Taste of Sheepshead Bay Showcases Southern Brooklyn Gems

The diversity of southern Brooklyn’s people and cuisines was on display October 27 at A Taste of Sheepshead Bay. The first of its kind for the neighborhood, the tasting event was a forceful reminder that this corner of the city deserves its place on foodie maps.

“People used to come from all over the world for the restaurants in this part of Brooklyn,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Tonight it’s clear that this can happen again.”

Ceviche from Coney Island Taste. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Ceviche from Coney Island Taste. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

The ceviche from Coney Island Taste was seasoned with just the right amount of citrus and salt. Causa, a Peruvian spin on pot pie, combined a potato crust with fish and mayo in a flavorful and filling dish. We topped it all off with papa huancaina (a spicy potato salad), which perfectly balanced spice and starch.

Bob salad from Anthony's Place. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Bob salad from Anthony's Place. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Anthony’s Place offered an Italian spin on clams and baked potatoes. The clams were a bit rubbery but well-seasoned. The baked potatoes, served with onions, were delicious and just crispy enough. The Bob salad, with its famous secret house dressing, also lived up to the hype.

Fried chicken and mac and cheese from Eat My Chicken. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Fried chicken and mac and cheese from Eat My Chicken. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

This fried chicken from Eat My Chicken had a tasty seasoned skin and a nice, moist interior, though the meat lacked flavor. Unfortunately, the mac and cheese didn’t have the creaminess that holds the best versions of this comfort-food staple together.

Mini burgers from Top Brgr. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Mini burgers from Top Brgr. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

The appetizer-size mini burgers from Top Brgr were a disappointment. The buns were far better than the dry, flavorless meat they held.

Roasted lamb with gravy and mashed potatoes from Il Fornetto. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Roasted lamb with gravy and mashed potatoes from Il Fornetto. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Il Fornetto, a popular destination for Italian fare in southern Brooklyn, served lamb with gravy and mashed potatoes. It’s not a dish usually associated with Italian cooking, but it was well-executed—flavorful and rich, with complementary textures.

One of the best dessert options came from Arbuz, a Russian-owned frozen-yogurt shop. Their not-too-sweet fro yo had a fresh taste and a firm, ice cream–like consistency.

Lamb samsa with cucumber salad from Nargis Cafe. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Lamb samsa with cucumber salad from Nargis Cafe. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Nargis Cafe’s samsa, a crispy pastry stuffed with chopped lamb and onion, was remarkably fresh and delicious, and it was complemented perfectly by a house-made vegetable sauce. The cucumber salad tossed in sour yogurt was tangy and tasty. Both dishes from this 4-year-old Uzbek restaurant were standouts.

With so much amazing food within arm’s reach, it was almost impossible to pick just a few favorites. But after making the rounds, it was clear that the offerings from New Cats Café outshone the others.

Mushroom and onion pastry  from New Cats Café. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Mushroom and onion pastry from New Cats Café. Photo by Ronald Gahol.

Their mushroom and onion pastry was light and airy, with a delectable balance of flavors. And the duck served on a slice of pear was a surprise home run—the two were natural companions. New Cats’ lemon pie was the perfect finishing touch. The rich pie tiptoed right up to our sweetness threshold but never crossed the line into cloying territory.

Southern Brooklyn, we’ll be back.

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