As much as my mom insists otherwise, I’m generally not hypercritical of restaurants. If anything, I’m rather personally invested in them doing well, especially if they happen to be in my neighborhood. Because when you live all the way out in Southern Brooklyn, it actually is big news when something exciting and different opens here, and I absolutely welcome the opportunity to keep closer to home, instead of constantly commuting to the far reaches of the borough in search of a decent dinner.
So I was as pumped as anyone about the recent opening of Brooklyn Beet Company in Bay Ridge, a farm-to-table offshoot of the popular, Central European-tinged South Slope spot, Korzo. Because really, what’s not to like about Korzo? Their trademarked (literally), deep-fried, dough-encased burgers have consistently been deemed one of the best the city. And yes, you’ll find them proudly proffered at Brooklyn Beet Company as well, although despite being nestled under a topcoat of Edam cheese, bacon, mustard and pickles, the version here is oddly under-seasoned and bland. The only immediate solve is to generously douse the whole thing in the housemade beet ketchup — although sadly, it doesn’t work quite as well for the similarly one-note wild mushroom and herb dumplings, Hudson Valley duck with spatzle, or stone-ground flour pierogi.
Much has already been made of BBC’s choice of pew-style benches and communal tables…a fun way to dine with a group, but not so much if you’re a one, two or threesome with a handsy couple on one side and a cranky toddler-toting family on the other. So while the weather is warm, the choicest seats are definitely the ring of stools along the bar, their backs abutting the open, floor-to-ceiling windows. We probably should have taken our cue from the duo who came in just for drinks, and easily commandeered our waiter/bartender’s attention for the better part of the night. Listen—we’re more than willing to forgive a few bumps in service at a newly opened restaurant, but it’s odd to feel ignored when you’re practically the only patrons present (although at least the pew-style seating wasn’t a problem). Despite a round of showy throat clearing and several pointed glances, we eventually had to walk the length of the empty restaurant to ask for our check.
I swear I’m not unreasonable. And I absolutely plan to visit, revisit, and keep on visiting the Brooklyn Beet Company in anticipation of certain kinks being worked out, because I really, really, really want to love this restaurant (it is in my neighborhood after all). But just because the local/seasonal scene in Bay Ridge is a whole lot less developed than it is in other areas, doesn’t give our restaurants carte blanche to stay in first gear. And if we’re ever going to obtain the same level of culinary respect as other BK neighborhoods, just being kind of good just isn’t good enough.
7205 3rd Ave., (347) 492-0020