A new wave of African-American entrepreneurs are taking Brooklyn’s booming food scene by storm. And if you’re in the mood for Southern or Caribbean comfort food (think oxtail with rice and peas or chicken and waffles), these black-owned restaurants have menus that will tantalize your taste buds.
The Crabby Shack (Crown Heights)
Crabby Shack owners Gwen Niles and Fifi Bell Clanton knew what Brooklyn was missing. A restaurant dedicated to crab. And they gladly serve the sweet and savory crustacean in nearly every mouth-watering variety imaginable, including crab legs, crab rolls, crab cake sliders, crab mac and cheese, and crab and corn chowder. The small, light-filled restaurant on Franklin Avenue also offers several hearty vegetable sides, special sauces like wasabi mayo and spicy butter, and homemade banana pudding.
Photo courtesy of The Crabby Shack via Facebook.
Fried whiting with fries | Kashiro W. via Yelp
Brooklyn Moon Café (Fort Greene)
Like Cheers, Brooklyn Moon is the kind of neighborhood joint where everyone knows your name, or at least remembers your face. Since Michael Thompson opened it in 1995, the Fort Greene cafe has blossomed from a venue for spoken word and poetry readings that served light fare, to a full-scale restaurant with friendly service and a cheap and happening happy hour. Go for the generous “Ye Ole Forte Menu” special, which includes your choice of fried whiting sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich, or salmon or turkey burger with spicy fries plus any happy hour drink for just $10. On weekends, the $1 mimosas also make brunch here a popular choice.
Biscuits and lobster gravy | Sweet Science via Facebook
Sweet Science (Bushwick)
Founded by James Alexander Freeman, the boxing-themed Sweet Science serves American comfort with a twist. For example, in addition to the usual fixin’s, the Joe Louis Burger comes garnished with grilled pineapple, bacon and caramelized onions, and the hefty Biggie Breakfast (named after Brooklyn’s own Notorious B.I.G.) includes a hanger steak, scrambled eggs with cheese, home fries and a Big-a-lini (Welch’s grape juice and sparkling wine). Vegetarians should try the knockout homemade black bean veggie burger. There’s also a “secret” within: Featherweight, a dimly lit speakeasy with specialty cocktails, hidden behind a door in the back of the restaurant.
Shrimp and grits | Nance B. via Yelp
Elberta Restaurant & Bar (Prospect Heights)
Named after a Georgia peach, Elberta is run by husband and wife team Erwin and Erica Caesar. The Flatbush Avenue eatery has a lively, “grown and sexy” atmosphere and an inventive menu with unexpected dishes like deviled eggs with pimento cheese, crispy shallots and mascarpone, and salmon with miso broth, grilled bok choy and sweet potato puree. Weekly specials keep the regulars happy, such as the daily happy hour with $6 drink and appetizer specials at the bar, a three-course $25 prix fixe on Tuesday, and brunch all day on Sunday .
Hot fried chicken at Peaches HotHouse | Lori L. via Yelp
B+C Restaurants (Bedford-Stuyvesant)
Craig Samuel is one half of the team behind B+C Restaurants, an expanding restaurant group that’s spreading its pulled pork and shrimp and grits goodness throughout several neighboring areas. Along with business partner Ben Grossman, Samuel’s first venture in 2006 was the barbecue lovers’ Smoke Joint in Fort Greene, followed by contemporary Southern cuisine staples Peaches and Peaches HotHouse in Bed-Stuy, and Marietta in Clinton Hill. If you dare, forget you’re a Yankee and try an extra hot order of Hothouse’s signature, Nashville-style hot chicken.