144 Union St., at Hicks St., Carroll Gardens; 718-855-2633
This wine bar owes its name to veteran chef Neil Ganic’s somewhat eccentric interpretation of that old motto “The customer is always right.” Two years ago, you see, a fussy eater at Ganic’s Petite Crevette restaurant sent back an undercooked lobster not once but twice, ultimately calling into question its pedigree and freshness, and Ganic didn’t like it. To defend his shellfish’s honor, Ganic bounded out of the kitchen and flung one of the offending crustacean’s wriggling cousins at the hapless diner. “How’s that for fresh?” he said. The story became a food-blog sensation and increased traffic at Crevette to such an extent that Ganic deemed it a sound business strategy not to continue hurling lobsters at customers but to expand next door. The resulting cozy nook has 32 seats and a short list of wines by the glass and bottle. There’s a small-plates menu, too, including cheese, charcuterie, crab cakes, and yes, mini–lobster rolls.
104 Second Ave., nr. 6th St.; 212-228-3090
If a few of the faces at this Chinese restaurant look familiar, it’s because the owners are veterans of the Grand Sichuan empire. Earlier this year, Jenny Fu and her husband Tao An opened Old Town Hot Pot in the West Village, and now they’ve branched out across town to this intentionally spare space where the brick walls will soon be hung with the work of local artists. The kitchen is overseen by Sichuan chef Yu Lei, whose signature dishes include steamed fish head, braised pork belly with mustard greens, and Village Spicy Chicken with fresh red and green peppers (pictured).
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