Friday, December 31, 2010

The Weekend: 12.31-1.2

Friday, Dec. 31

Borough-wide: Say goodbye to 2010 - and hello to 2011 - at any one of these parties. It's a guaranteed good time.

Saturday, Jan. 1

Coney Island: Nothing cures a hangover better than an icy dip in the ocean!

Bushwick: Get started on that resolution to do more artsy fartsy stuff by celebrating the opening of Storefront Gallery's new exhibition, "New Year, New Work, New Facts," with a brunch at the space.

Sunday, Jan. 2

Clinton Hill: Get in more culture at Hadas Gallery and its opening of "Depth/Balance/Surface," featuring photography by Richard W. Golden.

Fort Greene: Send out the holiday with "The Nutcracker," a new version from the American Ballet Theatre at BAM.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Certifiably good! Check out Chipp on Ocean Avenue

By Alex Rush

Talk about tradition.

The pizzaiolo at the recently opened Chipp Neapolitan Pizza on Ocean Avenue is so committed to authenticity, he makes his pies according to the guidelines set by Neapolitan pizza masters.

“Neapolitan pizza is the best in the world,” said Lenny Veltman (pictured at left). “That style is very trendy right now.”

Veltman learned to make traditional Neapolitan pies with Verace Pizza Napoletana, an Italian organization with strict rules for admittance into its culinary la costra nostra that also certifies pizzerias as authentically Neapolitan-style. There are only two such certified pizzerias in the city, and Veltman looks to have Chipp added to that list.

Like traditional Neapolitan pizza, Chipp’s margherita pizza sports fresh mozzarella, sauce made from uncooked San Marzano tomatoes (imported from Italy, of course) and fresh basil. The pies cook for about a minute-and-a-half in an oak-burning oven that reaches up to 1000 degrees.

“I’ve always loved pizza, but I didn’t know about this special kind until about a year ago,” said Veltman, who first found out about Verace Pizza Napoletana-certified pizzerias after eating at one in, of all places, Minnesota.

After his transcendent pizza-eating experience, Veltman, whose past life includes running a Russian restaurant in New Jersey and appearing on season five of “The Apprentice” (he was fired after week seven), was inspired to learn the Neapolitan pizza craft. So he enrolled in Verace Pizza Napoletana’s week-long pizzaiolo rigorous training course in California.

Upon completion, Veltman teamed up with friend and Sheepshead Bay resident Ruslan Goryachkovskiy to open Chipp.

The restaurant’s name is a riff on Cipollini onion, the little golden brown onions that Veltman and Goryachkovskiy use on three of their specialty pies.

You can choose from among 20 varieties of 14-inch diameter pizzas, all priced under $15. 

Many actually deviate from the typical Neapolitan pie with experimental toppings like eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.

“They’re all so good, the pizza here is the best in the neighborhood,” said Irina G., a local resident who declined to give her full last name. “I really like the white pie.”

But our favorite is still the basic margherita. The crust could use some salt, but it is nicely charred while still being foldable. The cheese-to-sauce ratio is pretty even, which we love because both ingredients taste super fresh. And the best part is, the pie big enough to feed two people is only $9.50.

You could order a margherita topped with imported buffalo milk mozzarella for $5 more, but unless you’re a seasoned cheese connoisseur, the less expensive pie with regular cow’s milk mozzarella tastes just as good.

Chipp Neapolitan Pizza [2971 Ocean Ave. between Avenue Y and Avenue Z in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 934-4100)]. Open Sunday-Thursday, 11 am–10 pm., Friday-Saturday, 11 am-11 pm.

Photo by Steve Solomonson


'Golden' works at Hadas Gallery kicks off inaugural show

"Ice Screen" by Richard W. Golden

By Meredith Deliso

You don’t get more Clinton Hill than Hadas Gallery.

The new space on Myrtle Avenue is founded by neighborhood fixtures and features work by local artists. Heck, the name is even Hebrew for Myrtle.

“I wanted to showcase art being made in the area,” said Joshua Stulman, a recent Pratt University graduate recruited to curate the space by omnipresent rabbi and gallery founder Simcha Weinstein. “Brooklyn is very dense with artists. There’s a great diversity and wealth of styles, mediums and approaches.”

The inaugural show is dedicated to photography, specifically, the abstract work of Richard W. Golden, a neighborhood artist who finds inspiration for his nature photography in Prospect Park, the Botanic Garden, and Coney Island. And whereas one shoot can easily result in over 100 photos for a photographer, Golden never takes more than six shots.

“If I can’t capture what I see in a half-dozen negatives, then shooting an entire roll probably won’t either,” says the artist.

Future exhibitions at Hadas will include abstractions based on music by John Axelrod and, given the proximity, student shows featuring the work of Pratt students. Film screenings and even bands performances are eyed for the gallery.

“It’s a little tiny performance space, but there’s lots of possibilities,” said Stulman. “I really want to center on the arts and what’s here in Brooklyn.”

“Depth/Balance/Surface” by Richard W. Golden at Hadas Gallery (543 Myrtle Ave. between Steuben Street and Emerson Place in Clinton Hill, no phone), Jan. 2-31. Opening reception on Jan. 9 from 2-5 pm. For info, visit


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Warm up this winter with this flexible veggie dish

By Helen Klein

I’ve never been a big soup eater, but when the frigid weather descended on Brooklyn earlier this month, I craved a bowl of something warm and cozy. For me, that means a thick base studded with vegetables — lots of good stuff to take the chill away.

Of course, I also craved immediate gratification, so I didn’t want a pot of something that had to simmer for hours to develop its flavor. And a casual riff on one of my go-to recipes, corn chowder, fit the bill perfectly.

To decide what vegetables to include, I simply raided my crisper and found broccoli and pepper, though the former could easily be substituted by cauliflower or acorn squash if that’s what you have. No pepper? No problem. Try a carrot cut into small pieces instead.

If you substitute, do try to use a variety of different colored produce, both because the finished dish looks prettier that way, and because it increases the nutritional diversity of the soup. And if you don’t have or like beans, those can be easily eliminated, but they do add heft, making the soup more of a main dish.

Broccoli and bean chowder
Serves six

3 tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 head broccoli, stems chopped, florets cut small
2 large or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 15-oz. can cream-style corn
1/2 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tbl. olive oil in soup pot. When hot, add onion and pepper and sauté over medium-high heat, salting to release liquids inside the vegetables, and stirring frequently till golden and onion is translucent. Add chopped broccoli stems and continue sautéing, adding a little water to the pan if necessary, till broccoli is crisp-tender. Add potato chunks, and water to cover, and boil for 20 minutes, till potatoes are tender.

In the meantime, in a separate small frying pan, heat remaining olive oil, and quickly fry broccoli florets till they are bright green (frying them separately helps maintain their texture and individual flavor).

Add corn, beans and milk and heat to just below boiling.  Stir in broccoli florets. Add freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Jump in and greet the new year!

By Vera Zukelman

In Brooklyn, there’s no better way to greet the new year than a case of hypothermia.

But you’d better not be thinking about the dangers of frostbite if you want to join hundreds of swimmers who plunge into the icy Atlantic Ocean at the annual Coney Island Polar Bear Club swim on New Year’s Day.

First-timers are always welcome to partake in the tingly tradition, but don’t worry if you can’t hack it, says club President Dennis Thomas.
“Once you’re in, it’s OK to scream,” he said.

It’s also OK to simply join the thousands of spectators who crowd the beach to watch the swimmers, some dressed in diapers (they’re New Year’s babies!), wigs, full body paint or string bikinis (now that’s just nuts!).

Sure, cold water swimming may be a bit loony, but it’s also a great way to relax, says Brynna Tucker.

“The shock of the cold is intense and it feels wonderful,” said Tucker, a Polar Bear since 2006. “There’s no other feeling like it. If you had a really bad week, the cold is not so bad.”

Thomas also assures sceptics that the club members are not bonkers.

“We’re a very tight-knit community of people from all walks of life that otherwise wouldn’t have met each other,” he said.

As in previous years, the swim will raise money for Camp Sunshine, a retreat that provides support and medical attention for children with life-threatening illnesses. Last year, Camp Sunshine was able to send 20 families from Brooklyn to the free retreat in Sebago Lake, New Hampshire. So, as the saying goes, you’re freezing for a reason!

Polar Bear Club swim [meet at the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue at Coney Island, (917) 533-3568], Jan. 1 at 1 pm. Bathers must bring a suit, towel, footware and warm clothes (for afterwards). For info, visit


The show will go on

Brooklyn Vegan notes that regularly scheduled program will continue at Union Hall, BAM and Brooklyn Bowl tonight.

That means Mike Birbiglia will have his one-man show at Union Hall, "The Nutcracker" will go on at BAM, and Brooklyn Bowl will host the Tom Hamilton and the American Babies All Star Alumni Special Holiday Show, featuring Joe Russo (Furthur), Eric Slick (Dr. Dog), Dave Dreiwitz (Ween), Jim Hamilton and Scott Metzger.

Stay tuned for MTA updates here, so you can figure out how exactly to get there if you're not in the neighborhood already.


See Mike Birbiglia - tonight!

UPDATE: The Monday show has been rescheduled for this Wednesday.

If self-deprecation had a crown, Mike Birbiglia would be wearing it.

The “This American Life” regular has gained fans for his long-form narrative jokes, which mine his awkward adolescence and other embarrassments — personal, career or otherwise — much to our amusement.

On the heels of his 2009 one-man show, “Sleepwalk with Me,” which is also now a book and, in the works, a movie, comes Birbiglia’s much anticipated new one. Titled “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” it opens Off-Broadway in time for Valentine’s Day, fittingly, but the comedian’s been workshopping it all over town lately.

Next up is Union Hall. The Park Slope venue and frequent stage for the comic hosts Birbiglia for two nights, on Dec. 27 and 28 and 29, during which he’ll share some new and not-so-new stories. That should include the one that gave him the name of his forthcoming show — a nod to his popular bit where he tells the story of his first girlfriend, a not-so-nice girl who already had a boyfriend, unbeknownst to our comic. That is, until he meets both the boyfriend and his parents one day.

“It’s a very strange thing, meeting your girlfriend’s boyfriend’s parents for the first time,” says the comic in his usual droll, contemplative delivery. “Part of you is angry for obvious reasons, and part of you still wants to make a good first impression.”

The endearing thing is, you know exactly what he means.

Mike Birbiglia at Union Hall [702 Union St. near Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400], Dec. 27 and 28 and 29 at 8 pm. Tickets $20 (standing room only). For info, visit


Friday, December 24, 2010

The Weekend: 12.24-12.26

Friday, Dec. 24

Cobble Hill: Celebrate French designer Thierry Dreyfus' new show at the Invisible Dog gallery with a Christmas Eve dinner and viewing.

Fort Greene: Get in one last "Nutcracker" this holiday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as the American Ballet Theatre brings the classic to life. Also Saturday and Sunday, through Jan. 2.

Borough-wide: Leave the cooking to the pros this Christmas Eve at one of these Brooklyn destinations.

Saturday, Dec. 25

Dyker Heights: There may be no better place for some holiday cheer than "Dyker Lights."

Brighton Beach: See some of Russia's best in the stage show, "Moscow Circus on Stage," at the Milennium. Also Sunday.

Sunday, Dec. 26

Borough-wide: In your post-Christmas haze, muster up the energy and go shopping!

DUMBO: Grab a bite to eat at reBar, then and check out Juan Carlos Pinto's fun, MetroCard art at DIS Micro Gallery.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A restaurant favorite - at home

By Helen Klein

The other evening, I had an especially amazing pasta dish -- freshly made tortelli topped with little cubes of butternut squash in a sauce of butter and truffle oil -- when I shared dinner with a friend at Williamsburg’s Il Passatore.

Since I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I decided to try and recreate it, sort of -- a challenge since I didn’t have most of the main ingredients.

But, that didn’t stop me. Since I didn’t have any stuffed pasta, and I wasn’t about to make any, I turned to a package of gnocchi on my pantry shelf that was just waiting for its moment in the sun. And, needless to say, I didn’t have any truffle oil.

I also didn’t have butternut squash, but I did have a bright orange farm-fresh acorn squash, and fresh garlic, and a bristling bunch of basil, green and gorgeous.

So, last night, I turned my oven on high and began roasting the squash and the garlic, contemplating the latter as the base for a creamy sauce to bathe and embrace the gnocchi.
What I ended up with was a sauce that salutes pesto, with back notes of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, but replaces the strident notes of raw garlic with the soft sweetness of roasted garlic. A handful of chopped walnuts tossed with the gnocchi, sauce and squash chunks reinforced the resemblance to pesto, while also contributing a pleasing crunch to the finished dish, which was satisfying without being cloying, and warming on a windy evening.

Spinach Gnocchi with squash
Serves four as a light main dish

17 oz. package of spinach gnocchi
3-5 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic
1/2 acorn squash, seeds and strings removed, and brushed lightly with olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Wrap garlic in small piece of aluminum foil. Roast garlic and squash in preheated 450 oven, till garlic is soft and pops right out of its skin, about half an hour, and till squash is tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Squeeze garlic from skins when it’s cool enough to handle and purée in a food processor with 1/4 tsp. of salt, grated Parmesan and 1/4 cup chopped basil, adding enough olive oil to make a creamy sauce. Set aside.

Cut squash into 1/4-inch wide strips, peeling the skin from each and cutting into small chunks. Set aside.

Cook gnocchi in salted water according to package directions. When gnocchi is tender, drain and toss with sauce, squash chunks, nuts and reserved basil leaves, adding salt and pepper to taste.


Dress up, go out this New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is right around the corner. If you're lacking in plans, look no further than our guide to doing it right in Brooklyn. Even if you have plans, check it out.

As for what you're going to wear, ladies, we've also got you covered. Check out these offerings from some of the borough's best boutiques and shops. We found the perfect items in which you can ring in the New Year — dresses that are chic yet still affordable (well, there’s one splurge in there).

Abby Z Lace Wrap Dress
This lace wrap dress is sexy and comfortable at the same time, making for the perfect evening out look and feel. You’ll also feel smart – find it at vintage Boerum Hill shop Re/Dress NYC for $49, marked down from the original $249!

Re/Dress NYC [109 Boerum Pl. between Pacific and Dean streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 522-7962].

Sequined Stefani Mini Dress
All eyes will be on you in this sequined Stefani mini dress ($68). Thanks to its relaxed A-line shape, it’s an easy fit, but it won’t take much to look stunning in this shimmery showstopper by Tulle. Find it at Fred Flare in Greenpoint.

Fred Flare [131 Meserole Ave. near Leonard Street in Greenpoint, (718) 349-1257].

Rebecca Taylor Sparkle Sweetheart Dress
It didn’t take long to find this silk stunner at Cobble Hill’s Diane T., a go-to shop for party cocktail dresses. This light, peek-a-boo sequined stunner by Rebecca Taylor ($475) creates the perfect silhouette for a night out, has a sweet strapless sweetheart neckline, so you can dress it up even more with a necklace, and a banded waist for a nice fit. The pleated A-line skirt also adds flirty movement.

Diane T. [174 Court St. between Congress and Amity streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 923-5777].

Strapless Mesh Cross Over Mini Dress
You can’t go wrong with this sateen skirt combo ($42) by Fashion to Figure, a trendy, contemporary plus-size women’s apparel chain for sizes 12-26 that recently opened in Kings Plaza Shopping Mall. The strapless piece creates a classic yet edgy look that you can pair with heels and hoop earrings. And it has pockets, which is always a plus.

Fashion to Figure at the Kings Plaza Shopping Mall [5100 Kings Plaza at E. 53rd Place in Marine Park, (718) 377-7040].

My Tribe Steel Rouged Front Dress
Look effortlessly glamorous this New Year’s Eve with this steel grey rouged front dress by My Tribe ($74). Complete the chic ensemble with a tri-color multi chain necklace by Lulu ($29), and a matching grey clutch with glass crystals by Paris Designs ($44). You can get the whole look at Suzette LaValle’s new boutique in Clinton Hill.

Suzette LaValle [923 Fulton St. between Waverly and Clinton avenues in Clinton Hill, (646) 281-4029].


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

They don't call it Dyker Lights for nothing

By Meredith Deliso

Do they know it’s Christmas? They do in Dyker Heights.

Year in and year out, thousands flock to the neighborhood to see some of the best holiday decorations in the city, even earning it the nickname “Dyker Lights.”

This year isn’t any different, as the six-block area bounded by 83rd and 86th streets and 11th and 13th avenues is decked out in two-story Santas, 10-foot tall dancers that pirouette to the music of the “Nutcracker Suite,” and 29-foot-tall toy soldiers marching in place.

Our favorites include the Polizzottos (1145 84th St. between 11th and 12th avenues), who have an absolutely gigantic Santa greeting visitors, as well as galloping reindeer and a life-size merry-go-round. Across the street, the Spatas (1152 84th St., above) are not to be missed. The family started the tradition 25 years ago, after all, and has one of the largest displays in the city. This year, it grew by two 15-foot-tall nutcrackers.

The larger-than-life figures have become very popular this year, said Tony Muia, a Bensonhurst native who runs the “Slice of Brooklyn” pizza tours and, more recently, a Dyker Lights tour.

“People are getting really imaginative with their decorations. It’s amazing what people are coming up with,” said Muia. “We didn’t schlep all the way to Rockefeller Center for the lights. We went to see the lights of Dyker Heights. It’s a tradition.”

For info on the “Slice of Brooklyn” Christmas tours, visit


Check out this light show

By Meredith Deliso

Let there be light.

Fans of the French artist Thierry Dreyfus are in for a treat this month, as the acclaimed light designer launches his first solo show in America on Dec. 25 at Invisible Dog.

“(Naked) Absence — (Blinding) Presence … (dis)appearances” is almost modest in comparison to Dreyfus’s most recent works, which include illuminating such iconic pieces of architecture as Grand Palais, a historical monument located at the base of the Champs Elysées; the Château de Versailles; and the Notre Dame de Paris.

Still, the work at the Invisible Dog will be as grand as the space allows. On the ground floor of the Cobble Hill gallery, he’ll install eight large mirrors, reflecting ourselves, of course, as well as a sculpture with a timed light installation. In the basement will be a photography exhibition, though the draw will surely be the artist’s work with optics.

“Light doesn’t have words. It does not speak intellectually. 

It’s pure emotion,” said Dreyfus of his inspiration. “[It’s] emotional by nature; so is the intrinsic meaning of the installation I have created at the Invisible Dog.”

“(Naked) Absence — (Blinding) Presence … (dis)appearances” at Invisible Dog (51 Bergen St. between Smith Street and Boerum Place in Cobble Hill, no phone), Dec. 25-Feb. 20 (opening dinner on Dec. 24 at 6:30 pm, tickets $50). For info, visit


Check out this circus show

By Meredith Deliso

This is a circus show for people who take circuses seriously.

From impresario Victor Shulman, the man who brought us “Russian Circus on Ice” a few years back, comes “Moscow Circus on Stage,” a stage show featuring stars of the Russian circus scene at the Millennium Theater in Brighton Beach on Dec. 25 and 26.

“Russians are known for their circus,” said promoter Tatiana Barrios-Flores. “Shulman hand-picked these performers, many of whom have traveled all over the world.”

That includes contortionists, aerialists, a contortionist who does aerial tricks, strong men, dogs that can do back flips and ride bicycles (seriously), and one of the most famous clowns in Russia — Boris.

“People should not confuse this with a ‘Disney on Ice’ or some other circus show,” said Shulman. “These are circus performers audiences would find in shows like the ‘Cirque du Soleil.’ We have found the greatest gymnasts and finest circus acts and put them on stage.”

“Moscow Circus on Stage” at the Millennium Theater [1029 Brighton Beach Ave. between Brighton 11th and Brighton 12th streets in Brighton Beach, (718) 615-1500], Dec. 25 and 26 and noon and 3 pm. Tickets $40-$60; children five and under can sit on their parent’s lap for half price. For info, call (631) 727-0222.


Moving images

By Meredith Deliso

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recreate.

Not familiar with that last one? For Juan Carlos Pinto, it’s all part of the artistic process.

In his current show, “Recycle and Recreate,” running through the end of the month at DIS Micro Gallery in DUMBO, the artist used spliced-up MetroCards to recreate famous portraits of such icons as Bruce Lee, John Lennon and Michael Jackson and the Mona Lisa.

The resulting pieces are more colorful than you think — there’s yellow and black, of course, but also strips of blue, green, purple, and red, thanks to special-edition MetroCards created to commemorate things like Earth Day.

This simple conceit began as a way for the artist to protest subway hikes back in 2002, and the resulting works are playful and eye-catching commentaries on transit, the environment and waste.

“The idea of using these non-biodegradable cards is to reinforce recycling and prolonging its use indefinitely while providing the artist with a source free material,” Pinto says about his work.
You too can do your part by bringing your old MetroCards to the show. The artist could always put them to good use.

“Recycle and Recreate” at DIS Micro Gallery [147 Front St. between Adams and Jay streets in DUMBO, (347) 687-0095], now through Dec. 31. Free. For info, visit


One last 'Nutcracker'

By Meredith Deliso

Not sick of “The Nutcracker” just yet?

Then check out the American Ballet Theatre’s full-length production of the holiday classic, as the world-class company comes to the Brooklyn Academy of Music just in the nick of time, in previews starting tonight and running to Jan. 2.

Don’t get this confused with “The Hard Nut,” a retro reimagining by Mark Morris of the eventful Christmas night that recently ran on stage at BAM. 

The American Ballet Theatre’s version, from choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, presents a more traditional retelling of the children’s story, complete with a live orchestra performing the full score, charming child dancers, and extraordinary Biedermeier-inspired sets and costumes by Tony Award-winner Richard Hudson (of “Lion King” fame) to help bring to life the toy soldiers, enchanting fairies, dancing snowflakes and mischievous mice.

The run, just the company’s third “Nutcracker” in its 70-year history, features several matinee performances throughout the week — perfect for families with children home from school — with 16 performances crammed into 10 days of performances, so you can enjoy “The Nutcracker” before it’s simply too late.

“The Nutcracker” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene,  (718) 646-4100], Dec. 22-Jan. 2. Tickets $20-$135. For info, visit


Monday, December 20, 2010

Label away

Looking for a way to spruce up your gifts this holiday?

The Local shares with us these easy-to-print gift tags, made by Brooklyn artist Julia Rothman, available to download over at Design Sponge. Choose from among illustrations of reindeer, nutcrackers, mittens and winter scenes, in pleasing teals and reds. They'll made an adorable to any gift!


Brooklyn knows the tastiest parts

Thrillest has one meaty story.

Drywell Art creates playful art inspired by butcher diagrams. Hence this "Meat My City" poster, which breaks down Brooklyn by neighborhood, including the aptly named, historic Pigtown, once upon a time found outside the borough's limits, according to the artist.

Consider it a foodie version of this Ork favorite.


Eat right this Christmas Eve

This Christmas, leave the cooking up to the pros. Henry's End owner Mark Lahm shows off the Brooklyn Heights restaurant's stuffed quail with sour cherry reduction. Photo by Stefano Giovannini

By Michelle Manetti

Sure, Christmas Eve is one of the big “family nights” on the Gregorian calendar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the family out to a great meal at one of the few borough restaurants that are open. Here’s our guide to the best Christmas Eve dining options (minus Chinese restaurants, which never seem to close):


In Bay Ridge, the seafood-renowned Pearl Room will be serving up a Christmas Eve menu that will live up to its reputation.

Guests can enjoy appetizers like crab cakes, baked clams and a seafood salad and entrees including lobster ravioli, penne a la vodka with a choice of chicken or shrimp and hummus-crusted Atlantic salmon, in an atmosphere as good as the food.

“All ages come here to celebrate,” said waitress Donna Somma. “We have a lot of couples and big families but it’s great because it’s a very safe environment, not rowdy at all. It’s classy.”

In Coney Island, Gargiulo’s is also planning on a big fish feast. Along with the number of pastas being offered for $10-$15, there will also be entrees like fried calamari, broiled lobster tails and shrimp racanati, ranging from $17-$35.

The Pearl Room [8201 Third Ave. at 82nd Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-666]; $52 plus tax. Seatings begin at 4 pm on Dec. 24. Also open Dec. 25. Reservations required. Gargiulo’s [2911 W. 15th St. between Mermaid and Surf avenues in Coney Island, (718) 266-4891]. Reservations required, last seating at 8:30 pm. Closed Dec. 25.


If you’re more of the meat and potatoes kind of family, Henry’s End in Brooklyn Heights has just what you’re looking for. And it’s not just the hearty winter fare that creates the holiday mood.

“We have very festive decorations in the restaurant,” said owner Mark Lahm. “Families come here to enjoy themselves in a calm and comfortable place.”

For a pre-fixed price of $60, diners choose from appetizers including a shaved Brussels sprout salad or stuffed quail in a Pinot Noir reduction, and entrees such as duck with spicy orange glaze and Buffalo hanger steak. A glass of sparkling wine and dessert is included.

In Marine Park, Salvi Restaurant will also be big on the land, serving chicken, veal and lamb dishes at a variety of prices, and Buckley’s Restaurant iwill be serving Christmas Eve dinner with a choice of 12 entrees, including its famous roast prime rib for $29.95.

Henry’s End [44 Henry Street between Cranberry and Middagh Streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 834-1776]; $60 plus tax. Reservations required. Closed Dec. 25; Salvi Restaurant [4420 Quentin Road between Flatbush Avenue and Hendrickson Street in Marine Park, (718) 252-3030]. Seatings at 6 pm and 8:30 pm on Dec. 24. Reservations required. Closed Dec. 25; Buckley’s Restaurant [2926 Avenue S at Nostrand Avenue in Marine Park, (718) 998-4222]; Reservations required. Open Dec. 24 from 5-9 pm. Closed Dec. 25.


If you’re looking to keep off the pounds this holiday season, the excellent Sun in Bloom in Park Slope wants to help.

“Raw living food and gluten free items are perfect for people who want to keep pounds off and feel light after their holiday meals,” said owner Aimee Follette. “Friends and family will be delighted by the pleasure of our dishes and feel lighter, energized, and healthy.”

This vegan restaurant is serving delicious treats like pumpkin-yam soup, three bean chili with gluten free corn bread, rosemary thyme stuffing and raw apple pie at a variety of prices. You won’t miss meat.

Sun in Bloom [460 Bergen St. between Fifth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope, (718) 622-4303]. Open Dec. 24 from 8 am-3 pm. Reservations required. Take-out option is available. Closed Dec. 25.

All of the above

Can’t decide on what you want just yet? Two Williamsburg restaurants will be serving up a range of French and German holiday dishes for you to feast on.

Le Comptoir will be open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas, with specials including baked oysters with champagne sabayon, lobster salad, Beef Wellington, and even a foie gras tasting menu on both nights, as well as a lobster-heavy brunch on Christmas.

For more of a German spin, Loreley Williamsburg will be serving a special dinner on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. For $38, enjoy a three-course meal with a choice of grilled filet mignon or Eisbein (grilled pork shank) or Kartoffelgratin (vegetarian casserole), with a housemade apple strudel or traditional stollen cake for dessert. Drink it all down with a choice of beer or glass of mulled Glühwein. It’ll be the start of a new tradition.

Meanwhile, on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Marco Polo is doing what it does best. Sticking with traditional Italian fish dishes, guests can enjoy appetizers like fried calamari for $13.95 and entrees such as “baccala alla livornese” which is dry codfish sautéed with potatoes, onions, capers and olives for $24.95.

Le Comptoir [251 Grand St. near Roebling Street in Williamsburg, (718) 486-3300], open Dec. 24 from 5-11 pm and Dec. 25 from noon-8 pm. Reservations recommended; Loreley Williamsburg [64 Frost St. near Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 599-0025]. Open from 5 pm-midnight for dinner. Reservations recommended; Marco Polo [345 Court St. at Union Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 852-5015]. Reservations required. 


More Hot Tub!

Littlefield knows what you want this holiday season — more Hot Tub.

Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler’s beloved absurdist variety show is back at the Gowanus on Dec. 20 for a second installment this month.

The normally monthly offbeat hour is typically anchored by co-hosts Schaal (from “The Daily Show” and “Flight of the Conchords”) and Braunohler, though this time, Braunohler will be on his own, though joined by “Saturday Night Life” writer John Mulaney (pictured), LA-based comedian and rapper MC Mr. Napkins, and, for a change of pace, burlesque performer Creamy Stevens.

Since it’s a special holiday edition of Hot Tub, there are sure to be some naughty surprises — if you’re nice.

Hot Tub at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 855-3388], Dec. 20 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5. For info, visit


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Weekend: 12.17-12.19

Friday, Dec. 17

Borough-wide: Get all your last-minute holiday shopping done at these markets.

Brooklyn Heights: Get into the holiday spirit with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, performing holiday classics at Our Lady of Lebanon Church. Also Saturday.

Greenpoint: From Gothamist, the Gutter expands into music tonight, like a mini-Brooklyn Bowl.

Saturday, Dec. 18

Crown Heights: Celebrate Vodou at Five Myles, with a photography exhibit from Stephanie Keith, and other festivities.

Park Slope: If the Brooklyn Youth Chorus still didn't do it for you, head to the Old First Reformed Church  for the annual Jingle Bell Jamboree.

Williamsburg: Five new bands will play for the first time at the Rock Lottery, a Denton, Texas classic that makes its first appearance in Brooklyn.

Bensonhurst: Bundle up and see a living nativity at the New Utrecht Reformed Church.

Manhattan Beach: It's a "Nutcracker" for all ages at the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center. Also the next day at the Brooklyn Children's Museum...

Sunday, Dec. 19

Carroll Gardens: ...For a more adult version of the classic holiday tale, check out Company XIV's burlesque version, "Nutcracker Rouge."

Park Slope: It's your last chance to catch the Gallery Players production of "Dancing at Lughnasa."


Thursday, December 16, 2010

For all your last-minute shopping

By Meredith Deliso

We’re heading into the homestretch, folks! Christmas is less than a fortnight away. But don’t worry, there are plenty of markets throughout the borough where you can score unique finds, and still have time to wrap them.

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
Williamsburg’s Artists and Fleas expands just for the holidays with its Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar. The seasonal pop-up, operating Dec. 18 and 19, is just a block away from the “mothership” and features more in artist-made, designer-crated, vintage-based goodies. Not to be missed are Thief and Bandit’s colorful braided bracelets (pictured), which would stand out on any wrist; artist Amber Cowan’s glass vases, which look as if they’re inspired by underwater sea life; and mgmy studio’s geometric planters, because plants always make for a good gift, especially when they come in unique pots.

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar (N. Seventh Street between Wythe and Kent avenues in Williamsburg, no phone), Dec. 18 and 19 from noon-8 pm. For info, visit

Greenpoint Holiday Craft Fair
The Lutheran Church of the Messiah is home to a temporary craft fair in Greenpoint this Saturday, stocked with fun, local designers thanks to the Greenpoint Holiday Craft Fair. There’s certainly a range in tastes, including Max Wowch’s twisted, gothy shirts; Sodafine’s feminine fabrics and accessories; charms from Dirty Librarian (we really love that name); and Backyard Vintage’s, well, vintage items. Find something for everyone on your list.

Greenpoint Holiday Craft Fair at Lutheran Church of the Messiah [129 Russell St. between Nassau and Driggs avenues in Greenpoint, (718) 389-0854], Dec. 18 from 10 am-6 pm. For info, visit

Christmas Fair
This fair touts itself as Brooklyn’s biggest indoor/outdoor multi-level flea market around. And with nearly 150 vendors, it’s easy to see why. You name it, this fundraiser for Sunset Park’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help church probably has it, including jewelry, clothing, shoes, DVDs, CDs, records, comics, coins, and antiques. You can even give the gift of art; nearly 50 artists and photographers will be selling their affordable creations through TopStar Gallery, so you can find a truly one-of-a-kind present.

Christmas Fair at Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Notre Dame Hall [545 60th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Sunset Park, (917) 312-9855], Dec. 18 from 1-8 pm and Dec. 19 from 7 am-5 pm. For info, visit


Feeling lucky?

By Meredith Deliso

This lottery has nothing to do with scratch-offs.

Since 1996, the Rock Lottery has been an annual pastime in Denton, Texas, where 25 musicians are randomly placed into five bands and given 12 hours to come up with original music to play before a waiting, eager audience.

Given the wealth and diversity of talent in Brooklyn, it’s almost shameful that the idea hasn’t been tested here since (even Seattle has one by now). But that changes on Dec. 18, when the Knitting Factory hosts the inaugural Rock Lottery in Brooklyn.

Music publicist Tierney Scout experienced the Rock Lottery in Denton during her four years of college there and figured it was high time Brooklyn had its own.

 “I thought Brooklyn would be a perfect place. It’s probably as diverse as you’re going to get. The spirit of the Rock Lottery has always been to run the gamut regarding genre,” said Scout. “At the same time, the community is pretty incestuous here.”

Indeed, Scout found it particularly challenging to find 25 musicians who had never played with each other before. But she was able to come up with a diverse (albeit indie-heavy) list that includes Bradford Reed of King Missile III, who plays his own invented instrument, the pencilina; Juile Potash of Northern State; Seth Jabour of Les Savy Fav (band pictured above); Jon Philpot of Bear In Heaven; and Stephen Patterson of White Rabbits.

It’s a gamble if the resulting bands will work well together, but whether it’s terrible, silly or awesome, it doesn’t matter, said Rock Lottery founder Chris Weber.

“The audience is always supportive and screaming for the first band, no matter what,” said Weber. “They’re yelling as if it’s their favorite band, even if they don’t know who any of the people are on stage. It’s just the sense of people working very hard for our delight and amusement. I’m curious to see how it works in Brooklyn.”

Rock Lottery at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], Dec. 18 at 10 pm. Tickets $10, with all proceeds going to World Savvy. For info, visit

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