Bay Ridge sure has come a long way from being pigeonholed as “Red Sauce Row”—not to mention “That Place Where They Filmed Saturday Night Fever.” And while it’s still a few craft beer bars away from being the next Park Slope or Williamsburg, the former Italian stronghold still boasts a wealth of increasingly diverse eateries along Third Avenue, from Polish pierogi huts to SoCo-styled taquerias and yes, even a sleek coffee “lab,” serving Toby’s Estate-roasted beans and brightly colored French macarons. That’s why it’s 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 restaurants within.
Appetizers at Tanoreen: Considered one of the first true destination-worthy spots in Bay Ridge, Tanoreen upgraded from a tiny 10 table hole-in-the-wall years ago (with half of the cramped real estate dedicated to a takeout counter), to a glittering, outsized Middle Eastern mecca, complete with chandeliers, banquettes, atrium seating and a full bar. And while the considerably more spacious digs have allowed owner Rawia Bishara to get more adventurous with the menu (check out the groaning platters of fish kibbe or lamb fetti; toasted pita chips layered with rice pilaf, yogurt and braised lamb), the main draw has always been her array of sumptuous hot or cold apps, including craveable fried cauliflower florets laked with tahini and pomegranate molasses, a supremely silky and smoky baba ghanouj, and the chewy flatbread known as musakhan, crowned with sumac-spiced chicken, caramelized onions and toasted almonds.
7523 3rd Avenue
Cocktails at Brooklyn Beet Company: We’re admittedly on the fence about the food at Brooklyn Beet Company (an outpost of the well-liked hamburger pocket purveyor, Korzo), but in a neighborhood that’s still somewhat lacking in the mixed drinks department, this Central European farm-to-table concept is a solid choice. There’s a small but intriguing selection of craft beers (fruity and floral Red Wagon IPA from Fire Island, bottom-fermented Bernard Pivo from the Czech Republic), as well as four especially potent cocktails, including the signature Beet ‘Tini (organic, beet-infused vodka, housemade ginger syrup), and the lip-tingling Bay Breakfast, a fiery combo of jalapeno-infused blanco tequila, beet sugar, pineapple puree and fresh sage.
7205 3rd Avenue
Dinner at Petit Oven: If a few area restaurants have the dubious distinction of being “good, for Bay Ridge,” this intimate, utterly charming eatery would invariably knock socks off anywhere. Every single item on the French-leaning menu is ably executed in the miniscule kitchen by one Kat Ploszaj (her partner, Nicole, holds court and cracks wise in front of house), from the slow-baked salmon with truffled pomme puree to the crispy duck confit with creamy cabbage to the deservedly popular salted caramel bread pudding. And you can’t go wrong with the $35 three-course prix fixe ($25 on Wednesdays!) or a recurring Thursday special of all-you-can-eat moules and frites.
276 Bay Ridge Avenue
Dessert at Anapoli Ice Cream Parlor: Forget about spaghetti and meatballs and veal parmagiana—although they have that too—this family-run greasy spoon and scoop shop has kept Bay Ridge in great, diner-style eats for the last 115-years. Ask Petit Oven to box up that wedge of salted caramel bread pudding to go, and satiate your sweet tooth with one of Anapoli’s throwback ice cream sodas, orange creamsicle shakes or assorted frappes, such as Butterscotch, Pineapple Temptation, Banana Royale, or Walnut Delight.
6920 3rd Avenue
Nitecap at the Three Jolly Pigeons: What Bay Ridge lacks in aforementioned craft beer bars, they make up in fantastically dingy, divey, dirt-cheap old man watering holes. And the 1900’s-era Three Jolly Pigeons, the very last Third Avenue storefront before the BQE, is one of the best, offering $2 beers, $4 pours of whiskey and occasionally, live music from former L-Mag staffer, Henry Stewart.
6802 3rd Avenue