As much as I like freelancing from home, I do miss one thing about office life: being around other people. During busy periods, you can spend days without speaking to a single other person. And as a result, you go a little loco. So I’ve started getting together with my friend Barb, who also works from home, to explore lunch spots in our neighborhood. It’s a nice break from our solitary work environments. It also helps us cross off places in our massive, oh-so-geeky Google spreadsheet of restaurants to try. Two birds, one stone!
Here are two great places we’ve recently hit.
1. Taro Sushi – This is my favorite sushi restaurant in all of Brooklyn. I had been here for dinner many times before and always order the same appetizer: broiled mackerel with ponzu sauce (first pic above), so crisp and perfect with the slightly tangy sauce. The restaurant itself is spacious and serene, but also manages to be a comfortable neighborhood spot. The sushi, while not world-changing, is always reliably fresh and so good. For lunch you can choose between an assortment of sushi roll, noodle, and bento box combos with soup and salad for around $11. If I lived closer I’d come here every other day.
2. Al di la – Barb surprised me with a lunch here on my birthday last week. And what a great surprise! I’m actually a little ashamed to admit it was my first visit here, despite living in the neighborhood for almost two years. The spaghetti alla chitarra seems to change regularly, but that day it came with guanciale, peas, Parmesan, and an incredibly flavorful light cream sauce. The funghi e polenta, or wild mushrooms with polenta, was also pretty amazing; it came on a bed of braised greens, Parmesan, and a hidden poached egg whose yolk added even more flavor to the dish. And of course, the rustic Italian farmhouse decor was icing on the cake. I’m already plotting my dinner here. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.
More Brooklyn lunch exploration to come!
446 Dean St. (between 5th Ave. and Flatbush Ave.)
Al di la Trattoria
284 5th Ave. (at Carroll St.)