Apr 8, 2015
Party of One: The 8 Best Restaurants for Dining Solo in Brooklyn
What makes a restaurant a good place to dine alone? Well, ideally it should have a bar to sit at, one where you can still order a full meal. It helps if the lighting is decent, so you can read a book or a magazine—though never your phone, if you can avoid it. And because going solo is a great way to get a spot at otherwise hard-to-get-into restaurants, dining alone is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a meal at a place that ordinarily has an hour-plus wait. (Ahem, Chuko.)
A welcome addition to the previously limited and now booming Windsor Terrace dining scene, Krupa Grocery is an ideal place to enjoy any meal alone, but especially breakfast. There are so few options to have a sit-down breakfast (and, no, I don’t just mean a muffin) in the middle of the week that aren’t diners, but Krupa more than makes up for the fact that the borough’s mid-week morning meal options are so sorely lacking. Sidle up to the bar and order a plate of breakfast gnocchi and a Japanese iced coffee, which is served on tap. Bring a crossword puzzle. Strongly consider only eating alone—and only eating breakfast—for every meal for the rest of your life.
231 Prospect Park West, Windsor Terrace
Part of what you want while dining alone is reliability; you’re not going to be ordering a ton of different dishes, so you want to know that what you’re getting is going to be perfect. And perhaps there is no place more reliably perfect in Brooklyn than Frankie’s. Try the platonic ideal of a Caesar salad and what might be our favorite pasta dish in history: Frankie’s house-made cavatelli with Faicco’s hot sausage and sage-brown butter sauce. This is the kind of food you don’t want to share, and guess what? You don’t have to, because you are alone.
457 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
Pok Pok NY
So, we don’t know about you, but we feel most alone when we are in the middle of chaos. And is there any scene more chaotic than Pok Pok’s at dinnertime? (Yes, probably, but that’s not the point right now.) Regardless of the surrounding hubbub, Pok Pok’s generously sized bar means that even when tables aren’t available, there’s usually a solo seat at the bar, where you can inhale some ultra-spicy Thai curry soup, and scoop up some papaya salad guaranteed to make your nose run. No big deal, though! Nobody is with you to notice. Let it flow.
117 Columbia Street, Columbia Street Waterfront District
This beautiful Greenpoint spot (no, seriously, it’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in Brooklyn) has a lot of benefits when it comes to dining alone: It’s well-lighted for your reading needs, the food is delicious (try the pimento cheese fries and Littleneck clams) and comes in small enough portions that you can eat a couple of things without feeling like you’re overeating, the cocktails are inventive and delicious, and it has great bartenders, notably former hard-core guitarist Mike Stankovich, who is the consummate conversationalist and drink maker that was just profiled in the New York Times .
195 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Is there another Brooklyn spot that more consistently has as long a wait as Chuko? We can’t think of one. But that’s OK, because part of the benefit of eating alone is that you might be able to cut your wait-time down to nothing, and grab a solo stool by the window, where you can sanctimoniously slurp up your miso ramen while checking out the crowds of people waiting on the sidewalk in front of you. Sometimes one isn’t the loneliest number—sometimes that number is six, as in parties of.
552 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
We love this out-of-the-way Greenpoint spot for its vegetable-heavy take on Mediterranean cuisine, not least because it’s possible to have a vegetarian feast comprising a few small plates (try the cauliflower, fava-and-chickpea stew, and the flatbread) without breaking the bank. Plus, this is the kind of stuff that’s made to take home as leftovers, guaranteeing a week of good office-lunches-from-home.
95 Commercial Street, Greenpoint
We love eating at the bar at The Pines even when we’re with someone else, but it’s particularly lovely when we’re alone, because—depending on your seat—you get a prime view of the magic happening in the kitchen. A companion of ours once noted that he’s never seen a more smoothly run kitchen than that of John Poiarkoff, and we have to agree; Poiarkoff and his sous-chefs move about with balletic precision and grace, all in the service of turning out some of the finest and most inventive cuisine in Brooklyn. Plus, the bartenders at The Pines are uniformly friendly and smart, and lovely to talk to while you sip on a cocktail (try the Chilean Monk, like an updated Pisco Sour) and eat some of the excellent food (we love the squid and shishito pepper dish, as well as anything involving lamb and pasta).
284 3rd Avenue, Gowanus
There are the places you go alone because you want to try them once for the experience, without definite plans of going back again. Fort Defiance is not that type of place. Rather, this is the kind of spot where you want to be a regular; the kind of spot you never feel lonely in, even when you’re flying solo. The staff are all friendly and talkative, but will leave you to your own thoughts if that’s what you want. And the food is the kind of perfectly calibrated yet simple fare which—when done right—is what you could go on eating forever. And here, it’s done right: So go by yourself to Red Hook one day, get the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, and revel in the simple joy of eating—and being—alone.
365 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen
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