As a native city kid, restaurateur Darin Rubell has always fetishized green spaces (tell us about it). And although the true potential of the triangle-shaped, dust-floored former garage at the corner of Bushwick’s Flushing and Forrest Streets had been somewhat obscured by 5+ years of neglect, he was able to clearly envision it as a leafy neighborhood oasis; a welcome break in the unrelieved expanse of warehouses, factories, and OTB outposts.
So if his other local venture, 983 (aka, the Life Café, conveniently situated across the street), is meant to serve as Bushwick’s living room, he’s effectively transformed Forrest Point into its spacious, purposefully scruffy backyard, complete with picnic tables, swing sets, stools fashioned out of stumps, strings of twinkly lights, a grape arbor, a mulberry tree, and a share plate and cocktail menu exceedingly well suited to this particular sector of Flushing (there’s also a theatrically dim bar and indoor area, outfitted with glittering birdcage chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling murals, courtesy of “Art Battles” member Ben Angotti).
On the food front, chef Dave Rotter appetizingly exercises a fetish for cast iron pans, used to prep Zucchini Pancakes, served with citrus yogurt and a picked herb salad, a Shake Shack-style Cheeseburger, comprised of a Pat LaFrieda patty, a yielding potato bun and a smear of special sauce, and Forrest Point S’mores; containing molten layers of graham cracker crust, Valrhona chocolate ganache, and scorched baby marshmallows. Other options alternately follow Mediterranean or Asian through-lines, such as Tuna Tartare Tacos, folded around sushi-grade fish, diced daikon, and wasabi-tinged guacamole, and a Chicken Schwarma Flatbread, piled with harissa-marinated poultry, cucumber tzatziki, and kalamata olives.
Ward III’s Dustin Olson has curated the beverage program, which includes $6 pints, $9 glasses of wine, and a host of stiff, seasonal libations such as the Bushwick (Bols Genever, Cynar, Dolin Blanc, St. Germain, orange bitters), and the Pimmy Gibbler (equal parts Pimm’s, sherry, apple cider, and Full House references). Although you’d be loathe not to go for a $9 goblet or party-ready, $35 fishbowl of Milk Punch (currently trending big time at bars throughout the city), a centuries-old combo of liquor and clarified dairy, which Olson spends three days filtering and formulating before its ready to serve.
With Forrest Point’s elevated, illuminated sign winking like a mirage in the distance, it’s well worth trudging your way past abandoned lots, Boars Head trucks and exhaust-perfumed body shops, in order to finally stumble upon this charmed sanctuary on the grimy fringes of Bushwick.