Park Slope


Café Moutarde
239 Fifth Avenue
(at Carroll Street)
Park Slope
(718) 623-3600

 

 

 

Café Moutarde almost doesn’t fit the surrounding scene — even though this stretch of Park Slope is full of excellent places to shop, dine, and drink yourself silly it still all looks like . . . well, Brooklyn. But Moutarde is a gleaming, bejeweled European bistro, with shiny copper fixtures and mirrors in all the right places. I walked past it dozens of times thinking I couldn’t afford it before I actually looked at the menu. It turns out that, not only can I afford it, but in a way I need it.

I don’t think we New Yorkers are particular enough about the quality of life in our city, the simple aesthetic value of our living spaces that’s so often overlooked. We live in drafty, windowless, leaky dives in order to keep our rents below $1,000 per month. We allow our refined cityscapes to be marred by garish modern high-rise condos, parking garages, and anything else the non-residents who build this place dream up. We flock to every new Dunkin’ Donuts or American Apparel or Starbucks rather than boycott them out of the neighborhood so regular, less fluorescent establishments can open in their place. In our constant search for the deal and the trend we forget the importance of beauty and a slow comfortable pace, how those things can stimulate our emotions and thoughts and make us feel less automated. We lose that certain . . . je ne sais quoi that they capture so well in Europe. I think of Moutarde as a little way to regain it, even if only for a few hours over breakfast.

(more…)

Geido-NagetRollGeido
331 Flatbush Ave.
(btw’n Park Pl. and Prospect Pl.)
Prospect Heights
(718) 638-8866

 

 

Although it’s annoying, it’s also a little endearing that everyone in this town knows where “the best sushi place” is. It’s especially amusing that said place is always, conveniently, right around the corner from where the speaker lives or works.

I’m pretty new to the sushi game so I notice these things. And part of my naiveté is not really noticing many discernible differences between the billions of Japanese restaurants dotting the landscape in these parts.

In retrospect, this is probably not the best way to shore up some street cred for a report on Geido. But it is good to have the full disclosure out of the way before I try to figure out what is so alluring about this place, what calls me back sometimes multiple times a week. I don’t exactly know what I’m doing (which helps, in this case — sushi aficionados often ruin my experience here), and it is just steps away from my front door. But that’s not why.

Geido has a perfect mix of a couple things that make you feel like dinner, well-earned and well-prepared, is ready. One of these things requires time to appreciate (the food — we’ll get to that later), and the other is much more obvious: the joint is jumping.

(more…)