Quick Bites is a column that wraps up the most recent restaurant and foodie news you can use from around Brooklyn. Here’s what you need to know as the new year gets under way in earnest. Dig in to 2024.
‘This is a love letter to Detroit’
Slices run from $5 to $7 each (Scott Lynch)
Nate Skid, a St. Louis native, spent seven years covering the food scene in Detroit right out of college, and fell so hard for the pizza there that he taught himself how to make it at home. Skid lives in Park Slope these days, but his love for the slices and pies of Motown, characterized by surprisingly airy dough, crust-to-crust toppings, steel-pan baking technique and, especially, that glorious charred-cheese crust, hasn’t dimmed a bit.
So much so that, as he tells Brooklyn Magazine, “on Father’s Day this year I was with another dad at Brewer’s Row, and he was like ‘dude why don’t you just see if you could do a pop up?’ and I was just drunk enough to ask the owner and he said yes and they had us in the next Sunday. I sold 13 pizzas. I was so excited.”
The next day, Skid partnered with Ivan Gonzalez, formerly of Table 87 in Industry City, and dove head first into the pizza game, launching Nate’s Detroit Pizza with pop-ups at places like Other Half, Wild East and now, five nights a week, at the Cobblestone Catering kitchen on Atlantic Avenue.
I visited the Cobblestone spot a week or so ago and, yeah, this pizza is really good. The dough is made from Skid’s now six-year-old starter, and it’s nice and springy and light — I wolfed three slices easily, and probably could have taken down a couple more — until it gets to the edge, when that killer cheesy chew kicks in. Textbook Detroit-style stuff.
But what makes Nate’s extra special is how Rodriguez handles the construction and toppings, building a perfect balance among the chunky tomato sauce, hand-cut cubes of mozzarella, and, in this case, some good, funky pepperoni and sausage. Skid calls these slices “New York pizza in a Detroit body,” and that feels about right.
Just don’t expect any sort of fancy setup on Atlantic Avenue. Cobblestone is a utilitarian commercial kitchen with a single plastic picnic table shoved near the door for dining in. Most visitors the night I went were getting takeout. Of course, when Nate’s is on offer at places like Wild East, your seating options are greatly improved.
Nate’s Detroit Pizza is currently at 220 Atlantic Avenue, between Court Street and Boerum Place, from Wednesday through Sunday nights, as well as regular popups at Wild East Brewing in Gowanus. His Instagram account will keep you posted.
‘Reenie’ launches a residency at Farm to People
From left: Reenie’s crispy Brussels with grapes and tahini dressing, $14; Reenie’s pistachio kofka, $26; and ‘citrus and savories’ salad, $16 (Scott Lynch)
Farm to People on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick is wild, a sprawling industrial warehouse of a space that, for most of the day, functions as a busy online-grocery/food-delivery service that specializes in fresh produce, meats, breads and dairy products sourced directly from local farmers and bakers.
Four nights a week though, the big front room — literally the loading dock — is transformed into a high-energy restaurant and bar. This year, though, Farm to People is launching a month-long chef’s residency program in the space, the first of which belongs to Mehreen Karim, also known as Reenie.
Karim is a recipe developer (for Bon Appétit, among others) who competed on “Next Level Chef,” and her signature cooking style is combining her Bangladeshi heritage with her American South — specifically Marietta, Georgia — upbringing. Southern comfort food with South Asian flair, if you will, though Karim freely plumbs the globe for flavors and techniques.
“I’ve been to a lot of places and eaten with a lot of families and learned new things everywhere,” she tells Brooklyn Magazine. “So my food is always going to represent all of my experiences, rather than just the two geographies I identify with.”
Her Farm to People menu, for example, includes a buttermilk-brined roasted chicken slathered in a shiso chimichurri, which is delicious, as is the pistachio kofta, a trio of fat meatballs drenched in both feta and pumpkin ancho chili sauces. And the pot pie, “a dish I loved growing up in the South,” she says, is inspired by her mom’s recipe for korma, a type of curried chicken, but is here prepared with mushrooms.
Farm to People is located at 1110 Flushing Avenue, near the corner of Irving Avenue, and the Reenie’s residency runs through January every Thursday through Sunday evening from 5 to 10 p.m.
Kiosko 787 in Gowanus now offers indoor dining
A sneak peek of the new Kiosko 787 dining room, opening later this week (Scott Lynch)
It was high summer the first time I ate at Al Rosario’s terrific Kiosko 787, a hole-in-the-wall takeout spot specializing in Puerto Rican classics, and the card tables he had set up out front made for a perfectly pleasant perch for a feast. That sidewalk setup is perhaps less appealing now that it’s January, but don’t worry, Rosario’s got you, and this week he opens a brand new indoor dining room that he built right next door.
The new space, which replaces the Integrated Bodywork Center, has seating for about 18 people, with a couple of flat screen TVs and some cute touches like that fake balcony. Not that Rosario’s getting all fancy on us. Kiosko 787 remains a counter service restaurant, and the menu is the same, with bangers like the mamposteao rice platter with pork belly and plantains, and the mighty “Tripleta Boricua” sandwich stuffed with steak, roast pork, ham and crunchy potato stix.
Kiosko 787 is located at 488 Carroll Street, between Fourth and Third Avenues, and is open from Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Cozy Royale’s star-studded Soup ‘n’ Burger festival returns
Last year’s Taqueria Ramirez entry to the Soup ‘n’ Burger festival (Scott Lynch)
Starting on January 22, for eight Mondays in a row, the great Williamsburg meathouse Cozy Royale — the restaurant offshoot of the Meat Hook butcher shop — will invites a different chef from one of the best restaurants in going to invent a new burger-and-bowl-of-soup combo to warm our weary winter souls.
I made it to two of these last year, one hosted by Taqueria Ramirez (pictured above), the other by Nura. Both were awesome. And this year’s lineup is no less stacked, with the likes of Eric Sze from Wenwen, Eric See from Ursula, Dave Rizo from Yellow Rose and Massimo Laveglia from L’industrie serving up menus that are guaranteed to make us all very full, and very happy. It promises to be an excellent way to spend a Monday night.
Cozy Royale is located at 434 Humboldt Street, at the corner of Jackson Street, and the Soup ‘n’ Burger Party runs every Monday from January 22 through March 11.