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85 Very Good

Walking into Grindhaus, you’ll instantly feel like an honorary member of Red Hook.

275 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231


Known For

The lowdown

Walking into Grindhaus, you’ll instantly feel like an honorary member of Red Hook. With a lively mix of neighbors and visitors, the small, warmly lit space and friendly staff make it as comfortable as your living room. Erin “Sniff” Norris, the owner and longtime Red Hook resident who worked tirelessly through Hurricane Sandy damage to get the place up and running, takes pride in making everyone feel at home, effortlessly flitting around the dining room, taking orders and chatting. The phone booth–size kitchen is turning out the spectacular sort of vegetable compositions one might find in a better-equipped restaurant: fat slices of tomato cured with koji and seared, stacked on Meyer-lemon curd and fanned with purple shiso; or another dish that builds on its rice-cake foundation with the truffle-like corn fungus huitlacoche, a street-food-worthy mess of smoked corn, crema squiggles, and caramelized garlic chips. The nouveau American fare fits the local Van Brunt consciousness that has come to define this area, and the menu changes almost daily based on what’s fresh and locally available. Some staples, like the handmade loaves of darkly crusted bread, are made on-site and come alongside spritely salads, like the winter mix of garlic, anchovy, lemon, and sunchoke. Note that servings are small and sharing is encouraged, so don’t skimp on your order. There’s usually only one dessert on offer per night, but the kitchen regularly surprises customers with complimentary treats, like shots of thick carrot soup or whiffs of maple cotton candy.

What you need to know

Insider Tips Just two loaves of naturally leavened bread are made each day, and it’s worth getting there early while they’re warm.

Recommended DishesWonton salad; sprout fried rice; koji squash; sunchoke tempura; whole red snapper.

DrinksBeer and Wine

Noise LevelCivilized