Cruising for the full dining experience! Join us as we cruise New York’s asphalt in pursuit of restaurants and bars focused on giving their customers more bang for their buck – coupling tasty, well prepared food and drinks with good quality service! You don’t have to be a member of the royal family to be treated like one!

Posts tagged “Clinton Hills

WELCOME TO ASPHALT CRUISERS!!!

Just in time for the new season, is a blog created and designed to fill you in on places we think will offer you a “full dining experience”.

ASPHALT CRUISERS isn’t just about new restaurants, great food & cheap prices – it’s about “THE FULL DINING EXPERIENCE”. We get tired of spending our money at places where we get waiters with poor attitudes, watered down or overpriced cocktails, and just an overall bad time. We love New York and all the restaurants available to us, but ASPHALT CRUISERS is dedicated to those that miss service with a smile – the places where they treat you like they actually want you to come back again. We find a lot of good food, but few places exceed your expectations with their service quality.

Join the movement!!!

Before venturing out for your next brunch, lunch, dinner or happy hour, be sure to visit us here at WWW.ASPHALTCRUISERS.WORDPRESS.COM to get the latest recommendations for your full dining experience, and be sure to leave a comment.

Don’t forget to subscribe and look for our exciting updates and surprise giveaways coming soon!

Sincerely,

Harv & Kam

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Winner of the “Dine On Us, Shop on Us” competition is…

Congratulations to Coretta C, the winner of our “Dine On Us, Shop on Us” competition.  

Be sure to subscribe to the blog, pass the word, and you too can WIN!  ASPHALT CRUISERS has the picks for your next great bar or restaurant experience.

WWW.ASPHALTCRUISERS.COM!


SoCo – So Delicious….So Complete….So Brooklyn!

SoCo Southern Fused Cuisine

509 Myrtle Ave (between Ryerson St & Grand Ave), Brooklyn, NY 11205

(718) 783-1936

G train to the Clinton-Washington Ave. station

www.socobk.com

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather one evening and find a new place for dinner. As we cruised through the streets of Brooklyn, we came across a few interesting looking dining options, but the brisk breezes of dusk were so inviting we felt encouraged to explore more. On this particular night, the dining venue had to be just right. We must have walked through about four neighborhoods. The next thing we knew we were in the Clinton Hill section, and SoCo restaurant was IT! On this Thursday night, it was the place that had it all going on. Through the windows, we saw a moving picture of taste, art, culture and pleasure. It was speaking to us and told us to come in. So we did. We walked in and were attracted to the energy of this posh, hip, and tasteful venue. We entered and noticed the large Brooklyn themed collage repping Notorious B.I.G. and others, the raised DJ booth, the long bar, and the charming smile of the hostess guiding us to our desired seats at the bar. Instantly, the bartender, and our host for the evening (who we later learned was Brian) greeted us with a warm, polite smile. He welcomed us, asked if this was our 1st time visiting and took us on a guided menu tour to start off our full dining experience. Naturally, we began with cocktails – the French Q.75 and the Butternut squash for Harv (that’s right, “Butternut Squash” drink – and both drinks were delicious)! The cocktail menu is intriguing, unique and well developed by Mixologist, George Duvall. As we looked through the appetizer and entrée selections, the decision was difficult, but we ultimately decided on ordering the wings appetizer, mac-n-cheese side dish, and the Lobster, Shrimp & Grits entrée. (You should know that I chose the wings and mac because the woman next to me seemed to ripping hers apart. Her friend was trying to hold a mild conversation with her, but the woman next to me could barely stop eating long enough to provide any response. I took this as a sign that the food was pretty outstanding, plus she’d already turned around and told me so. LOL). As we waited for our food, we enjoyed the rest of our drinks, and the live DJ continued to spin tunes that had us vibing and feeling alive! We were chillin’ with the beautiful people. Our food arrived without delay and we devoured every morsel. SoCo’s talented executive chef, Kingsley John, has prepared a menu of, what we call, ‘feastive’ treats for the public, and we were glad to reap the benefits of his culinary expertise. We finally topped off our evening with some dessert cocktails, reluctantly picked up our check and headed home. We want to also mention how delighted we were with the fact that they were really busy all night (all seats at the bar were taken, and all tables were full), yet they still provided us excellent service the entire evening. SoCo Southern Fused Cuisine was intriguing, warm and delightful. We, easily, could have hung out there all night; it’s just that cool-a-place. You can now find them in “Cruisers Favorites”. Since our initial visit, we’ve been back and will be back again and again.

Hours

Unfortunately for the rest of us, SoCo is closed Mondays

Tuesday – Thursday 5:00pm – 11:00pm

Friday & Saturday closed by 2am

Brunch is served Sundays only 11am – 3pm

Live band Tuesday nights and Sunday brunch

Live DJ Thursday nights

Be sure to enjoy the Blueberry bourbon sour, SoCo caramel martini and other delectables.

Blue Berry Bourbon Sour

Agave Margarita

Lobster, Shrimp & Grits

F-Que WingsF-Que Wings

Mac & Cheese

The French Q.75 & the Butternut Squash

Soco Caramel Martini w/ MarshmallowSoco Caramel Martini w/ marshmallow

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious).

Service Quality

Higher-end (Makes everyone feel comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient).

Price

Good/Moderate ($30 – $60). For a really good time here, this amount can get you an appetizer an entrée and a drink. You can also have just a drink and appetizer for under $30

Décor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation).


Hanson Dry – Nothin ‘dry’ about it

Hanson Dry

923 Fulton St (between Clinton Ave & Waverly Ave), Brooklyn, NY 11238

A, C train to Clinton-Washington Ave station

http://www.hansondrybrooklyn.com

The "Hanson Dry"

A small, 50s styled bar in Clinton Hill, Hanson Dry’s atmosphere and bartenders are as smooth as their drinks.  A polished, hip and dark décor, help make Hanson Dry a great place for sexy evening conversation. Be sure to stop in and try their specialty drink selection including the Hanson Dry cocktail.  Note – they are cash only.

 

Food

None – drinks only

 

Service

Higher-end (Makes everyone feel comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient)

 

Price

Cheap ($10 – $30 pp) $30 will buy you 2 really great drinks from their signature list

 

Décor

Higher-end (eye-catching, inspires conversation)


Randazzo’s – Seafood and sauce beyond delicious!

Randazzo’s Clam Bar

2017 Emmons Avenue (Between Ocean Ave & E. 19th Streets), Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 615-0010

B or Q train to Sheepshead Bay station; B44 or B49 bus to Emmons Ave

www.randazzosclambar.com

Cutting through the chase, our absolute favorites here are their fried calamari, the crab cake sandwich with fries (it’s just sooo good!), and the steamed seafood with pasta entrée.  However, we just can’t enjoy either of these without their signature sliced Italian bread, which is served a little stale and enjoyed while dipping in your choice of mild, medium or hot marinara sauce.  It’s unexplainably yummy, and gives this place a unique, “at home” feel.  Randazzo’s is really festive and is a staple in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood.  Its bright lighting and the festively loud conversation among the staff and patrons make it great for families, groups of friends and a really casual date.  Good for lunch or dinner.  Randazzo’s offers bottled beers and personal sized bottle wines.  We can’t say enough good things about this place.  The prices are comparable to the menu selections (which means that since you’re getting a great seafood selection, the food is greatly prepared and the service is hassle free, warm and friendly – you’re paying the best price for all of that).  Your visit is almost sure to be a great casual dining experience.  Do check it out.

Food

Good! (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for).  If you love seafood, this is a promise!


Service Quality

Higher-end (Makes everyone feel comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient)


Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp)


Decor

Good (Comfortable)


Graziella’s – Pizza you won’t forget

Graziella’s

232 Vanderbilt Ave (between Willoughby Ave & Dekalb Ave), Brooklyn, NY 11205

(718) 789-5663

G train to Clinton-Washington Ave station

www.graziellasmenu.com

This Italian eatery is very popular among the locals. With amazing food, and pizza that rivals old Grimaldi’s, you are sure to leave with your taste buds and tummy completely satisfied.  Our favorites are many including the shrimp oreganata appetizer, pizza vito, pizza pescatore and chicken parm. The quality of table service could use some overall improvement (more smiles from the waitstaff and bartender would be nice; they could stand to provide a clearer explanation of side dishes available with your entree, and a printed list of the specials in their menu be helpful – they seem to think patrons should memorize the chalk board from outside the restaurant). That said, you’re still likely to enjoy your dining experience. Graziella’s is the only place we visit for dinner and just can’t leave without a cup of coffee to finish off the evening.

Graziella’s offers a good venue for lunch or dinner with your family, friends or a romantic evening.

Pizza Pescatore (mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari)

Pizza Vito (delicious sausage pizza!)

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious). This place offers dishes you want to come back for. We love the pizza pescatore. The flavors are like we’ve never had anywhere else.

Service Quality

Good (You’ll come back again.)

Price

Good/Moderate ($30 – $60pp) This is what you’ll pay for a really good time including appetizers, wine and main course.

Décor

Good/Moderate (comfortable, creative)


Alma 33 – You’re gonna love it

Alma 33

33 West 8th St. (between 5th and 6th Ave) New York, NY 10011

(212) 380-8794

A, B, C, D, E, F or M train to West 4th Street station

www.almanyc33.com



Love love love this place!  Alma 33 is a stylish, dark and sexy venue. Great music plays all the time.  Alma’s menu is Argentinean and Spanish, serves tapas, entrees, great drinks, wine, brunch, lunch and dinner.  We enjoy this place immensely and highly recommend it as a great place for appetizers and/or drinks before dinner.  You’ll also find it great for after dinner drinks and dessert. The Pionono is not to be missed!!! A huge plus is the service!  The owner, Rich, always takes a personal interest in the customers and really wants everyone to have a great experience. We like sitting at the bar.

We love their drink menu and our favorite appetizers include the variety of skewers and empanadas.  When you add the menu selection, exclusive drink menu, wine list, sexy décor, music, festive atmosphere and the top notch services and the prices, you’ll find yourself enjoying an ultimate dining experience without breaking the bank.  Stop in anytime. We like after work/late evening best.

Steak skewers & fried polenta lollipop tapas

Pionono (sponge cake, seasonal berries and cream). It's slammin' and simple every time!

Argentinian flan

 

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious)

 

Service Quality

Higher-end (makes everyone feel comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient)


Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp) This will take good care of you here. An appetizer with a drink or two


Decor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation)



Empire Szechuan Village – A little Chinese food, a little Japanese food, and a lot of good times…

Empire Szechuan Village

173 Seventh Avenue South (near Perry St.), New York, NY  10014

(212) 243-6046

#1, 2, 3 train to 14th Street station

www.empireszechuanvillagenyc.com

 

Offers a wide selection of Chinese and Japanese delicacies. All of the dishes we’ve tried have been delicious; makes it difficult to choose favorites. In addition to their wide menu selection, they also offer a wide selection of alcohol and beer and at really good prices! Their decor is quiet and mostly comfortable.  The staff is super friendly (we’ve found we’re not the only ones to get a big “Hey! How have you been? Or, “So nice to see you again!”) The management at Szechuan Empire definitely understands the value of return customers. It’s highly likely that your first visit won’t be your last.

Our only critique on the downside is that it often gets a little too warm in there, especially after a few cocktails.  As far as drinks, while they serve really good cocktails at a really good price, they’re not exactly on par with pairing the cocktail with the right glassware.  I can’t tell you how many times they’ve served me a whisky sour inside of a champagne flute. Lol.  It’s a little funny. We love this place.

 

My favorite is the Seafood Teriyaki dinner. It comes with fish, shrimp and scallops. Because I don’t like scallops, I ask them to swap out scallops for extra shrimp.  YUM!!!!!  Harv really likes the Beef & Scallops dinner.

Food

Good (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for)

 

Service Quality

Good (You’ll definitely come back again)

 

Price

Cheap ($10 – $30pp) $30 will secure an appetizer, drink and main course for sure!

 

Décor

Good (Comfortable, a little creative) 


La Traviata – Delicious Italian food in Brooklyn Heights

La Traviata

139 Montague Street (between Henry St. & Clinton St.)

(718) 858-5592

N, R train to Court St. station; #2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall station

www.latraviatabrooklyn.com


Italian food that’s tasty and popular in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. For over 10 years, my favorite dish is the shrimp parmigiana.  I’d call it their signature because I’ve been to several Italian restaurants (Italian food might be our favorite) and, from regular to high-end restaurants, I like La Traviata’s shrimp parm the best!  Of course, they do offer other delicious traditional Italian delicacies.  There’s pizza shop seating at the front that’s darkly lit for a touch of class.  As for the overall atmosphere, it’s tasteful.  With regard to service the waiters here are good, not great, but you’ll be pleased overall. This is a nice place for festive family dining or to bring a date.  No dress code – you’ll feel equally as comfortable in business attire or a pair of jeans.  Mangia!

Food:

Good (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for)


Service Quality

Good (You’ll come back again)


Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp)


Decor

Good (Comfortable, creative)

 


Soda Bar – Servin’ up a whole lot more than soda!

Soda Bar

629 Vanderbilt Ave (Between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place), Brooklyn, NY 11238

(718) 230-8393

#2 or #3 train to Grand Army Plaza station, or B or Q train to Seventh Avenue station


Cool place and a quintessential local hangout spot in Prospect Heights.  Offers beers on tap, happy hour is 12 – 7pm Monday thru Friday.  Soda Bar has a good size venue with a back lounge area and outdoor seating.  Projector screening of is offered movies some nights. Really good buffalo wings.

Food

Cheap (Not unique or outstanding, but tasty!)


Service Quality

Good (You’ll come back again)


Price

Cheap ($10 – $30 pp)


Decor

Cheap (Nothing terribly eye-catching, but comfortable). I would love it if they put real light in the bathrooms instead of the red bulb. Sometimes a lady likes to check herself in a mirror : – )