Buka celebrates the rich culinary landscape of West Africa with a mouthwatering lineup of traditional meals served amid cozy brick walls, flickering candlelight, and soothing strains of live music. The menu's authentic eats roar with spices and include tomato-based stews of fish, chicken or goat. Fufu⎯a staple starch of pounded cassava or yam flour—accompanies many dishes, served in a single ball that is plucked apart, reformed into a disk-like shape, and wielded with the right hand to cosset morsels of stew or pinch a grandchild’s cheeks. The diverse bill of fare includes a range of yam, egg, or bean-based vegetarian plates, as well as options for more adventurous eaters, including cooked goat head. Aside from the authentic West African fare, Buka immerses visitors in faraway cultures with a growing collection of African books and magazines and regular showings of Nigerian movies.
Tea-light flames flickering through red glass holders gently illuminate the exposed-brick walls, ochre curtains, and plates full of contemporary American cuisine fashioned with a Mediterranean twist at Red Oak Restaurant. Servers flit about the dimly lit setting or covered patio, which sits under a red canopy surrounded by greenery and wood latticework. At tables they stop to present tapas-style hot and cold plates, which balance grilled shrimp, crisp calamari, or classic Mediterranean hummus and falafel. Chefs in the kitchen prepare substantial entrees, including kebabs threaded with lamb or kofta, as well as lamb chops fresh from the grill. Also in the kitchen, fragrant stews known as tajines simmer oxtail or beef with herbs and spices. As a post-meal treat, brass-trimmed hookahs send thanks to the chef via aromatic smoke signals.
Opposites attract at Gallery Social Bar and Lounge, both on the menu of comfort snacks and upscale entrees, and at the bar, where a spectrum of loungers and club dancers sample colorful splashes of fruit juice, exotic liqueur, and top-shelf vodka from Stoli and Absolut. In the kitchen, cooks decorate flatbreads with sweet, juicy pears and savory blue cheese and build sliders from tangy morsels of pulled pork, ground beef, and caramelized onions. Hookahs deliver puffs of flavor to curious palates, and a patio gives guests a breath of fresh air after shaking it to DJ tunes or spelling out their phone number in hookah smoke rings. On any given night, guests can enjoy hot meals until 2 a.m. and the flicker of the flat-screen TV until 4 a.m.
There are only a few beers on tap at Spuyten Duyvil, but that's a good thing. Keeping drafts to a minimum means none of the rare, primarily Belgian beers looses freshness and that bartenders can rotate the selection regularly. The staggering bottled selection is broken down by region––Flemish, Lamic, Wallonian, etc––but the staff is happy to hand-pick one for you.
When Ben Franklin watched the roots of grape vines drink the rain as it fell, he likened the plants’ ability to turn water into wine to a miracle. It’s a concept that may have inspired the founders of Divine Bar & Grill when choosing a name for their recently opened bar and grille. Behind an invitingly lit bar, bartenders pour and mix an array of miraculous liquids, from cool beers to umbrella-topped appletinis. They pair their beverages with hearty American fare – such as burgers and sweet potato fries – and the occasional game of pool, played American-style with a mozzarella sticks a cues. Divine also host regular weekly specials and themed nights, such as 50-cent wings, karaoke night, and a Latin dance night.
With the rapid rise of craft beers, it can be overwhelming for a beer-centered eatery to know what to put on tap. Luckily, The Brew Inn has a solution: to feature New York beers exclusively. Here, pints from Brooklyn Brewery and other regional businesses complement gourmet pub food, including pierogies, burgers, and shrimp po' boys. This approach goes hand-in-hand with the restaurant's commitment to the community of Greenpoint, as the staff gathers local ingredients and hires neighborhood residents. The result: a laid-back, homey haven dedicated to local purveyors and citizens that has received accolades from Zagat, Time Out New York, and the Village Voice.