Brooklyn has always been known for its distinctive culture, though today when tourists flock towards the borough, it’s not for the “BK” that we heard in the verses by the Notorious B.I.G., but something totally different. The graffiti lined streets are now replaced with coffee shops (serving organic coffee), farm to table restaurants, and unique liquor dens. As a new generation of Americans are drawn to shows like HBO’s Girls, Brooklyn is as “cool” and “hip” as New York City gets. Back in the days when you say you’re from Brooklyn, you have street cred. Now you just might be a hipster.
Many parts of Brooklyn are today very much gentrified, though the process felt very organic. Wealthy developers didn’t start the process, but rather a series of small businesses defined the area, made it “cool”, which then in turn attracted developers. Admittedly, that’s the part of Brooklyn that I’m more familiar with as I travel around and review restaurants.
One thing that gentrification brings to a neighborhood: destination restaurants. As I pulled up towards Lobster Joint, which is on the northern end of Greenpoint, the restaurant looked as if it didn’t belong…. yet. This place would perfectly blend in just 15 blocks towards the south, but up here it looked slightly odd.
Let me emphasize that I do not think this trend to be a bad thing. Brooklyn is simply being taken forward by a new culture, which is unique and defining. Compare the developer-lead growth of parts of Queens (LIC, Flushing), and you see why people flock towards Brooklyn for the lifestyle.
Lobster Joint is a casual seafood restaurant, with a counter to order and a both indoor and outdoor seating to chose from. The garden is simple and comfortable, though next door you see laundry drying on a line (again, the neighborhood is evolving, albeit slowly). The selection of raw bar items was slightly smaller than my favorite seafood places(1 oyster type only), though there was an interesting number of cooked dishes to chose from.
The oysters available on this visit was the Beausoleil. The shucking job wasn’t the cleanest, and I personally prefer crushed ice as a bedding rather than tiny ice cubes. Nevertheless the flavors were quite good, with either the vinaigrette or the massive bottle of Tabasco on every table.
Rather than having the $35 lobster dinner, which as tempting as it may be doesn’t showcase the restaurant’s culinary chops, I ordered the mussels instead. That proved to be an excellent decision. The mussels are cooked nice and tender, and the bowl of broth with shallots and clam juices was so tasty that asking for a soup container and taking it home felt like the right thing to do.
For a neighborhood restaurant, Lobster Joint fits the bill. Especially if you come during Happy Hour. Improve the raw bar, and you might have people traveling to Greenpoint for their oyster fix.
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1073 Manhattan Ave
New York, NY 11222