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The Cheap List

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Thirstbaràvin
629 Classon Ave., at Pacific St., Crown Heights; 718-857-9227
Even in downtown Manhattan, this wine-bar offshoot of a Fort Greene vintner would stand out for its eclectic list of small-production bottles from lower-profile European regions, many imported by Francophile Kermit Lynch. Among the auto-repair joints and tire shops off Atlantic Avenue, though, it’s some sort of oenophilic mirage, where bottles of Montbourgeau Côtes du Jura ’09 are listed on the chalkboard menu behind the bar. The stripped-down space is without pretension, and so are the owners, who repurposed beer beakers from the Brooklyn Kitchen as decanters and use Greenmarket produce for the small, often-changing French-bistro menu. It’s a collaboration with consulting chef Ginevra Iverson, formerly of Prune, and runs to rustic, seasonal fare like verdant nettle soup and sorrel-onion tart. (CECS:Caillettes—pork-and-beet-green sausage—with zucchini salad, $12, plus French lentils with lardons and hard-boiled egg, $9; total: $21.)

Smashburger
80 Dekalb Ave., nr. Hudson Ave., Downtown Brooklyn; 718-222-1101
Is New York doomed to be a burger-chain town? Maybe so. Because as much as we hate to admit it, the burger at this first local branch of the Denver-based upstart is not only good; it’s in the same big-time league as Shake Shack’s. It’s beefy and salty and fairly juicy, with just the right amount of patty busting out of its “artisan” egg bun. As the name suggests, the Smashburger kitchen uses the much-talked-about “smashing” technique—the one that employs brute force and a custom bludgeon of sorts to make for a nice crisp crust, and the mere mention of which causes burger nerds to jump up and down and clap their hands. Of the six topping varieties, we like the Classic best, but we’d happily gobble any of them except for the “Brooklyn” burger: a pastrami-topped patty with Swiss cheese on a pretzel bun. According to the press materials, it “was developed just for local palates.” But what kind of Brooklynite puts pastrami on a cheeseburger? (CECS: Classic Smashburger, $4.99, plus fried pickles, $2.49, plus chocolate shake, $4.49; total: $11.97.)


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