The Good Fork
391 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
Regulars of chef Souhi Kim’s Red Hook spot will tell you to start with the homemade pork dumplings—they don’t disappoint. While there’s plenty to choose from as far as mains go, her other specialty is the steak and eggs, served Korean-style with kimchee rice cakes. (You can sub in tofu for the steak.) The same warmth that Kim puts into her cooking is palpable in the space—the dining room is vaguely maritime, with a curved wood ceiling and small booths that feel cozy. Go on a Wednesday for ramen night. Trust.
454 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
If BBQ lovers had their own paradise, this would probably be it. Hometown draws a steady line of people who don't mind that the Red Hook spot is out of the way, or that it might entail a bit of a wait. Or, rather, people who know that the food, which is ordered at the front counter and served on individual, butcher paper-lined metal trays, is worth it. While the brisket, pulled pork, and ribs get a lot of the attention, don't miss out on the sides (i.e. cornbread and mac 'n' cheese) or the banana cream pudding. Once you get your food, it's usually easy to find a spot at one of the long picnic tables in Hometown's expansive, warehouse-like space. There's also two bars inside, serving craft beers and whiskey (plus some wine and cocktails).
Gowanus Nursery (Closed)
9 Carroll St., Red Hook
Michele Palladino's nursery started in Gowanus (hence the name) but is now on the border of Red Hook and Carroll Gardens. She's known for having a great eye for plants, and you're likely to find something new for your garden space every time you visit.
177 Dwight St., Red Hook
Founded in 2006, Saipua specializes in handmade olive oil soaps and dreamy floral arrangements. Their flower farm, Worlds End, is located on 100-plus acres of rocky clay soil Upstate, about thirty miles west of Albany. Depending on the season, the farm grows narcissus, tulips, fritillaria, muscari, quince, hyacinth, ranunculus, and so on. Three cool things about Worlds End: It's also home to a flock of Icelandic sheep; it runs primarily on solar energy; and it uses all of Saipua's flower waste as compost.
388 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
While the selection here is small, it's exquisite enough to draw a Manhattan crowd to Red Hook, one of Brooklyn's more far-flung neighborhoods (also one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy). Owner Russell Whitmore has an unerring eye for the types of estate and auction pieces you won't see elsewhere (i.e., on eBay): You'll find diamond cluster rings from the late 19th century and Etruscan revival bracelets inset with tiny drops of pearl and turquoise.
159 Pioneer St., Red Hook
Artist Dustin Yellin opened this non-profit contemporary arts center, located in a large, brick and timber 19th-century warehouse in Red Hook, a few years back. It feels a bit like a young PS1, with one of the largest uninterrupted exhibition spaces in New York City, both indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, public programs, artists residencies, and a magazine, Intercourse. You can also rent the space for private events.
Fairway Market (Closed)
480-500 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
Beyond being one of the more perfect independent grocery stores around, Fairway is the perfect New York cross section: You'll see young families, old ladies in fur coats, students looking for good food at good prices, and just about every New York "type" you can think of. Beyond the cultural experience, the Red Hook branch in particular boasts the square footage, plus a frozen-foods department you can actually walk into (there are jackets you can borrow to go in), an amazing cheese selection, and a free parking lot.
480-500 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
Beyond being one of the more perfect independent grocery stores around, Fairway is the perfect New York cross section: You'll see young families, old ladies in fur coats, students looking for good food at good prices, and just about every New York "type" you can think of. Beyond the cultural experience, the Red Hook branch in particular boasts the square footage, plus a frozen section you can actually walk into (there are jackets you can borrow to go in), an amazing cheese selection, and a free parking lot.
Pok Pok NY (Closed)
117 Columbia St., Red Hook
People are crazy for this Thai via Portland import: Andy Ricker’s fresh takes on Thai classics are seriously good (and run on the hot side), from the signature charcoal roasted hen with lemongrass to the sweet, spicy salads. There’s also an awesome Thai-inspired cocktail menu (the Pok Pok Bloody Mary with Thai chilies is a serious kick in the ass) which you can explore on depth from the comfort of a seat at the bar.