Visitors to Ditmas Park often remark that it’s like being transported to some bucolic, leafy suburb well out of the city, with its rambling Victorians, generous front lawns, and tree-lined streets, traversed by families tranquilly pushing strollers or walking dogs. And then there’s its major commercial hub, Cortelyou Road (which might as well be dubbed Main Street USA), home to a small but artfully curated selection of shops, such as a greenmarket outpost, a library branch, a food co-op, a florist, and a picturesque gourmet goods store. But if you take stock of Ditmas Park’s growing assortment of restaurants, you’ll realize that you couldn’t be anywhere else but in Brooklyn, where you can embark on an edible, round-the-world excursion—from Italy to Israel to the foothills of the Himalayas—simply by walking a few blocks. That’s why Cortelyou Road is next on our list of drink-to-dessert neighborhood mini crawls, where we tackle one gastronomically blessed BK strip at a time by spreading the love (and your dollars) among some of the tastiest eateries within it!
Appetizers at Café Tibet: Queens has pretty much cornered the market when it comes to noteworthy Tibetan fare in NYC, but if you’re determined to fill up on chana-khatsa (spicy chickpeas), or beef momos (steamed dumplings) without leaving Brooklyn, this fabulously inexpensive, no-frills canteen—curiously perched astride the elevated Q train—is definitely the place to do it.
1510 Cortelyou Road
Dinner at The Farm on Adderley: If you can’t even afford to rent so much as a room in one of those brightly painted Victorians, you have this farm-to-table trailblazer to thank, which first began preaching the local-seasonal gospel in the (at the time) under-the-radar neighborhood, all the way back in 2006. But it’s worth forking over the subway fare for a taste of Tom Kearney’s spaghetti squash with pine nuts, grilled pork with sunchoke confit and pistachio, and pan seared skate wing, paired with gigante beans and salsa verde.
1108 Cortelyou Road
After-Dinner Coffee at Qathra Café: In warmer weather, you’ll want to make a beeline for the recently renovated backyard at this five-year-old, much-loved Egyptian café. Ringed with hand-painted murals and anchored by a bubbling fountain, it’s an idyllic place to sip double-shot cortados, fair trade cappuccinos, or healing pots of sencha superior tea.
1112 Cortelyou Road
Dessert at Purple Yam: A rising interest in Filipino cuisine portends a slew of new restaurants on the horizon, but Romy Dorotan and wife Amy Besa have been the veritable king and queen of adobo, ever since opening Cendrillon in SoHo in 1995. They continue to serve their lip-smacking signature dish at Purple Yam in Ditmas Park, along with a number of out of the ordinary desserts, including halo halo, buko pie (made with young coconut), champorrado (sweet rice mixed with chocolate and cream) and tropical jackfruit sorbet.
1314 Cortelyou Road
Late Night Drinks at The Castello Plan: Essentially, you can structure a Cortelyou Road crawl based entirely around the businesses that Avi Shuker co-owns—i.e., Mimi’s Hummus, Market, and the Italian trattoria, Lea. You can even cap off your night at Shukur’s handsome The Castello Plan, featuring classic cocktails, Belgian beers, and a 130 bottle-strong wine list. Although honestly, we’d be hard-pressed not to recommend visiting two of our other favorite local watering holes; the flower shop-turned-whiskey den, Sycamore, or the vintage guitar-selling, mint julep-slinging Bar Chord. Anyone want to go in with us on one of those multi-million dollar Victorians?
1213 Cortelyou Road