Friday, April 2, 2010
Finding myself with a spare hour between appointments the other night, I stopped into Brooklyn Public House for a quick drink and a bite to eat. I'd never eaten there before, only having stopped in a couple of times for a few drinks.
I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Brooklyn Public House. Well, hate's probably way too strong a word - let's call it a love/"kind of disgruntled and annoyed, but realizing I was being a bit petty" relationship. I was ecstatic when I heard a new bar would be filling the space, and my excitement level only increased when I discovered what kind of vibe they were going for - neighborhood pub with decent food and an awesome beer selection.
My first visit didn't go all that well, though, as I felt the staff was kind of surly with me and frankly I didn't ever want to bother coming back. There are so many great places to hang out around here, why patronize a pub that made me feel unwelcome? The other factor was that Brooklyn Public House has a feeling of, well, trying too hard I guess is the best way to put it. It's trying desperately to feel like an upscale version of Cheers, but everything's just too...contrived, I guess. The little clever old-timey signs on the wall, for instance. Yes, they fit, but the whole effect is of a place that really wants to feel like it's been there forever right from the start. I understand the sentiment and admire the execution, but there was just something about the effect that I found a little off-putting. I fully admit that I probably wouldn't have reacted so strongly if I hadn't felt so unwelcome during my first visit, so part of it was me just being petty.
I've been back a couple of times since and my impression has softened a bit. The beer selection is honestly very good, and since that first visit the staff has been uniformly friendly. I want to like Brooklyn Public House, and I think I'm finally getting there.
Anyway, back to Wednesday when I stopped in to eat for the first time. The menu is pretty standard when it comes to bar food, but they did have two interesting specials the night that I was there: broiled salmon with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach and...um, some other kind of fish that looked interesting but I didn't order. I'll update the post if I remember (or am otherwise reminded) what it was, but right this moment I can't for the life of me recall.
They also had a beer on special for $4 which I ordered and again, can't remember what it was - some Scottish creamy thing. This blog post is lacking in salient details, I know. I really need to carry around a notebook or something when I plan on posting about a restaurant.
Both the beer and the salmon were pretty good. The beer was better, but the food was actually pretty impressive. I expect a place like this to make good burgers and wings and chicken fingers and whatnot, but I'm always a bit wary of going beyond that, even if its something relatively simple. My fears were unfounded in this case. This isn't the best fish you can get in Fort Greene, but for quick, simple, inexpensive food, it was pretty good. The salmon was broiled well with a nice thin crispy outer layer, and the mashed potatoes and spinach were tasty and filling. Along with the beer(s), it was a pretty nice little dinner that cost me less than $25.
Brooklyn Public House has probably the best beer selection in the neighborhood, so it's probably worth stopping in for that alone. If you're in the mood for some inexpensive bar food as well, you'd be hard pressed to do worse. It's never going to be my first choice as a place to grab a bite, but it's no longer my last choice, either.
Brooklyn Public House
247 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205