354 Metropolitan Ave., nr. Havemeyer St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-963-3404
Not since the original Long Island City Pearson’s, perhaps, has a location been as ideally suited for barbecue as Williamsburg’s new Fette Sau (“fat pig” in German). Kim and Joe Carroll, owners of the inimitable beer bar Spuyten Duyvil, had been scouting locations for their second venture when they learned that Tony & Sons, the auto-body repair shop across the street, was renting out part of its fenced-in lot and cinderblock building. The couple preserved the shop’s industrial vibe, outfitting the driveway with picnic tables and the wood-beamed, cement-floored interior with phonograph-horn light fixtures and stools fashioned from John Deere tractor seats. The centerpiece, though, is the Southern Pride gas-and-wood-fired smoker capable of slow-cooking 700 pounds of meat at a time. An avid backyard barbecuer, Joe eschews regional styles, finding inspiration in local ingredients like Italian fennel sausage from a nearby butcher, and his own proprietary panela-and-espresso-based spice rub. Head chef Matt Lang, late of Pearl Oyster Bar, swaps surf for turf with a rotating menu of pork and beef ribs and shoulders, pigs’ tails, flank steak, leg of lamb, pork belly, and pastrami, all sold by weight and served on butcher paper, sauce on the side. The drink list is appropriately heavy on North American bourbon and whiskey, with a smattering of tequilas, mescals, rums, and vodkas, and of the ten tap beers, four are custom-brewed by New Jersey’s Heavyweight and Brooklyn’s own Greenpoint.
Whole Foods Market
95 E. Houston St., at Bowery; 212-420-1320
It hasn’t all been organic peaches and cream for the food-and-lifestyle juggernaut, which has been forced to defend itself from ethical omnivore Michael Pollan, lobster-loving animal-rights activists, and an anti-nightlife community board that stood in the way of a new Whole Foods wine shop. But the proliferating chain forges bravely ahead, opening its fourth (and largest) Manhattan location this Thursday, March 29, in the new Avalon Chrystie Place apartment complex. Additions to the wide-aisled, speedy-checkout formula include a cheese cave, with selections from legendary affineur Hervé Mons; house-smoked meats; pies sold in refundable tins; a Belgian-style French-fry station; and a Culinary Center for classes and book signings. Upstairs, two on-site restaurants include the casual Italian Rustica Minardi, and Sushiya, where sushi circulates on a conveyor belt and plate colors indicate prices.
Boi to Go
800 Second Ave., nr. 43rd St.; 212-681-1122
There are certain essential things no neighborhood should be without: a good corner deli, a Starbucks alternative, and a place to go for the delicious Vietnamese sandwiches called bánh mì. Such was the sad situation in Turtle Bay until the opening last week of Boi to Go, a new snack and sandwich shop from the owners of the Vietnamese restaurant Boi. Chef-partner Tamie Trans-Le breaks new bánh mì ground by substituting avocado (something most Vietnamese regard as dessert, not a savory condiment) for the typical aïoli, and she accessorizes her idiosyncratic chicken version with arugula, basil, and port-enhanced pâté, in addition to the traditional daikon and carrot. The streamlined storefront, fleet of toaster ovens at the ready, also offers a Chipotle-esque do-it-yourself option: a choice of baguette, flour tortilla, rice bowl, or salad greens, matched with one of several proteins and sauces.