The food at this Smith Street diner would be spot-on if it were served at a truck stop: It’s cheap, it’s simple and the giant portions provide plenty of fuel for the road. But Gravy isn’t a truck stop. It’s a stylized joint from practiced restaurateurs (the owners of the nearby Mexican spot Pacifico)—so we couldn’t help but be somewhat disappointed by the food. The blackened catfish was weakly seasoned and served with a side of uappealing green-tomato relish; the hush puppies were desiccated; and fatty spareribs were drowning in sticky, tangy barbecue sauce. This is one rare situation in which you should probably utter the forbidden words “I’ll just have a salad.” An iceberg wedge smothered in thick blue-cheese dressing is just right, and other satisfying salads like the Cobb and Caesar are hearty enough to pass for an entrée. Gravy also has its merits as a neighborhood hangout: It’s open till 2am, and the sunny backyard garden is a great place to dive into a pile of buffalo wings or chili fries and a few icy beers. Factor in the prices (a full breakfast starts at $5) and the appealing mod-diner decor, and you’ve got yourself another Smith Street hit.
100-102 Smith St
|Cross street:||between Pacific St and Atlantic Ave|
|Opening hours:||Daily 6am–2am|
|Transport:||Subway: F, G to Bergen Street|
|Price:||Average main course: $10. AmEx, MC, V|