211 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn
99 South Portland Avenue, Brooklyn
171 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
Two years ago there was nothing, at least not until French photographer and waiter Charles Sorel opened Chez Oskar on Dekalb Avenue. With a jazzed, light-filled interior, delicious, strictly French cooking, and music that shifts without warning from mambo to show tunes to hip-hop, Chez Oskar became the only place to eat in Fort Greene. Manhattan transplants mingled with locals like Rosie Perez, for whom Sorel threw a surprise brunch the morning after her wedding. Now she and her friends congregate at Sorel’s new place, Café Lafayette, just a few blocks away, whose bare-bones décor and diverse Francophone dishes like chicken gumbo and Senegalese mafe suit the neighborhood’s postcolonial palate. Prices (entrées, $7 to $13.50) are also friendlier than Oskar’s ($10 to $19).
And this year, Sorel isn’t alone. Local resident Jean-Baptiste Caillet and his wife, Kate, have opened their country kitchen, À Table, on Lafayette, offering Fort Greene a fresh, southern variety of French with comparable prices (entrées, $10 to $16). “The food is clean and light,” says Perez, “and they offer a completely different type of menu. And if you’re really, really nice to them, they may offer you something that’s not on it.” Especially if you’re Rosie Perez.
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