This Balinese spot comes from the owners of Van Leeuwen. The small casual space is lined with palm leaf wallpaper, natural wood & paper lantern lights. The menu here is vegetable-heavy and packed with unexpected and exciting flavors that are unlike anywhere you typically eat (unless you go to Bali often, which I don't). The menu starts with deviled eggs and prawn crackers with three sambals (papaya-chili-shallot-lime, tomato-chili-shallot, and shallot-kaffir-lemongrass-chili). Entrees range from the classic egg-topped fried rice (nasi goreng) and tasty, tender beef curry (rendang), to a market fish curry and tamarind-glazed tempeh. Weekend brunch is also super satisfying with additions like an ayam goreng fried chicken sandwich topped with pickled slaw & kaffir aioli.
Pretty Southern is a cozy Greenpoint spot form the mind of chef Sam Talbot. The space is small and bright, with a colorful outdoor area complete with a large quirky mural. The menu is all southern comfort food - meaning it's all terrible for you - but done so extremely well that it is genuinely worth every calorie. Talbot has put a modern spin on a laundry list of dishes fit to cure any hangover. There is a grilled pimento cheese & tomato sandwich, flaky biscuits, and some of the greatest skillet mac & cheese ever created. Chicken comes fried or rotisserie style in all sizes. Southern style desserts like banana cream pudding and a full bar round out a visit. For picky eaters out there, you can actually find a good amount of vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options as well.
Fornino has opened its third and largest location, this time in the developing Williamsburg waterfront area. The casual, rustic space features a grab-n-go area for sandwiches, a sprawling dining area, and a large open kitchen with wood fired pizza ovens. The large menu offers a vast range of food great for sharing like antipasto of roasted vegetables, cured meats and salads. Pizza is the star and it takes the form of Neapolitan style. In a city with a lot of pizza competition you better come correct, and I'm happy to say the pizzas were great with chewy, perfectly charred crusts. Two of the best are the classic margarita or the tartufo white pie with 3 cheeses and black winter truffle. Great place for groups or just a neighborhood staple you can visit frequently.