El tiempo vuela! Has it been that long? It was five years ago tomorrow that Cafe Enduro opened its doors on Lincoln Road and soon became a popular neighborhood fixture. And it wasn’t long after that sister saloon Lincoln Park Tavern kept the drinks coming later into the night.
Karl Bernholtz, one of four remaining original employees and the current manager, told us that the owners and staff remain committed to the community.
“When we first opened we made a real effort to embrace the diversity of Prospect Lefferts Gardens,” he said. “And now we have a great blend of customers from all around the area.”
(original employees Laura Frenzer, Karl Bernholtz, Alfredo Rugerio)
Bernholtz told PLOG that in the beginning it was businesses like [now closed] K-Dog and Dunebuggy that helped the eatery onto its feet.
“It was like having a neighbor that you could ask for a cup of sugar or to lend a hand,” he said. And in that same tradition, some of the investors in Enduro have quietly backed the new next door location of Blue Roost Cafe. (Bernholtz declined to elaborate for this story).
Customers stopping by the Mexican joint will enjoy an extended happy hour tomorrow until 8 pm and raffles for free bottles of tequila. Feliz Cumpleaños, Cafe Enduro!
When a food truck rolled onto Lincoln last night between Ocean and Flatbush, it may as well have been a UFO landing in the hood. Fancy mobile eateries abound in enclaves like Park Slope and Williamsburg, but the arrival of “Fishing Shrimp” here created an immediate buzz.
Cajoled to visit Prospect Lefferts Gardens by local icon Richard “Buzz” Gross, owner Odeis Stephenson (above right) is testing the waters here on a trial basis. Stephenson’s short stay yesterday hooked enough customers that he quickly sold out of the fresh whiting that he sells, along with other fried and breaded offerings like shrimp, chips and conch. PLOG tried some whiting and shrimp and was impressed with the bright flavors and low grease factor.
“I love word of mouth,” said the new food truck owner. “Take a sample, walk down the street and tell someone about us.”
Future stops by “Fishing Shrimp” can be tracked daily on the van’s Twitter feed. Stephenson will return again tonight and promises more drive-bys if he gets community support.
Culpepper’s restaurant was closed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Friday. The Carribbean eatery has been a longtime mainstay on Nostrand Avenue and had survived and returned after a fire in December, 2007.
Last summer the city began to grade food service establishments with letter grades from A to C. Most inspections receive a score between 14 to 27 points or a B letter grade, according to the Health Department. Culpepper’s received 81 points and was cited for “hot food not held at or above 140º F, cold food item held above 41º F, evidence of mice, live roaches, and filth flies.”
A Health Department notice appears to have been removed from the front of the gated establishment and replaced with a sign that states “Temporarly [sic] Closed for Re-organisation and Renovation.” The popular Barbados joint draws customers from far beyond the borough and has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp. It is unknown when the restaurant might reopen.
Since De Hot Pot opened almost two years ago, friends have been urging us to sample their Caribbean fare. For this month’s feature of
The Local Dish we once again asked folks at a local restaurant to highlight a menu favorite. Friendly server Andy (pictured above) praised the popular chicken roti and suggested trying the roti with goat as well.
PLOG is still boning up on West Indies cuisine, so we invited a guest who frequently stops in on the Washington Avenue establishment to also weigh in with his top picks. For an inexpensive and filling choice, our friend Daniel often grabs two “doubles” for $2.50 (doubles is a curried chickpea sandwich as popular in Trinidad as hot dogs are in America). Additionally he enjoys the aloo pie, codfish cake and the roti, but recommends paying the extra dollar for boneless chicken.
We had been remiss in not trying the Pot before, but have a feeling we’ll be making up for lost time in the weeks and months to come.
Reader Babs wrote PLOG suggesting that each month we ask a neighborhood restaurant owner to share a personal favorite dish from his or her own menu. For the first installment of what we will call The Local Dish we visited Gandhi Fine Indian Cuisine. Owner Begum Marium couldn’t quite pick just one favorite entree but that’s hardly a surprise. It’s been almost a year since the Bedford Avenue establishment opened and PLOG has continued to hear strong reviews.
Pictured counter clockwise with Begum is the Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Biryani and Chicken Masala (with a side of Basmati rice). Besides the tasty food, we were touched by the friendliness of the staff and Begum’s welcoming demeanor. There appears to be a lot of laughter and warmth at Gandhi. Maybe that’s the real secret ingredient to great cooking.
Not everyone likes the name Prospect Lefferts Gardens, but the more important question is: how does it taste? With the help of some friends, PLOG created “The PLG” – a sandwich that fuses a Dutch foundation with a Caribbean base. For the early history of our neighborhood, we added some of the traditional ingredients of a broodje – a traditional sandwich and meal in the Netherlands. On whole grain bread we sliced boiled egg, a hard cheese (in this case we used Gruyère) and some cucumber. For the Caribbean influence, we tossed on a grilled chicken breast, cilantro, curry powder and some yogurt.
We make no claims to being experts at fusion cuisine, but the combination of Dutch and Caribbean fare is not entirely unheard of. The Netherlands once had colonies throughout the islands and adopted many native culinary traditions into their diet. The final verdict on the sandwich? Prospect Lefferts Gardens tastes very good indeed. Food for thought, perhaps?
Thanks Alyssa and Paul!
Since the summer the Department of Health has rated all NYC restaurants using letters from “A” to “C.” It’s easy to look up Health Department inspection scores for local eateries but PLOG but wanted to see the bigger picture. Using data from the city website and a little programming, we created a complete map of neighborhood restaurant grades. Please note that most establishments receive a “B” grade according to the Health Department and some results may be pending reinspection to make corrections.
Check out the map to see how your favorite joints fared. Green is “A,” Yellow is “B” and Red is “C.”
Local insider Richard “Buzz” Gross tells PLOG that Parkside Donut is fast becoming “trendy” and “a refuge for hipsters” in the neighborhood. We went to investigate with our camera in hand, where employees looked at us with a mixture of what seemed like curiosity and bemusement. Perhaps we missed the morning rush, but most of the clientele reflected a fair mix of the local population. Most surprising were the prices and portions, which seemed both inexpensive and generous. PLOG ordered a side of french fries and found himself facing an almost insurmountable platter of taters. And the cost? A very recession friendly $1.50. Chiefly in the eatery’s favor are the “mostly 24″ operating hours, free delivery until 2 a.m. and the all day breakfast menu. I’m not sure I’ll be ordering the shrimp salad, but if I need a cheeseburger at 3 a.m. you might see there me at the counter.
All the discussion of grits on our local Yahoo Group inspired PLOG to visit the Blue Roost Petité Cafe and give them a taste. Not just because the purveyor of said grits has received raves about their food, but because our only knowledge of the southern breakfast staple comes from multiple viewings of the comedy classic My Cousin Vinny. Recall that one of the key turning points in the film occurs when Brooklyn lawyer Vinny discredits a key witness regarding his claim that he cooked his grits in only five minutes (no self-respecting Southerner would use instant grits, we are told).
Not having any reference point beyond the film, PLOG enjoyed the grits at Blue Roost immensely, finding them light, fluffy and delicately seasoned. And definitely not instant.
The pizza and chicken place which replaced the previous chicken and pizza place at the same location seems to have gone out of business in the last two weeks. PLOG heard that they sold $5 pizza pies for awhile and that they tasted “kind of like you’d expect for five dollars but okay.”