lunch break, tempting sandwiches teamed with unlimited fountain soda and a choice of hand cut fries, mango fennel apple slaw or side salad.  Offerings include the intimidating ½-pound reBurger (served with house made pickles, Spanish onions, Roma tomato, lettuce, harissa mayo and American cheese on an artisan potato bun – add Chubi bacon for $2 extra), the Philly Cheese Steak (plus Chef Jeremy’s smoked gouda cheese sauce wit’ or wit’out, on a baked Amoroso’s roll), a decadent Grilled Cheese (Danish blue, provolone, imported parmesan with truffle oil, on pressed ciabatta) and reBar’s signature Pulled Pork (24 hour cured, 7 hour slow roasted Smithfield pork, house made BBQ sauce on an artisan potato bun with a side of crème fraiche).  There is even a Vegan (grilled seasonal veggies and soy spread within a baked Amoroso’s roll) for those seeking a meat and dairy-free option.

A la carte lunch offerings are divided into soups and salads, and small plates including Sweet Pea Soup (delicious Chubi bacon another $2 away), a vibrant Cobb Salad (mixed greens, egg whites & yolks, blue cheese, cucumbers, seasonal vegetables; extra for all natural chicken, house marinated hanger steak and seared fish du jour), Marble Potatoes (cast iron roasted with forest mushrooms, confit garlic cream sauce, provolone), a creamy bowl of Mac ‘N Cheese (elbow macaroni, chef’s smoked gouda sauce – bacon $2 extra) and Lemon-scented Artichoke and Spinach Dip (with crispy naan bread). Also unique to the lunch menu is a 12 ounce 24 day dry-aged Angus New York Strip Steak, served with whisky peppercorn sauce and stacks of hand cut fries.

Dinner dazzles as Chef Leech brings his seasonal sensibilities to small plates, soups and salads and mains.  Start with highlights including Ahi Tuna Two Ways (seared/raw center cut, peppermint oil, smoked salt), Yellow Wax Beans (sautéed with spicy chorizo, pearl onions), Leafless Salad (hearts of palm, mixed plum tomatoes, feta cheese, Meyer lemon vinaigrette) and the outstandingly simple and EatingEverywhere.com recommended Polenta (sunny side up egg, truffle oil, pine nuts, parsley salad).

Main’s include Silk Road Bouillabaisse (South Asian saffron broth, blue prawns, day boat scallops, Wellfleet little neck clams, Bouchot mussels, Spanish sardines, seasonal vegetables, baguette), Artichoke (roasted organic with smoked faro, maitake mushrooms, white asparagus-garlic emulsion), Boar Sausage (house made polenta, O’Hara’s demi glace, sautéed organic green and white asparagus), Chicken Breast (brick pressed free-range organic with organic spring succotash) and Fish of the Day (Chef’s preparation).

Weekend brunch features all of your mid-day favorites including eggs, pancakes, and waffles.  Other specialties include Stuffed French Toast (with marshmallow fluff) Fried Chicken & Waffles (with pure Vermont maple syrup) and House-Smoked Salmon (with egg yokes/whites, capers, red onions, toast and cream cheese).  The bar menu, features a selection of small plate dishes as well as original bites such as Paprika Almonds and Crispy Crab Stuffed Cucumbers

Don’t tell anyone, but reBar even has a secret menu!  Tucked in the back of every check server (which are old novels) is a menu of specials and unique dishes for those in the know.

reBar also boasts a new look.  Once the site of the Grand Union Tea Company, reBar has managed to preserve the integrity of its home while remaining appealing to modern diners.  The focal point of the revamped dining room is the Lee Davis designed 2,000 lb (one ton) 20 foot communal table, crafted from reclaimed wood.  With seating for up to 22 guests on this centerpiece, large groups and couples alike can dine together beneath the antique chandeliers and soaring terra-cotta barrel-vaulted ceilings.  Cork paneling interplays with brick walls and custom made tables and chairs to give the area a warm and inviting feel.  The bar area is separated by dramatic ironwork that leads to another communal “harvest table” (this one bar height) as well as seating at the bar and perimeter. Works by some of the area’s most talented artists inject modern flavor into the airy public and private dining areas.

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reBar is located in the heart of Brooklyn’s DUMBO at 147 Front Street, and is open daily Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am, and Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 am.  reBar takes reservations on www.Opentable.com and through their website.  For more information, please call owner Jason Stevens at 917-406-9192, or 718.797.2322 for reservations and to reach reBar directly, or visit www.rebarnyc.com . 

Robin Des Bois Sherwood Cafe
195 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 596-1609
www.sherwoodcafe.com

I’ve been eating in this neighborhood for a number of years now. (approximately 9) Many places come and go, but there are a few that hold their integrity, their quality of food and ambiance, service, and menu. One of these places is Robin Des Bois Sherwood Cafe. During my earliest years in the hood I called it Sherwood, my wife calls it Robin Des Bois…whatever, it’s all the same.

RDBSC is situated on Smith between Warren & Baltic in what I believe was once a shoe or furniture store. The store expanded to the left into what is now New York Perks. You are greeted at the door by a little Michelin Man holding the menu, and windows full of random kitch.

Once inside you’re transported to another time and place – think 1960’s Paris? I don’t know. Wasn’t born until ’77, and prior to last April I’d never been to France. The decor would have you believe it though. It’s part Catholic (large Virgin Mary statue), part cinema (old French movie posters featuring buxom babes), with a mix of plenty of random antique shop / second hand trinkets.

Arrive early enough, and you’ll be seated right away. Your seating choices are inside at one of the many random tables with a mix of wood and plastic chairs, or in the center at their large communal table. You may also eat in their garden space which also features a sitting area for those who choose to only drink. If you’re a late eater you may wait at the bar, and enjoy a beer, a glass of wine from their impeccable selection, or a specialty cocktail. I usually keep it fairly simple with a massive glass of Cotes Du Rhone.

For your meal you may select from a handful of specials, small plates, sandwiches, or large entrees. I can’t stress this enough – if they have mushroom risotto on special, GET IT! You will not regret it. Other favorites are the whole or half roasted chicken with garlic mash and green beans. The chicken is crispy and succulent. There’s also the grilled skirt steak au poivre that comes with potatoes au gratin. Nine times out of ten, this is what I will order. They also make a killer pork chop, lamb merguez sandwich, and croque monsieur.

I’ve taken dates here, friends – my old roommate and I once ate at a table set up in the front window. The wife and I go often, and we even took her parents once who also enjoyed the food and atmosphere.

Another high point for RDBSC is the service. Most, if not all the wait staff is French. But unlike their continental counterparts, there isn’t the slightest hint of rudeness or entitlement about them. I guess you could sum up Robin Des Bois Sherwood Cafe as the total experience.

~Sam

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