Agent Spotlight: Robert Bell
Food on Fulton
Fulton Street is a long commercial and residential street in northern Brooklyn named after Robert Fulton... an American engineer and inventor at the end of the 18th century, who developed a commercially successful steamboat in NYC, and in 1800 was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the Nautilus, which was the first practical submarine in history. This historically and culturally complex street originally began by the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights (echoes of it remain in the small strip of road now known as Old Fulton Street), but it currently begins it's east-west trajectory at Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn where it provides the backbone of the Fulton Mall which flourishes as one of NYC largest commercial centers... and then it acts as the dividing line which separates Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in the north from Prospect Heights in the south, separates Bedford-Styuvesant in the north from Crown Heights in the south, and then pulls up slightly after Broadway Junction and skirts along the southern border of Mt. Carmel and Mt. Hope Cemeteries and finishes in Woodhaven, Queens.
One of our agents, Robert Bell, lives along Fulton Street and has explored many of its idiosyncratic food establishments over the last 15 years. Moving from West to East, here are some spots he recommends you visit as the warmer and adventurous days of Spring start to return to us:
1. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory - Right along the old pier, with excellent views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, you can step inside this old fireboat house and feast on small-batch ice cream.
2. Juliana's - One of the original pizzeria's of NYC, still owned and operated by one of the original pizzaiolos, Patsy Grimaldi. Don't bother with his namesake establishment next door, Grimaldi's... it's a long story, but if you want original and delicious NYC pizza, then go here.
3. Grimaldi's - They serve pizza here.
4. Gotham Market at the Ashland - This recently opened Marketplace serves Southern bbq, crab cakes, fried chicken, and lots more in their beautifully open and spacious dining hall.
5. Brooklyn Moon Cafe - Homestyle Caribbean food in a casual and friendly atmosphere, filled with locals and friends.
6. Bati - Ethiopian cafe that has a densely flavored injera and fragrant vegetarian dishes.
7. Green Grape Annex - The hippest cafe along this street, lots of seating, small plates & pastries, and rich coffee drinks.
8. Not Ray's Pizza - There are a confusing amount of pizza joints in our city named Ray's... this is Not Ray's.
9. Prospect - Speaking of confusing names... this terrific New American restaurant is not on Prospect Place nor is it in Prospect Heights, it is in Fort Greene and on Fulton Street. But the menu is wonderful, and the Monday Night Burgers are amazing... so who cares?
10. Der Schwarze Koelner - A beer garden from a time before beer gardens were cool, with indoor and outdoor seating.
11. Yafa Deli - This is a bodega, like many other bodegas, but there is something special here. 24 hours a day, 365 days a week, small batches of stunningly good and ridiculously cheap fried chicken is made and served here.
12. Emily's Pizza - The heart of this place is the friendly and talented couple Matt and Emily, the engine is the sleek copper-plated pizza oven that was crowdfunded thru Kickstarter... how Brooklyn can you get?... and they now serve some of the best Neapolitian pies in the City, and a $25 Burger, and a clutch of delicious small plates.
13. Sister's - A former hardware store, this spacious establishment was beautifully re-designed and takes full advantage of its soaring ceilings and enormous skylight. Two full bars, great food, and DJ's in the back every night.
14. Bergen Bagels - Another confusion with names and places... this is the second iteration of the very successful Bergen Bagels, which is sensibly located on Bergen and Flatbush... and here is the second Bergen Bagels, on the corner of Washington and Fulton.
15. Otway - Last year this was called Tilda All Day, which won a local following for its diverse and thoughtful breakfast and lunch options. Newly reopened as a dinner spot, the inventive menu changes regularly. Come back often...
16. Buka - One of a small handful of authentic Nigerian restaurants in NYC. Using the starchy fufu to sop up spicy stews with your fingers is an experience not to be missed.
17. Doris - Really more of a kick-ass bar than a food establishment, with a turntable built into the long bar and an aesthetic that is reminiscent of the American Southwest by way of the Skywalker Farm on Tatooine... but they also serve grilled cheese sandwiches, so I have decided it qualifies for this food establishment list.
18. Paris Dakar - The sister outpost of the delicious French-Nigerian bakery on Nostrand Avenue, this wonderful cafe serves crepes and coffees.
19. Tastee Pattee - The "Jamaican" patty, when done correctly, is not awhat you think it is... it is not a slightly phosphorescent yellow bakery item with strange meat in it, baked and then frozen and then baked again... when done correctly, as it is done here, it is a freshly baked and flaky pastry with home-cooked meats and vegetables inside.
20. Keep exploring... for the next new thing that will open up, or the great place that has always been there but somehow escaped your notice... the restaurants keep changing, the neighborhoods keep changing... the street remains the same.