I've been remiss in writing the past week or so. Sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging. Anyway, here are few fun spots I've checked out recently.Osaka
Osaka is a neighborhood sushi/Japanese restaurant in Cobble Hill (or is it Carroll Gardens? The line blurs.) The place does a good business despite the rude hostess (check out the complaints over on the Chowhound message boards.) There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pushy hostess's methods. She sat me and my companion after people who got there after us. In other words, we got there first. Not a huge deal, but it can be in a tiny place that is popular. It's also not the best way to start off a meal. Luckily, the food is worth it.
We found the way to go was the sushi for two. The slices of raw fish are long, thin, tender and delicious placed on top of mounds of rice. The grilled dumplings were quite possibly the best I've had. They are thin and crispy, not fried and gooey. The miso soup had raw shaved mushrooms which was a nice touch. We decided to "splurge" and get the hot sake for two which was only $5.00.
I'll admit. I'm not a sushi expert. I do my little soy, wasabi mix with the ginger inbetween bites of sushi, but from that perspective this neighborhood sushi is some of the best I've come across in the borough.Osaka is located at 272 Court Street 718-643-0044.Bagel Hole
For that old-fashioned bagel taste, this place can't be beat. Don't go expecting huge bagels that look like inflated tires with a pretzel-like consistency. Expect a bagel that is still hand rolled and steamed, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a more complex taste than the usual suspects. They seem to make them continuously. Chances are you'll get them while they're still warm, so eat it right away!Bagel Hole is located at 400 7th Avenue (between 12th and 13th Streets).The New Casablanca Cocktail LoungeThe night before Thanksgiving, is for me a big night out. So my neighbors and I decided to hit a spot we've walked past a few times, but never went inside. To our surprise the New Casablanca Cocktail Lounge was empty.
There's no secret code to get in, but the bartender will have to give a signal to the sleeping doorman to buzz open the gate. Inside you'll discover a true old-school joint. The jukebox boasts a small selection of Mo-town and funk. The few tables are adorned in red plastic tablecloths. Christmas lights bedeck the windows eternally and a Happy Birthday banner behind the bar has been greeting guests since time immemorial. They just never took it down according to the bartender.
The New Casablanca Cocktail Lounge is one of those Bed-Stuy institutions, like the Down South Cafe
, that retains its character. I couldn't help but think that this place would be corrupted by hipster irony if it were located in the Lower East Side or Williamsburg. Another reason to go was the price for 9 cocktails: under 50 bucks.The New Casablanca Cocktail Lounge is located on Malcolm X Boulevard and Macdonough Street.