I have some shout outs that are long overdue.
1. Franny's. Joanie Joan finally gave me a reason to get my butt over to Franny's on Flatbush several weeks ago. I didn't socialize much at the birthday party. Instead I holed up at the bar, chowing down on their organic, sustainable, local, amazing menu. The bruschetta with ricotta cheese and fresh peas was so good tears came to my eyes. The bartender saw, and he understood; he works there for chrissakes. The zucchini fritto was delicate, crispy, summery. The pizzas were perfection. And Joan's boyfriend showing up to surprise her as a birthday treat? Well, that was the icing on the proverbial (organic, sustainable) cake.
2. The Good Fork. Well, you know how I feel about Red Hook. This place is one more jewel in Van Brunt's crown. It is very cute, very good, and the service (though problematic the night we were there) is friendly. I had their signature "steak and eggs and kimchi" and it was weird and wonderful: slices of flavorful juicy steak, nestled into a ball of kimchi rice, topped with a fried egg, eaten with chopsticks.
3. Queen. If you have ever walked down Court street, from Borough Hall to Atlantic, you know it is a gastronomic wasteland. There are some bad delis, a few pizza joints, Wendy's, McDonald's, some tacky looking Italian joint...wait! That tacky looking Italian joint is a FANCY RESTAURANT! And, wait, are those REVIEWS in the window??? It is so very unlikely, but Queen is an excellent Italian restuarant masquerading as a mediocre, suburban mall restaurant. And although few people I know have been there, it was full the night I was there--a Thursday, by the way. The maitre d' is adorable-knowledgeable and friendly. The menu is extensive, and everything we had was terrific. The focaccia they bring to the table is soft and fluffy. We followed it with a fritto misto (calamari, zucchini, lemon) that was so flavorful, red dipping sauce was unnecesary. The arugula, mozzarella, pesto salad was perfect. We had three main courses, one better than the next, with scallops stealing the show.