Most couples advocate a strict separation of church and state approach—believing that keeping the fires burning at home requires a working days respite from one’s partner. Yet, not only are the following pairs engaged in loving, longstanding relationships, they’ve successfully managed to navigate forging professional alliances as well.
So pick up a few tips (and get a great meal while you’re at it) by visiting a twosome-run restaurant this Valentine’s Day.
Already beloved in the neighborhood for Brooklyn Commune, locals Chris Scott and wife Eugenie Woo doubled down on Windsor Terrace businesses this year with the soul food-serving juke joint, Butterfunk Kitchen. An assembly of multi-generational photos evoke both branches of their family tree, while the restaurant represents a conjoining of both: “mom” attends to her guest’s needs up front, while “dad” fries catfish out in back, as well as sears scrapple, beer-braises brisket, and boils up pepper pot shrimp.
1295 Prospect Ave., Windsor Terrace
With combined resumes that include Del Posto, Atera, wd-50 and the Empellon restaurants, Sohla and Hisham El-Waylly are a formidable duo indeed. And they’ve applied that experience (colored by occasional references to their Bengali, Egyptian and Bolivian heritages) to undoubtedly the most ambitious diner menu around, including hot sasso fried chicken rubbed with gochujang and Szechuan peppercorns, charred broccoli rabe drizzled with plum molasses, and spicy stewed chickpeas mounded around poached eggs and yogurt.
68 Greenpoint Ave., Greenpoint
10 years after the birth of their first baby (Park Slope’s enduring Bogota Latin Bistro), George Constantinou and Farid Ali Lancheros elected to expand their family with the vibrant Miti Miti. Spanish for “half and half,” visitors are persuaded to share good times, laughter, joy, memories and of course, food—from chips and papaya pico de gallo, to lamb empanadas to shrimp and chorizo mac and cheese.
138 5th Ave., Park Slope
There’s no division of front and back-of-house duties at Allswell, or its follow-up, Bar Bolinas—Nate Smith and Sophie Kamin both answer to “chef.” But they each lord over their own kingdoms—Smith oversees savory (grilled sardines, Thai sausage bao, pasilla chicken, whole roasted trout), while Kamin commandeers sweet, including custard infused with candy cap mushrooms, and pistachio cake soaked in cocoa noir.
455 Myrtle Ave., Clinton Hill
The Good Fork
After a fateful meeting in 2001 (Ben Schneider, a former actor, was in a show with Sohui Kim’s best friend), the pair cemented their destiny as one of Brooklyn’s premiere restaurant couples, when they opened The Good Fork in 2005. Completing an expected career trajectory of thespian-turned-server, Schneider also put his latent carpentry skills to work on the intimate, Red Hook space, to create a suitable showcase for the Seoul-born, American-trained Kim and her scallion and shitake pancakes, maltagliati with miso cream and oxtail, and famous Korean-style steak and eggs over kimchi rice.
391 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
This Prospect Heights newbie is actually the work of a husband-and-wife team of architects—David Stockwell and Carla Swickerath—whose joint vision is expressed through iron chandeliers, a plant-wreathed patio, and a sycamore bar crafted from a Hurricane Sandy-downed tree. As for food, the couple was smart enough to outsource it to Brian Leth, whose Italian-inflected menu includes red beets with stracciatella, pappardelle tossed with lamb heart, and rose panna cotta paired with biscotti.
606 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
Armando Litiatco and Ahmet Kiranbay met in San Francisco and moved to Miami before settling on Smith Street just this past year. The former has plumbed his Filipino heritage for the menu (look for sizzling pork sisig, overnight chicken adobo and pancit caton), while the latter holds court in the dining room and indulges his passion for photography, resulting in breathtaking images on both the restaurant’s walls and website.
271 Smith St., Carroll Gardens